All in for Casino Truck Show


Now in its eighth year, the Casino Truck show offers up one of the best turnouts of the show calendar. Warren Aitken goes all in

 

Mark Causley and the Seccombe family always turn up with outstanding rigs; in fact, Marks 900 Legend took the Best Kenworth Trophy

As Australians (or in my cause relocated kiwis) it’s our god given right to complain about our jobs; in fact it’s almost mandatory. Complain about our jobs, bitch about our politicians and whilst consuming moderate quantities of alcoholic beverages solve the majority of the world’s problems.

It’s just what we do, so you can imagine the ferocity at which my complaining went up upon hearing from my editor that he wanted me to spend my weekend down in the tiny NSW town of Casino covering their eighth annual Casino Truck show.

I mean, I could have been at home, assisting my wife with the house cleaning, getting the weed eater out and attacking the jungle that is my back yard before sitting down to watch a period drama on TV, but no, I had to drive down to Casino, enjoy a stunningly sunny day, mix with a plethora of happy truckies and watch a convoy of jaw dropping rigs roll through the town.

It gets worse though, I then had to spend the day wandering through the town checking out the amazing standard of cleanliness that all the trucks were displaying. I had to watch the highly skilled lunatic Dave Mckenna do things with his Street Stunt Bike that should not be possible on a motorbike. I damn near ‘bust-a-move’ to OccaRock who were putting on a fine show in the middle of the street and I also had to enjoy a nice cold behaviour enhancing beverage at one of the many local pubs that were firing on all cylinders during the weekend.

I’m sure you can all agree I’ve got a fair right to complain about my job, but for those sitting on the fence about it, let me add in that I was also kicked off the bouncy castle (apparently there’s no such thing as ‘being a kid at heart’) and was cut off by the cotton candy girls, make of that what you will.

Winner of the Best Car Carrier, Kevin from Statewide Car Carrying in his immaculate Kenworth

UNENVIABLE JOB

Despite all my complaining though there were a few people that I think were having a much tougher time than me on Saturday August 4 when the North Coast Petroleum Casino Truck Show kicked off, for whilst I can sarcastically mock the difficulties of my job, the team behind the scenes are now dealing with a juggernaut of a show that just keeps getting bigger and better every year.

The first people I think whose jobs really are harder than mine, especially considering the growing reputation of the NCPT Casino Truck show, are all the volunteers that help with the successful running of it.  When a town of 10,000 people and seven pubs decides to host a truck show and cordons off the town centre for the festivities, it’s all well and good for the first few years, but fast forward to this year where the total number of registrations hit 251 trucks and the job of the volunteers becomes more intense and more important.

It was a tough day for them as the convoy rolled from Casino’s industrial area where the streets were bulbar to bumper with Grade A truck porn, all the way into town via the main Casino thoroughfare before hooking a left and heading into the town centre.

With registrations open until the parade took off at 10am precisely, the crew in charge of parking the rigs in the town centre really had no way of knowing how many spots they’d need. Full credit to them though; a convoy of 251 trucks through any town is impressive but the precision and organisation worked perfectly. The team used every available street (remember there were also vendors, activities and sponsor sites set up as well) and in a fashion that would impress a Swiss watch maker moved all the trucks to perfect parking with very little holdup. It was an impressive display of coordination. So full credit to the team that took care of that end. Unlike my complaining, these guys had enough cause too, yet instead spent the entire days with smiles on their dials.

The 2019 NCPT Casino Truck Show winners

The other people that really deserve the right to complain are Steven Graham and Warren Rose. They are the sole judges for what is rapidly becoming one of the country’s best show and shine competitions. It’s not just the numbers that make the judges’ job difficult, it’s the quality vehicles that are turning up and the work that the drivers are putting in to ensure their rigs are at almost better than new condition. With over 40 categories, 60 trophies and several extra awards for well deserved rigs, it is definitely a job I am happy not to have.

So why has Casino become such a ‘must’ show to get to? The show is highly supported by Casino’s many local trucking companies, as well as many from nearby NSW towns like Grafton and Coffs Harbour. An influx of trucks from Brisbane and SE Queensland were joined from Sydney and Newcastle rigs. Even companies like Tony Innaimo Transport and Frank Commisso Transport, both from Canberra, had shiny trucks represented at the show. Dave McKenna on his stunt bike was all the way from Melbourne and walking around the stalls I even found that the legendary Brett Sullivan from Sullivan Sketching had made the huge trek up with his catalogue of prints and merchandise.

Personally, I believe a lot of the show’s success stems from the friendly laid-back atmosphere created by the team, and the town that helps the cause. On the day there were local restaurants with bain maries outdoors to feed the masses. Many of the locals lined the streets at every vantage point and a lot of the businesses and even locals had hoses to spare on the days before, and morning of, the show to help guys wash their trucks.

Amongst all the bling I found this extremely unique rig. Neil Lord and his 1980

OFF THE STARTING BLOCK

The show was started in 2011 by a couple of blokes that loved their trucks, loved the industry and saw Casino as a real central transport hub for the local community and saw the need for a show. Darren Goodwin and the late Tiny Lolback, who was as Darren puts it was "a bit of a guru, he was well known up and down the coast," started tossing up the idea of a local show after the demise of the Lismore show.

They saw the need for an event for all the truckies to get together and have some fun and when they were able to tie it in with Casino’s long running Beef Week event, the show was born. The inaugural show was over at the Primex grounds in 2011 and for three years it was held there before the popularity and the ground’s flooding risks forced a move elsewhere.  Darren jokes that "if a dog pisses in the wrong spot you can get bogged in there". So in 2014, with backing from the local Chamber of Commerce, the show was moved into the town centre itself.

Ryan Northcott of Bling HQ has been a major sponsor of the Casino Truck show for a few years and one of the rigs adorned with his work, this DC Trucking T659, took Best Owner Driver this year.

Once the show moved into the town centre it seemed to just blossom. Every year there seems to be more and more trucks and the quality just seems to get better and better. As mentioned earlier, this year the numbers hit 251 trucks, up again from the 207 of 2018 and seriously I did not envy the judges. There was more than a handful of trucks that could have taken the top prize. Like all shows there will always be differing opinions but in the end the judges are lifelong transport guys who both have been shining trucks since wooden wheels days. Even with their pedigree the standard makes choosing winners kind of like picking your favourite kid, it’s not easy but it’s got to be done.

So full credit to all those involved, from the truckies that made their way from far and wide to their families and those that tagged along as extra polishers and cleaners, to those that stayed at home and watched their partners disappear again with ‘the other woman’. To North Coast Petroleum and Mick Mckinley, naming rights sponsors for the last five years and proudly doing so. Also, full credit to the entire town of Casino who put on a great day with plenty of friendly locals out to watch the parade and who provided great hospitality.

As for next year, watch this space. The show is growing and aiming to improve each time, so I will definitely be back, and I’m not just saying that because of how good the Chinese food was or that I got out of doing the housework, though it was a major contributor.

It wasn’t all about the out-of-towners; the local team from Claudio had their fleet gleaming as they filled half the street

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