Events, Truck Shows

JT Fossey truck show brings the crowds in Tamworth

The first ever JT Fossey Truck Show in Tamworth was a hit with locals and truck enthusiasts alike, setting a solid base for the years to come.

I want to start this write-up with a huge thank you to John Saint, the dealer principal at JT Fossey in Tamworth, along with his trusty team of loyal workers for inviting me down to Tamworth for my first experience of a truck show in Australia’s country music capital.

At my age you don’t get many firsts anymore – they are few and far between – and I miss that. It’s been a long time since I drove my first truck, but I still remember it. It has been even longer since I first rode in a truck, and I still remember that. I still remember my first trip to Bathurst, the car race and the truck show. I still remember my first double road train and my first triple-road train. I also still remember my sad attempt at backing my first triple road train.

On the off chance, my lovely better half reads this I should point out I still remember the first time I laid eyes on her as well. Not solely because it coincided with me shooting the stunning Robinson Earthmoving Mack Super-Liner, and that took help.

Firsts are just something that indent into your long term memories.

Locals and customers were out and about for the inaugural JT Fossey Truck Show in Tamworth in April 2024. Image: Warren Aitken

At my current age though it is harder to gain those first-time experiences. When you do, well. the firsts are more often than not ones you don’t want to remember. Like the idea of my first compulsory prostate exam, my first set of reading glasses, and maybe the first time I fail to get out of bed without groaning in discomfort. They haven’t happened yet but I am sure they won’t be far away.

I do recall the first time I used the phrase ‘I would never have acted like that when I was that age’ and the phrase ‘things were much better in my day’, but I digress. The point is the fact you don’t get as many great ‘firsts’ when you get to my age which is why I am thanking John and his team for inviting me down for not just my first, but their first-ever JT Fossey Mack and Volvo invitational truck show in Tamworth, NSW.

Surrounded by big dogs and smooth Volvos, I had an absolute ball. Years from now when the full potential of this idea comes to fruition, I’ll be able to recall my first time there.

Let us do a few introductions first. Tamworth is a small inland city of around 70,000 people and 80,000 events. It seems like every weekend there is some kind of festival, carnival or spectacle on. If you are not surrounded by horses and hats, you’ll be knee deep in gourmet wine and food or, in the case of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, you’ll be boot scootin’ your way around the local honky tonks.

Along with a steep history of iconic events, the town has many iconic names that reside there. One of those names is the JT Fossey moniker. It is a name that has been proudly behind several motorship dealers in Tamworth and Gunnedah since 1937 and is proudly representing the Mack and Volvo brand courtesy of JT Fossey Mack/Volvo. The dealership was essential to the establishment of this new truck show.

The judges had a tough job casting their votes on the trucks at the 2024 JT Fossey Truck Show in Tamworth. Image: Warren Aitken

JT Fossey Trucks is where we will find the dealer principal, and our chief protagonist John Saint. If the name sounds familiar it isn’t surprising. John’s name has popped up on these pages previously in reference to his Outlaw Series of Macks that he has been producing through the JT Fossey dealership. The success of that run of limited edition custom Macks, as well as the new custom Viking Volvo units he has started to produce, led him to the idea of running a Volvo Mack Truck Show.

“I had been tossing around the idea for a while, it’s something I was always keen to do,” John says. “I just wanted to have an event that would celebrate two of the great products we sell and give all our customers a chance to bring in their pride and joy and share it with other truckies as well as joe public.”

The concept of a Tamworth truck show had been on the drawing board for several years. Obviously that blip in reality that was 2020 to 2022 put a huge dent any grandiose plans. However, in 2024 John approached Murray and Susan Keating, the owners of the JT Fossey franchise and received extremely positive support. Hence the idea took off.

“We were looking at doing it in early March but the dates were a bit busy so we pushed it out to the 6th and 7th of April,” John says. “We decided on a two-day event because it would make it a bit more worthwhile for the people bringing their trucks. They could leave them there and have more time just socialising and catching up with other customers.”

It took a fair bit of planning to get the first one off the ground but John has big plans for the future of the event.

“I really would like to see this event become the largest gathering of Macks and Volvos in NSW,” he adds. “It’s a lofty but extremely achievable goal.

Mack and Volvo were the flavour of the day at the JT Fossey Truck Show in Tamworth. Image: Warren Aitken

“We have enough room at our yard to house a fair few trucks and we aim to outgrow it by year three. Then we will look at larger locations to hold the event.”

I hear you asking, well how did the first event go? In my opinion and taking into account a very vindictive mother nature tried to get involved, I think it went rather well.

Stormy deluge

I headed along the New England to Tamworth on the Friday night, leaving Brisbane with a sparkly clean car, hitting the rain by Warwick and staying in it until I closed the doors of my motel some seven hours later with a very dirty car. It was teeming all the way. I even had Noah in his boat trying to pass a caravan just out of Glen Innes. It was seriously wet.

All the way down I was just empathising with those who had been trying to prep their rigs for the inaugural show, only to see the universe laugh and throw dirty road spray and flooded roads out there for the truck nuts to negotiate.

Come show day morning however, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was like the switch had been flipped and after a week of biblical rains and wind, the weather gods were going to bless the inaugural Volvo Mack Truck Show with picture-perfect conditions.

Here’s the irony of a week of bad weather pre-truck show. Yes, it meant that a lot of the local trucks which hauled all manner of farming products around the local area were now able to hose down their trucks and come into town. But that week of rain also meant a lot more to the magnificent Macks and Volvos which were literally unable to get to the show. Flooded roads around Tamworth meant they couldn’t even get their trucks down their driveways.

While weather may have diminished the number by a few, it definitely did not dimmish the quality and variety of those that did roll in.

Guardian bulldog

We shall start by focussing on the entry into this aspiring new truck show. There are many ways you would like to be greeted when you enter any event, most of which aren’t publishable. However, entry into the Tamworth event was guarded by one of the legendary Bicentennial Macks and it doesn’t get any cooler than that. Walking in you want to glance around as there was a vast array of bull bars and shine on offer but you were just drenched in trucking parochialism at the side of an iconic green and gold of a Bicentennial Mack.

From there it was a case of making your way out around the JT Fossey yard and workshop and soaking up the Mack and Volvo ambience. There were literally trucks from every era, a handful of Macks almost as old as their owners, some very rare and still working Volvos, even an old fire truck with the bulldog badge.

The front yard was also home to three of the four JT Fossey Mack Outlaws that are already out making miles and smiles on the NSW highways. When the hypnotising smells of the Tamworth Truck Drivers Club BBQ managed to wrap around you and drag you around to the workshop, you were not only graced with a damn fine feed but you were also treated to the pleasure of seeing Outlaw No 5 and Viking No 2, both sitting loud and proud inside JT Fossey’s state-of-the-art workshop.

Although the numbers weren’t record-breaking, the show still managed to bring in a constant stream of truckies and the public alike. Plenty of kids were running around very keen to let everyone know which truck was their favourite, that is until they wandered around the corner and found their new favourite. Seems kids are notoriously fickle judges.

When it came to the judging though, John made sure he brought in some heavy-duty hitters to pick between the beautiful trucks on offer, notably Prime Creative Media’s own Peter Shields, as well as legendary local truckies Jim Savage and Cec Healy. Lucky for these three truck aficionados they only had four categories to look for, judging Best Mack and Best Volvo, pre-2000 and post-2000. Four winners seem easy but based on the rigs that rolled in, I’m glad I didn’t do it.

The best Mack pre-2000 went to Gavin Sutton with his stunning 1989 Mack Super-Liner. Best Volvo pre-2000 was won by Turtle Carriers with their stunning FM9. Best Mack post-2000 was awarded to Betts Transport with their amazing 100-Year Super-Liner and Best Volvo post-2000 went to the Transwest 700hp FH16.

There was a fair attendance on both Saturday and Sunday. I’m still chasing up official numbers but from my camping chair in the shade, I would assume the entire JT Fossey team is feeling rightfully content.

“This is our first show and a lot has gone into it,” John Saint says. “We really want this to grow into a must-attend event. We’re focussing on our local clients as we try and encourage our customers to attend.

“It is a great time for all our team to bond with current customers and hopefully future customers. We want this to be a very social event.”

My final thoughts are that everything has to start somewhere and from little things big things grow. I think the JT Fossey Volvo Mack Truck Show has the potential to be something really big. It is run by good people, for a good reason. It is supported by good people and attended by good storytellers. There was many a yarn to go along with some of the old rigs on display.

I will be glad to attend the second running next year and watch this show grow to its full potential. A job well done, JT Fossey.

For more photos, see the June 2024 edition of OwnerDriver magazine, Issue 377, out now!

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