Events, Truck Shows

Koroit’s little king-sized show

Trucks aplenty headed into the Victorian rural town of Koroit in late January for the annual Koroit Truck Show, surpassing previous years’ attendances as the big rigs rolled in from across the state.

Just in case there are those out there that think my life is all rainbows, I would like to invite you into my Saturday night, January 27. As I write this story, I am sitting in a tiny 1970s-decorated motel room in the Victorian town of Colac.

I have a half-eaten microwave dinner beside me, one can left in the fridge, I have half a bottle of Banana Boat after-sun aloe vera gel already been plastered across my sunburnt neck, ears and nose. The other half of the bottle has been liberally applied to my wind burnt forehead.

My shoulders are scarred and bruised, for reasons I’ll explain soon, I have the world’s smallest TV currently playing SBS as it only gets four channels and three of them have subtitles.

To top it all off I have run out of electrical sockets needed to charge all my extremely deflated camera batteries. (PS: I only have three chargers, so do the maths on how many outlets my room has).

On the other hand, I have just spent the entire day at Victoria Park, Koroit surrounded by hundreds of perfectly polished, decadently dressed big rigs.

The stunning convoy rolling into the town of Koroit.

I’ve revelled in an action-packed truck nut’s dream day out, along with thousands of like-minded truck enthusiasts, all happy to endure the sunburn and heat stroke just to enjoy an excess of impressive iron ponies.

I guess you weigh up the pros and cons. The cons being the fact I am tired and sore and look like a roasted lobster that’s been vandalised by a graffiti artist who works solely in red. The pros being that I got to enjoy my second-ever Koroit Truck show. Verdict: Worth it!

While I am eager to share my adventure with everyone, I am also going to be very careful with how I summarise this year’s show. Last year I wrote a pretty positive summation of my day in the tiny west Victorian town. I had a ball and happily reported that.

This year the quantity and quality of the entrants didn’t just skyrocket, it practically went Marvel multiverse mad. I’m not saying that my review of the show caused this rise in quantity or quality. It could just be the result of the fact it is a damn good show.

Truth be told the popularity of the Koroit Truck Show was on the increase well before COVID forced it to be shelved for a couple of years and its return last year was record-setting, easily clearing the triple figures for entrants.

There was no shortage of stunning Kenworths on display, including the GT bobcat tippers and Whitehead transport trucks.

Hence, it is no surprise that this year was going to be even bigger as the entry list blew past 2023’s totals and started climbing up closer to the 200 mark.

It was fantastic to see all the gleaming gear rolling through the gates on Friday arvo and Saturday morning. Unless of course you were one of the volunteers who had been assigned the task of parking the entrants.

Those volunteers were under the pump from very early in the day and deserved a nice cold beverage for their hard work. I’m pretty sure they’ll be avoiding that role next year.

About now I would normally like to invite you all to share in a bit of a show history lesson. Last year I was lucky enough to sit down with one of the main men behind the show, Richard Allen and he filled me in on the growing legacy of the Koroit Show.

However, with the growing popularity of the show, the increase in attendance led to Richard this year grabbing himself a golf cart to get around and put out all the spot fires you expect at such a big event.

Although I wasn’t able to pin him down long enough to get his feel and reaction on the show, I do remember a bit of what he had told me last year. So let’s make it brief and we can get onto the rundown on this year’s extraordinary event.

The stunning Cleveland Mack Muncher was another popular showpiece with the truckies.

The history of the Koroit Show dates back to the equine influenza epidemic back in 2007. Horses had been a big part of the annual Koroit Agricultural Show and when the horse flu issues curtailed their transportation in Victoria, it left a huge hole in the annual Koroit Agricultural Show.

Hence the idea of replacing horses with horsepower was floated. What started with 20 local trucks turning up as a substitute and fill-in soon took on a life of its own. After a couple of years the horse returned, and the growing popularity of the truck show ensured that it became a stand-alone event.

Jump ahead 14 years and the show is fast becoming a must-see on the Australian truck show calendar. Koroit itself is a town of two pubs, two op shops and a couple of thousand people, all of whom happily exchange friendly greetings as you pass them in the street.

Despite this small country town being off the beaten track, the success of this volunteer-run show just keeps growing while still retaining the small-town community feel. That atmosphere is a huge part of what makes this show so much fun.

Festival atmosphere

This year saw the entry list expand and it wasn’t just the numbers that went up, the quality of the trucks that rolled in were next level.

This show is no longer just for the sensational local lorries, there were plenty that had made the three-and-a-half-hour journey from Melbourne, as well as many from places like Warrnambool, Mt Gambier and Ballarat

In between my time spent ogling all the shiny stuff, I did manage to indulge in all the other festivities available on the day. See the Koroit Truck Show packs a lot more punch than a standard truck show.

It also manages to slip in a car show, a motorbike show, trade stalls, a woodchopping competition, a stunt bike show, and even a tug-of-war challenge (which is where I managed to get those scarred and bruised shoulders I mentioned earlier).

Being the jovial mischief maker, I thought it would be a great idea to talk Jason Duell and his team of furniture removalists into entering themselves into the tug-of-war competition. Jason, a former Truck of the Month winner with his stunning K200 furniture truck, was happy to sign his team up for a shot at the $1000 prize. Just two problems arose.

Duells Furniture Removalists brought a few of their stunning purple trucks all the way from Mt Gambier, as well as the team of Sandra Duell, Allan Duell, Chanse Parkes, Kayla Knox, Jason Duell, Mick Dedman and Brendan Marslen.

Firstly, the Duells team drew the defending champs, the Wilsons Warriors, in the knockout round. Secondly, I didn’t realise you needed five people to sign up. Jason only had four, hence I got talked into it being number five.

Needless to say, the champs are the champs for a reason and, as hard as we tried, we were not the team to dethrone Koroit’s biggest tuggers.

It felt like hours to get into the medieval-style machine and it felt like it took milli-seconds before they pulled the pin to start. Then it felt like my shoulders and legs were tortured for days once the pulling started.

Truth be told it was all over in a matter of minutes. We fought bravely, or as bravely as five grown men can while in absolute agony, but credit where credit is due as Wilsons Warriors went on to retain their title.

I managed to get a few of the Boyle’s Livestock Transport team together for a quick photo.

Thankfully after tormenting my body, I was able to sit and enjoy a drink as the prize-giving began. There is a huge array of prizes at the Koroit show and a lot of entertainment to be gained by just watching people try and carry everything back from the stage.

The big award of course is the King Rig and 2024 saw the first-ever back-to-back winner with Andrew Derham’s immaculate Mack Valueliner retaining the trophy he had previously picked up in 2023.

“I really don’t get it, I was not expecting that,” was Andrew’s response as he acknowledged all the amazing rigs that had rocked up, reiterating his surprise at retaining the title. It is an impressive truck and deserves all the accolades it gets.

The big question now is, can he go for the three-peat? I’ll definitely be back next year to find out, I strongly recommend you book your accommodation early.

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