Some of Australia’s most committed ute enthusiasts hauled their rigs across the Simpson Desert at the weekend to compete in the Bedourie Ute Muster.
Held 100 kilometres from the Northern Territory border and 200km from the South Australian border, the muster provided entrants and spectators with the opportunity to admire utes from around the country.
Categories included best outback ute, best chick’s ute, best mongrel ute, and even best bull bar, with a judge saying the competition was equal to that of the third State of Origin game.
“What we’re looking for is something that’s done a few years. It’s well prepared, and it’s almost as accessorised as it gets,” judge Martin Joss said.
“Think bull bars, lights, aerials, radio.
“We’re looking for tyres, suspension, canopies, roof racks with tents, boxes, chainsaws, spare wheels, lights, sat phones — all sorts of things that will help the owner of the ute get where they’re going to go.”
Mags and Ken Hay have been driving around Australia for years, with a sharpening business operating out the back of their ute. (ABC Western Queensland: Harriet Tatham)
Best motorhome also a thing
While most of the competition was based around utes, the Diamantina Shire Council offered a best motorhome category.
Turtle Vallance drove from Bendigo, and said he believed his 30-year-old motorhome had a pretty good chance of taking out the prize.
“I believe it’s like the Rolls Royce of motorhomes,” Mr Vallance said.
“It’s got a 300 V8 turbo, with an Allison Auto, and it’s on full airbags.
“It’s solid timber inside, got ducted vacuum — it’s just like a house.”
Turtle Vallance describes his vehicle as the Rolls Royce of motorhomes. (ABC Western Queensland: Harriet Tatham)
Ian Blair, from Launceston, also entered the category.
While his motorhome was smaller in size, Mr Blair said it was perfect for travelling Australia.
“It’s a one-man bachelor pad … so it suits me,” he said.
“And I’ve done 19,000 [kilometres] to get here.”
While the competition was fierce, punters said they were mainly interested in boosting the town.
“We’re just here to help — help the village,” Mr Vallance said.
Ian Blair drove his motorhome from Launceston, and was hoping the distance would give him an edge. (ABC Western Queensland: Harriet Tatham)