Tyler Blackburn’s blond mullet has been turning heads. The Methven builder and Mid Canterbury rep rugby halfback is copping a bit of flak, but it’s for a good cause.
Tyler, 24, is growing the mullet so he can shave it off next month to raise funds for cancer. He’s about half-way to his target of $2500 for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
He started growing the mullet after lockdown last year. It proved something of a lucky charm on the rugby field for his Methven team: “We didn’t lose a game with it.”
In fact, Methven won the Watters Cup last year.
Sadly the mullet’s luck did not extend to Mid Canterbury’s rep games. Tyler thought about cutting it, but didn’t. Girlfriend Shanay Richardson, a hairdresser at DNA, kept him looking presentable.
Then, when her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Tyler decided to give the mullet new life. He joined the Shave for a Cure fundraiser and let his locks grow.
He said it was grim watching Shanay’s father deal with the disease and chemotherapy treatment, but things were looking positive now.
Shaving his head is one way he can raise funds to help those on their cancer journey as well as show support for Shanay and her dad.
Fittingly, it will be Shanay who officially cuts off the mullet at a special celebration at the end of May.
Tyler said it would likely be at the Methven clubrooms, after a home game, and he hoped a few team-mates would come on board and shave their heads too.
Mullets have a colourful history. They were the haircut of choice for Roman warriors (harder to grab during battle and warriors could fight without the frustration of hair in their eyes), they were also in fashion in the 1980s. Cue, David Bowie’s orange mullet.
Much closer to home and just last year is Crusader and All Black Jack Goodhue, who led a Summer of the Mullet Campaign to raise funds for at-risk youth and needy families in the Far North.
Ashburton district people wanting to help Tyler reach his target can donate through www.shaveforacure.co.nz
– By Linda Clarke