Massive muster, but records stand
All roads led to Deniliquin for the 20th birthday Ute Muster on Friday and Saturday, as it attracted about 18,000 people to the Conargo Rd site.
The numbers were boosted by international superstar Carrie Underwood, who was the headliner on Saturday night in her only full concert performance while in Australia.
Muster general manager Vicky Lowry said the vast majority of Muster-goers made their way to Deniliquin early this year, showing just how keen they were for the big event.
‘‘We had 11,000 people come through the gates on Thursday, which we were overwhelmed by,’’ Mrs Lowry said.
‘‘We’ve received so many positive comments, but one negative was the time it took to get in the gates (on Thursday).
‘‘Safety is the big priority for us, and it does take time to search the utes and make sure there’s nothing coming in that will jeopardise that safety.
‘‘We also saw so many more families coming this year, and people with caravans, so that took a bit of extra time to search.
‘‘We will be looking at ways to make that better for next year, because being our 21st we do think it will be another big one.
‘‘This year was a big weekend and a lot of fun, and planning is already underway for next year.’’
The Deni Ute Muster is a celebration of contemporary Australian rural life where the ute is king.
And while the music was a highlight of the event, the Ute Muster is about so much more.
The Deni Ute Muster holds two Guinness World Records — for the most utes gathered in the one place and for its blue singlet count — but neither could be toppled this year despite great attendance.
The World Record Ute Count still stands at 9736 utes, which was recorded in 2013 when American country music legend Alan Jackson headlined at the event.
This year’s count of just over 7000 is still up there among the best though, having only been beaten in 2013, 2010 and 2008.
This year’s Blue Single Count was an impressive 2998, but not quite enough to replace the record of 3959.
But the crowd sure had a fun time while attempting to beat the 2015 singlet record.
This year’s Ute Muster was an Aussie extravaganza including wood chopping and whip cracking demonstrations, the Bull Ride Spectacular, Brophy Bros Circus, Bob the Butcher, Peter Hodge Camel Rides, World Champion Sand Sculptor Dennis Massoud, the Australian Ride on Lawn Mower Racing Association’s Lawn Mower Races and the Shimano Fishing Tank Show.
The Muster introduced Speed Dating for the first time, thanks to this year’s charity partner Can Assist, with close to 200 attendees looking for love, or at least a new friend, on Thursday and Friday.
The 2018 ‘ The Batchelor’ Nick ‘ Honey Badger’ Cummins dropped in on Friday where he held court in the Iron Jack Bar and met many new ‘ friends’ as he wandered around the site. He was also a guest speaker at the annual chairman’s reception. Presented as a community service by Southern Riverina Suicide Prevention Resource Group and the Southern Riverina News
This year’s Blue Singlet Count saw 2998 muster goers attempt to break the record.