Rural truck show honours local trucking legend

After being cancelled for the past two years, the Wondai Truck Show returned with a new name last weekend, in honour of local livestock transport legend Col Porter, who passed away in April last year.

Porter’s foray into trucking began in the 1960s when he began driving part-time for a livestock carrier. He bought his first truck, a four-ton cab-over Bedford, in 1968 and from there Porters Transport was born, which he ran alongside his wife Marie. He managed to grow his business from one truck, to 33 prime movers and 90 trailers.

The show was named in honour of local transport legend Col Porter, who passed away last year. Photo: National Road Transport Hall of Fame

In May 1990, he became the first person in Queensland and the second person nationally to introduce B-doubles with stock crates.

Truck show organiser Bree Retschlag said that following his passing, it was fitting for the show to pay tribute to his legacy.

The Col Porter Memorial Truck Show was held as part of the Wondai Show, in Queensland’s South Burnett region. It took place at the Wondai Showgrounds on Saturday August 27.

“Col Porter was quite well known within the transport industry in the South Burnett area here. My husband’s grandparents knew his personally too and had travelled around Australia with him and his wife Marie. We thought this would be a nice way to honour him, especially since he is such a big icon within the area,” Retschlag explained.

The event attracted 26 trucks, with 12 awards handed out on the day.

This 2000 model Western Star 4900 was named Truck of the Show. Photo: Black Thunder Photography

“The Porter family came down and presented the awards. Col’s wife Marie, daughter Leanne, sister Heather and her daughter Donna were all there on the day,” added Retschlag.

The biggest award, Truck of the Show, went to Laurie Williams of Anywhere Truck & Machinery Heavy Towing, with his 2000 model Western Star 4900. Coming in a close second was runner up Clint and Robyn Whitaker from Whitaker Brahman Charbray Charolais; while Les Fish at Gleich Contracting Pty Ltd received the Encouragement award.

Winner in the Best Bling category and overall runner up was this Kenworth T410SAR from Whitaker Beef. Photo: Black Thunder Photography

“There were three judges on the day and all it came down to between the Truck of the Show and the runner up was that one was a brand new truck and the other was 22 years old. The condition that truck was in for its age really made it stand out,” Retschlag said.

“The entire say went really well. We had trucks coming in all the way from Brisbane and Beerwah. Everyone who came really enjoyed it. I think the community was happy to be able to get out and catch up at this sort of event again, after it being cancelled the previous two years.”

This Gleich Contracting trio of Kenworth T659s made a grand entrance, taking first place for Best Fleet. Photo: Black Thunder Photography

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