MEGA-GALLERY: Click here for photos of all the fun from the Deni Ute Muster.
ARE you country? Street? Or maybe just a little bit feral?
If you think a ute is a ute, then you would be sadly mistaken — and potentially risking ridicule from the afficianados at Deni.
But luckily, they don’t mind explaining the ins and outs of their favourite set of wheels.
“There’s the street utes, they’ve got to be really clean and tidy,” patiently explains Brian Grundy, a punter from Hervey Bay in Queensland, outside the Show ’n’ Shine judging arena.
“The country utes can be a little dirtier, you know, they’re functional.
“There’s chick utes, and B&S utes — they’ve got the bull bar, and the aerials, the flags ...”
“The more unique the better,” throws in Giovanni Brugratti.
Brugratti, from Albion Park near Wollongong, has fixed his own vehicle up in B&S style, a real “bachelor’s ute”.
And also, technically not a ute — his station wagon has all the features of a B&S ute, minus the tray.
It means he’s forced to park in the non-ute section away from his mates, but he wouldn’t trade in “Stella” for anything.
“That’s my wife,” he says.
“I’ve even got the papers to prove it.”
Don’t even dare think, however, that it’s just a ride for the lads — Katie Halkier, from Cockatoo in Melbourne’s south-east, will happily beg to differ.
The petite blonde in the pink check shirt jumps on the bonnet of a blue beast twice the size of her.
She’s had “Luxx” for four years.
“It takes me everywhere, it goes everywhere a boy’s ute goes, and sometimes it does better,” she retorts.
She got so sick of people assuming it was her boyfriend’s though, that eventually she decided to get hot pink number plates.
“But some people still ask,” she says with a roll of the eyes.
Then there’s “Razorback”, Steve Munn’s pride and joy — and a whole other kettle of fish.
With more than 500 cable ties, 600 metres of electrical tape, and a bull bar that had to be cut down for breaching road rules, it’s a sight for sore eyes — literally.
“I’m the No.1 feral in NSW and Queensland,” he grins.
“Yourself or the ute?”
“The ute. But they call me Feral Steve as well.”
Razorback’s a work in progress, with he and his son adding to it each year and making sure there’s something new for people to look at every show he visits (it’s his fifth time at Deni).
Feral, country or chick, only one question remains: what is it about a ute that’s so darn appealing?
“I mean, what can you say,” Munn says.
“It’s just the way it is.
“Out in the country you got your ute, you got your hat — it goes together.”