Story By Katrina Lobley

The 2011 Deni Ute Muster was proof, if any was needed, that they breed ’em tough in the country. City folk might have whinged about the unseasonal cold winds that whipped about Deni’s famed paddocks over the October long weekend – but nearly 18,000 ute lovers just got on with the serious business of partying hard while celebrating the ute. The cold also didn’t stop 1728 patrons from stripping off to show their blue singlets (and more than a few tatts and goosebumps).
And what was that about the rain falling mainly on the plain? Days of torrential rain just before the muster gates opened also meant heaps of mud – and boy, did those staying in the feral camping ground have fun flinging it high in the air as they pulled a few doughies in front of watchful police.
For competitors in the Show and Shine arena, though, all that rain and mud meant extra work: they filled buckets with water and polished and buffed their beloved utes until they could see their own reflections in the paintwork. At the end of the weekend, Melbourne couple Hayden and Jess Sharman’s Ned Kelly-themed 1977 FJ45 LandCruiser was named Ute of the Year.
In fact, Deni was no place for cold feet of any kind, with a marriage proposal unfolding on stage during Adam Brand’s rockin’ set. Other musical acts – Icehouse, Suzi Quatro, Beccy Cole, The Sunny Cowgirls and more – also kept the blood pumping.

This story excerpt is from Issue #80

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2012