Ute beauty: All ready to fly the flag
IF THERE were 300 trucks taking over the streets of Darwin you’d have to say, ‘‘We’ve got ourselves a convoy’’. But on Thursday there will be 300, possibly more, utes in procession around Darwin — and that certainly qualifies as a convoy of sorts.
The Australia Day Ute Run has become a tradition in Darwin and is growing in popularity each year.
Last year, the official count of utes was 321 but that number was swelled by the many support vehicles that took part in the run.
The ute run is organised by John Obolevics and Trish Creedon, who kicked off the event in 2002. It wasn’t actually a ute run then, more a spontaneous show of patriotism as the couple drove around town in their ute, waving an Aussie flag. It has taken off to such an extent that Trish said they were hoping to have as many as 500 utes taking part in Thursday’s event — add to that trucks, sedans, motorbikes and the convoy is further swelled.
‘‘It’s a great event for Darwin and certainly the biggest thing that happens on Australia Day here,’’ Trish said.
The ute run starts at 12.30pm with a circuit of the Hidden Valley track with flags flying, music pumping and horns blowing, before the official take-off through the streets of Darwin.
It then leaves the complex, the first 100 vehicles under police escort, and follows Tiger Brennan Drive, Berrimah Rd, Vanderlin Drive, Trower Rd, Bagot Rd, left into the Stuart Highway and then into Hook Rd before finishing at the greyhound track at Winnellie.
There’ll be a barbecue, licensed bar and many trophies on offer there. There’s the push-a-ute competition, muffler throwing contest and a thong-throwing event.
There are prizes for bestthemed ute, best work ute, best-dressed male, bestdressed female, best-dressed kids and best-dressed dog.
It costs $5 a vehicle to take part in the ute run. All proceeds go to Variety, the children’s charity NT. Gates open at Hidden Valley at 10.30am on Thursday.