The peaceful town of Deniliquin was rocked with exhaust as trucks rolled in for the Rotary Club of Deniliquin’s Deniliquin Truck Show and Industry Expo this weekend.
After a three-year hiatus forced by the pandemic and flooding, the event proved that good things come to those who wait.
Founder and president of the show John Creenaune says this was their biggest crowd yet, with around 1,500 attendees.
“This was definitely our biggest year, we just had people coming from all over,” he says.
“We had trucks from as far away as Wagga, Brisbane, South Australia and Kyneton. It was amazing.”
Before the trucks duked it out for the top spot in judging, a gala dinner with over 200 people was held to recognise inspiring and hardworking members of the transport industry.
Three Wall of Fame recipients have been named each year since the first induction in 2016, with the past two years honoured last Friday.
Stan Gardiner, Edwin Carter and Kevin Gough were to be inducted in 2022, but the celebrations were cancelled because of flooding in the district.
This year’s inductees were Herbert Gladstone Grimison, David Mahon and Kenneth Maher.
“The support for the Wall of Fame has been incredible. People respond to it really well and it’s so important for the community,” says Creenaune.
“Our mission is to highlight, celebrate, commemorate and memorialise those locals who are and have been our local transport industry.”
As Saturday was blessed with 25-degree weather and not a drop of rain, the Racecourse bred competitiveness, with prizes up for grabs across 13 different categories.
With strong corporate support, along with representation from industry bodies, the event drew a healthy variety of trucks from across a wide area.
The trip from northern Victoria proved a success for Kyle Nichol, who took out the coveted ‘Truck of the Show’ with his recently restored 1990 Kenworth K100E cabover.
Itching for Kyle’s spot was Peter Cullen’s Kenworth W925 who took out runner up.
McNaught’s Finley was awarded best fleet while R&J Marsh Haulage’s Volvo FH16 snuck away with Best Non-American.
Macheda Transport’s Kenworth SAR was a multiple award winner, including taking home the baby truck (0-3 Years) category.
Meanwhile Best Farm Truck went to Andrew Hicks’ White 9000, and Bill Gray TPT’s Kenworth T950 stole the 4-9 Years.
Scott McSweeney took out the 40 years+ category with his 1967 Peterbilt 351.
Sam and James Armytage of Conargo were awarded Best Local Truck for their Kenworth C509 while Nichol Trading’s Kenworth K100E took home best 26-39 Years.
The best teen truck (10-25 Years) was awarded to none other than Benny’s Transport’s stunning Kenworth T909.
Vice-president of the show Evan Whitbourne says this expo is the pinnacle of a family event.
“We try to promote it as a family event, and it was nice to see so many locals show up and support it,” he says.
“There really is something for everyone here.”
The little ones were well catered for with an animal nursery, rides and kids craft area to keep them entertained.
Industry exhibition stands were a driving force of the success, showcasing all the latest technologies, gadgets, and industry-designed products.
“The trade sites and sponsors are the ones who make this all possible for us. Without them, we wouldn’t have the show. They always look after us,” says Whitbourne.
TURNING BACK THE YEARS
Both organisers say the highlight of the weekend was seeing old friends and having the time to catch up.
“An event like this brings the industry together. It brings the old and the new and it brings them all together at one event,” says Whitbourne.
He says there were so many people who didn’t see each other enough or didn’t realize how much time had passed.
“Next time, we need to give the crowd more time to mix and mingle a bit, especially at the dinner.”
Creenaune says he even had his own run-in with some long-lost mates.
“There was a mate there who I hadn’t seen for 20 years myself. He decided to come to the show and didn’t even know I was the one running it.
“I went up to him and said do you remember me? Thankfully he replied ‘I do’, and it was the most amazing moment.
“Without this event, who knows when I would’ve seen him? Probably never.
“There were so many emotions from so many people at the event, it was just unbelievable.”
Creenaune says they can’t wait for next year, with plans of making the show bigger and better.
“We organised something here and people loved it.”
He says they have a “strong and dedicated committee that plan year-round to make each year’s show is a brilliant success”.