Buddies At Battle

Gary Bock and Jim Mains take friendly competition to a whole new level

Meeting at Downtown Vancouver’s Java House for an interview a week before Christmas, both Gary Bock and Jim Mains are on the phone. When they finally end their respective calls, the two quickly begin bickering over who should have happier holidays.

“YOU have a delightful holiday.”

“No, YOU.”

…And so on…

This is the team that brought Vancouver its most successful, and possibly its first, guerrilla fundraiser-slash-online-community-spectacle in the last half of 2011. The two created “Gary Bock vs. Jim Mains” almost accidentally, when they started a friendly competition over who could get more mentions in The Daily Insider, a local e-newsletter.

The two set up a Facebook page for their battle in mid-June, and announced plans to donate $50 to the Children’s Justice Center if they reached 150 “likes” on their page by July 1.

“We met our goal within a couple of days,” says Bock, and matching donations poured in. They ended up presenting a check for $750 to the Children’s Justice Center.

“We thought it would remain jokey,” explains Mains. “But it became more real once we realized people were actually supporting our lunacy.”

Shortly after that first success, Bock and Mains began planning their next event: a charity “wrestling” match in which supporters would “bet” with donations. Bock, executive director of Vancouver Watersheds Alliance, and Mains, president of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Farmers Market, decided to support their organizations with the “Clash in the Couve.” To do so, they “wrestled” on a sweltering summer day in sweatshirts filled with balloons, entertaining a crowd of about 100. They raised $818.

After the wrestling match, the two decided to take a break from fundraising and started “Think-Vote,” a mock political campaign designed to, well, encourage people to think and vote.

“As social media comes about as a way to communicate, connect and raise funds,” says Mains, “someone needs to experiment with it.”

“I can’t afford to experiment with my own organization,” adds Bock, “but there’s no reason we can’t have fun as ourselves!”

So what’s next for Bock vs. Mains?

“Surprises,” says Mains, noncommittally.

“We make this stuff up as we go along,” says Bock.

Well guys, as soon as you figure out what you’re doing next, it sounds like Vancouver is ready to support it.

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