Dry argument can’t spoil a great time
There’s a special friendly flavour to this outback event, even if the drought did put a reverse damper on some of the activities, writes Alison Cotes
IT’S not all beer and skittles way out west, although in defence of Julia Creek I have to say there was plenty of beer. And the skittles were replaced by bog-snorkelling, but that was for the foolhardy only, I have to say.
I left it to the younger men, whose butts I had been admiring and privately judging in the Butt-of-the-Year competition, as they flashed their Lycra all the way down the main street, and later in the ring, in colours that put even Tony Abbott to shame. (Why wasn’t he there? A photo-op if ever I saw one, although perhaps he couldn’t face up to the thought of defeat in the budgie department.)
Never was a festival better named than the annual Julia Creek Dirt’n’Dust Festival. The temperature usually hovers around the 33C mark and, as in 2013 northwestern Queensland was in the grip of drought, there wasn’t as much mud as usual – to the extent that the swimming leg of the famous triathlon was almost called off, as there was so little water in the creek. But competitors were determined to go ahead, even though it was hard to stay afloat in the halfmetre of muddy water in Eastern Creek, and walking was strictly forbidden. Their bikes were loaded on to a cattle truck, an enterprise that took longer than the race, and, once they’d completed the 800m swim, competitors (eventually) found their bikes and hot-pedalled it the 20km back into town for a three-lap run around town.