2018 Narrandera Rod & Custom Run

Start your engines

This year’s Earlies Rod Run is shaping up to be a big one, with 260 people already booked and 40 newcomers to the festival this year.

“We’re coming to the event with 260 entrants before we even arrive in Narrandera,” said Stephen Alldrick, one of the organisers of this year’s Rod Run, and one of the biggest advocates for change to the format.

“Most years we have about 30 or 40 people who come up on the weekend and enter when they get there –sometimes they can’t make up their minds to go, or people have work and they aren’t sure if they can get the time off.

“There’s going to be an extra 50 cars this year, and it just means there are those extra people who want to take part, and that bit of extra money coming into the town.”

There have been a few changes to the format this year, with the aim of re-energising the weekend and to “just have a bit more organisation,” according to Mr Alldrick.

There will be a pin-up workshop on Saturday March 31 at 2.30pm, which is open to everyone and will be run by former local Kristy Wallatt. On Saturday the traditional cruising night, now called Cruisin’ No Boozing, has been brought forward to the late afternoon to make the event more family friendly, starting at 5pm.

“If we have it at five in the afternoon and finish it at nine or so at night – for safety it might be better. It gets a it dodgy after nine.

“We’re blocking off some streets for parking, so it’s just there for the cruisers. It’s something that people have raised with me before, that they really enjoy cruising but there’s hardly any parking for them. It’s not that we don’t want locals to attend, but we’re just trying to take on board what people have been saying to us.”

On the contrary, local commitment is what the Alldrick family are delighted to see.

“If you look back 30 years ago when this all started, there used to be only one hot rod in Narrandera. Now there’s a really successful Auto Club, which Ray [Alldrick] is really excited about.

“They’re helping us out on the Thursday and then again on the Sunday. So many people in Narrandera now have a car because they’ve seen a good car every Easter.”

The Show and Shine is the highlight of the weekend. Entrants park their cars on the oval of Marie Bashir Park for display and now the Narrandera Auto Club displays their members’ cars as well. There will be other events alongside the Show ‘n Shine this year as well.

“On Sunday, we’re looking forward to having the markets and the amusements. They’ll all be on the south side of the park, so kids can be playing at the playground and then ride the amusements.

“Then we’re utilising that side of the park and the toilet blocks that the Council have spent so much money on.”

Organisation of the stalls and rides became a necessity after last year’s Rod Run.

“The oval has never been anything to do with us. We’ve brought the cars, we’ve parked on the oval and we’ve left again. However, as you know, it’s become our problem – the layout needs to be tidied up and made better for everyone.”

There was some controversy last year over the state of the oval after a dodgem car ride, which was established on the oval itself, became bogged and broke a section of the park sprinkler system as a result. It was decided between Council and the Alldrick family that more structure and designated areas for stalls and amusements was needed.


Victory curls for a cause

A celebration of the cars of yesteryear wouldn’t be complete without a celebration of fashions gone by.

This Sunday, during the Rod Run Show and Shine, there will be a Pin-Up Competition at 2pm. While the Pin-Up Competition has been organised for the last four years by Zuzana Crook, this year the reins have been handed over to former Leeton resident Kirsty Wallett.

“Unfortunately, Zuzana just ran out of time, so she asked me to do it,” Ms Wallett said. “I’ve been going to the Rod Run every year. My dad started going in the late ’80s and I’ve only missed out for three years of my life. It’s good to come home and get involved, do a bit more.”

Ms Wallett, in addition to being involved in the pin-up scene, is building her own hot rod (a 1947 Ford Tudor) and owns “Betty” a 1964 XM Falcon as her daily driver.

In addition to the Pin-Up competition, there will be a workshop held on Saturday at 2.30pm at the Recreation Room at the Lake Talbot Caravan Park. Entry to the workshops is $40, although the entry fee for the Pin-Up Competition is only $5. The money raised from the workshop and the competition will go towards Narrandera Meals on Wheels.

“I contacted Meals on Wheels and they are very happy to be the receivers of the fundraising. I think they’ve been worried about having to raise the prices of their meals, so a donation of this sort prevents them from having to resort to those measures.

“We really wanted whatever we raised to benefit Narrandera, so we wanted the money to go directly to the town. Also, I think there’s a good corroboration between the pin-up – which is a celebration of vintage fashion – and Meals on Wheels helping older people in the community who are familiar with the fashions.”

The workshop is a chance for people to learn “the styling and the tricks of hair and make-up from the 40s and 50s”.

Ms Wallett’s sister, Jenna Wallett, is a hairdresser and stylist who specialises in vintage styles.

“She’s done a lot of work with American photographers, styling for photo shoots. She’ll be teaching how to do victory rolls – they’re always very popular – and how to properly set your hair and do the brushed-out set,” Ms Wallett said. “We’ve got a lot of locals coming. We’ve got people coming across from Wagga; there just isn’t a lot of this sort of thing around at the moment.”

Ms Wallett said anyone interested would need to make a booking.

“People can enter the pin-up competition on the day, but the workshop is filling up. It’s actually a lot more popular than we anticipated, so people will have to book.”

The Rod Run has informed much of Ms Wallett’s passion for all things retro, as she has attended since childhood.

“It definitely started in Leeton, to be honest. At our local car club – which has members from Narrandera – we would always dress up as kids. My passion started very much at home, and this was before the rockabilly revival was a thing. It certainly wasn’t popular when I started as a kid.

“But when I moved to the Gold Coast 10 years ago, one of the things about moving here is that the scene is very involved. You could do something up here every weekend, even if it’s to just go and see a rockabilly band. There’s car shows, dances, bands – you can go to places to learn rock and roll dancing.

“I always loved the classic looks of the 40s and 50s, although it’s a very American look that people reproduce. Australian fashion was a bit behind. But I’m definitely not a purist; I like having a modern look. The looks of that era were very restrictive for  women. I like to combine the looks and keep it modern,” Ms Wallett said.

Last year’s pin-up competition was well patroned, with junior competitors and even a section for pets.

Rod Run itinerary

Thursday, March 29
Venue: Narrandera Golf Club
5pm – Early arrivals registration, merchandise available

Friday, March 30
Venue: Narrandera Golf Club
8.30am – Registration all day till 7pm, merchandise available

Venue: Lake Talbot Caravan Park
from 12noon – All entrants are invited to cruise the Park, food available to purchase

Saturday, March 31
Venue: Narrandera Golf Club
8am–10am – Registration
10.45am – Assemble at Golf Club for run to Leeton SunRice Festival. On return please feel free to drop in at LillyPilly Estate Wines (47 LillypillyRd Leeton)

Venue: East Street
5pm–9pm – Cruisin’ No Boozing
Entrants Only – Pre-’75 custom chrome bumper cars. No sticker, no cruise. Late Registrations – corner of East & Bolton Streets

Sunday, April 1
Venue: Lake Talbot Caravan Park
10am – Poker Run – hosted by the Narrandera Auto Club. Assemble at caravan park. A gold coin donation to support “Friends of Cypress Centre” would be greatly appreciated. Meet the Easter Bunny en-route.

Venue: Narrandera Marie Bashir Park
11am – 3pm – Narrandera Swap Meet
12noon – Show ‘n Shine
Live band, merchandise, market & food stalls, trade stands, Can-Assist Top Ride Trophy – voted by the public.
2pm – Narrandera Pin-Up Competition at main stage. Registration at Earlies Merchandise Tent.
3pm – Trophy Presentations on main stage

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