SEE THE PICTURES: Flashy trucks at the 2020 Tooradin Show
I GO to a lot of truck shows around Victoria. Sometimes I think, maybe too many. And at the start of the year they are thick on the ground. So when, late last year, EJ Morris suggested I come to one at Tooradin, with which he has been involved for many a year, I tried to beg off with excuses ranging from, "It's a long way for me to travel," to "I think we'll be busy getting ready for our impending holiday."
Another problem was that my wife's birthday fell on the same day.
But EJ is nothing if not persistent, so I finally agreed to make my way down the Hume and across Melbourne to South Gippsland, promising Rita that I would return in time to celebrate at least the tail end of her special day.
Another reason for going on this near 600 kilometre round trip in a day - and which had thoroughly aroused my curiosity - was that the entry fee was $35 per adult! Really? For a truck show?
Setting off at Sparrow's, I arrived around 9.30 to find cars lined up for hundreds of yards, waiting to be directed to a parking spot. OK then, I thought, this show definitely has something going for it.
SEE ALL THE PICTURES
The full name of this show is The Tooradin Tractor Pull and Truck Show, with the "truck" part playing second fiddle - on paper at least. In addition are cars, some the like of which I've never seen before, such as the "Ramble Royce" which appears among the photos. Then there's the guys burning rubber on the pad which creates more smoke and haze than all the recent fires in the area. Personally I don't get it, but here I was the odd-man-out by a huge margin. Then of course there is the "main event" with the Tractor Pull which has every man and his dog hanging over the fences. To round it out there is a Sideshow Alley which would rival any I've seen.
But, I was here primarily to see the trucks of course, and being on a tight-ish time-frame I figured I'd get in and out double-quick. As if …. I spent an hour and a half taking with the first two truck people I came across, and their stories were so interesting that it would be an injustice to edit them down to the limited space I have here, so Lonny and Jeff, you'll feature in an upcoming issue, along with John, and Kelly and his clan.
To the trucks: Numbers were down this year, according to EJ. This because so many were out working to take supplies of food, water, fuel, hay, etc. to the fire affected areas nearby. That said, there were still well over a hundred of the beasts lined up for all to see and admire I was told. I'd have thought many more than that personally, but maybe that's just the 'politician' in me. Whatever, there was a great range of machinery present, and to my delight, many I'd not come across before. Western Star was present in numbers I haven't seen at other truck shows and that possibly accounted for a dealer presence for the brand. Mind you, Scania, Mercedes, Freightliner, Kenworth and other dealers were all in attendance as well - a testimony to the importance of this show in the area.
Walking around, admiring the hardware, I shirt-fronted a bloke I thought to be EJ. Nope. It was Dave Dunstan, better known as Hollywood, and who looks nothing like EJ with his sunglasses off. Thinking quickly I used the Big Rigs hat as a poor excuse and asked what the writing pad was for (and managed to get away with not getting a knuckle sandwich). Turns out Hollywood is a fourth-year judge at the show - his particular job being to judge overall appearance. "They used to ask if I'd do it. Now they just tell me."
As an apology for the shirt-front I promised Hollywood would get his face pasted on these pages. Cheers mate. Lol.
Chris Lynch, who we met at Castlemaine last year was there - this time with his dad, Joe, for whom the family bought a 1984 KW K125 as a lasting memento to Joe's 55 plus years on the road. At 78, Joe's love of the industry is undiminished.
Mario Doria arrived with his son, John and a few of his crew to display a couple of their rigid KW 404ST's and a mint Ford F900 that has been in the family since the year dot.
Based at Northgate, the business deals in fruit and veg as well as storage and distribution. With nine trucks in the fleet, all bar two are rigids and all are Kenworth. Mario's 404 is a one-off, being made with a sleeper but still capable of 14 pallets. A trailer extends that to 22 pallets.
The Ford was on the road until nine years ago and now spends its time at truck shows. It is pristine and wears the moniker, 'Crepa Linvidia', which, loosely translates into Jealousy, or as Mario puts it, "Jealous? So you should be!"
Mario's son, John is 19 and is third-generation in the business. Loving the industry as much as his father, John is starting at the bottom and working his way up. We've no doubt he'll do well.
After years of going to truck shows, I figure myself to be an expert in getting in and out in a relatively short time in needs be. With the better half's birthday happening, this was to be one of those days…..Not! Thank goodness friends had arrived to share the day with her as I was lucky to make it back home just in time to avoid 'Being Sent to Coventry'.
Which I guess kind of answers the question: Is this show worth 35 bucks a head?
Absolutely it is! Next year Rita's special day falls on a Monday, so I'll be free and clear to go to Tooradin and stay until the 10pm close. See you there.