42,000 reasons to smile
HELD on a warm mid-September day, the annual Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy has been an outstanding success, with an impressive procession of trucks through the Wagga Wagga city centre and a healthy amount of money raised for local kids charities.
The staging area at the Bomen Saleyards was a hive of activity on the Saturday morning as trucks assembled to make their run though the Wagga Wagga CBD to the shores of Lake Albert for the show and shine and family day. In what was the second largest turn-out since the inaugural event in 2014, an impressive 158 trucks registered for the Convoy, with trucks coming from as far afield as Melbourne, Canberra and across the wider Riverina region.
For the third year in a row, the convoy was headed by Lindsay Australia driver Andrew Bell, in his Kenworth T409. Andrew had once again rattled the tin and raised the most money to take his place at the front of the Convoy. With his efforts raising $3800 in 2016, this year an impressive fundraising drive saw Andrew amass a whopping total of $10,050, with all money raised assisting NETS NSW - the Newborn and Pediatric Emergency Transport Service - and Ronald McDonald House Wagga Wagga.
Wearing a big smile from the front passenger seat of Andrew's Kenworth was 3½ year old Riley Waters from Hillston. Riley's family used the lifesaving services of NETS when he was 6 months old, being flown from Griffith to Sydney for treatment and is now living life to the fullest.
Led through the Wagga Wagga CBD by a number of motorbikes and emergency services vehicles the trucks ranged from the latest Kenworth's and Western Stars through to some magnificently restored older trucks including a Mercedes Benz 1418, International Transtar and Flintstone Mack. With lights blazing and horns blaring the convoy made its way down Fitzmaurice Street on its way to Apex Park, with Burkinshaw's, Pickering Transport Group, Robinson's of Leeton and McInerney's of Tumut to name a few all contributing multiple trucks to the convoy.
Special mention must be given to NGH Express driver Chris Knight, who operates the distinctive 'Boneshaker' Peterbilt based in Melbourne. After making a commitment last year to be at the 2017 event, Chris had arrived back in Melbourne the day before the Convoy after a trip during the week across the Nullarbor. Making it to Wagga Wagga at 3am on the morning of the Convoy, the Peterbilt took its place and its passenger for its run through Wagga.
Upon arrival at Ron Wheeler Park on the Lake Albert foreshore the Truck Show and Shine got into full swing with judging across the various categories getting underway. Over 7000 people attended the family day, taking in a range of market stalls, trade displays and children's amusements, all with live music playing in the background.
With raffles, an auction of donated goods, along with all other money raised, the total for 2017 amounted to a whopping $42,000, all of which will be put to good use improving the lives of kids with serious illnesses.
With the event now a fixture on the truck show event calendar, members of the Rotary Club of Wagga Sunrise, who organise the event, are planning for a bigger and better show in 2018.
Riverina Truck Show-category winners
Best Working - 1st R&S Trucking, 2nd Thompson's Tpt
Best Under 3yrs - 1st Farey's Tpt, 2nd Murrell's Tpt
Best Dressed - 1st Farey's Tpt, 2nd NGH Express
Best Bonneted - 1st Robinson Tpt, 2nd Scott Menz
Best Rigid - 1st Mick Humphries Training Group, 2nd Ian Meyers
Best 20+ yrs - 1st Pattens Tpt, 2nd Shearers Tpt
Best Cab Over - 1st Menz Freight & Containers, 2nd Robinsons Tpt
Best Owner Driver - 1st Horne Ag, 2nd Potbury Haulage
Best 3-10yrs - 1st Gooden Tpt, 2nd Cobden Tpt
Best 10-20yrs - 1st Innaimo Tpt, 2nd Shifley Tpt
Cleanest Truck - 1st Scott Menz, 2nd Federation Bulk Haulage
Rotary Club of Wagga Sunrise award - Boneshaker, NGH Express
Judges Award - Lindsay Bros