F OR a first-time event, the Boogaloo Invitational sure went off with a bang. Held at Wattle Flat Recreation Reserve in Castlemaine, Victoria, the weekend-long event – as the name suggests – was invitation-only.
“We sent out 425 invitations all up; about 100 of them were bikes. We had 280 of them RSVP and most of them turned up on the day,” event organiser Des Russell says.
Whatever the final number was, there was plenty of nice stuff to check out while you munched on your pulled pork or brisket roll – mmm, barbecue – with a great mix of original old hot rods and modern interpretations of the coolest stuff from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Even though it was the first time they had put on the show, Des and his better half Tesha managed to bring together some of the best hot rods, customs and bikes in Oz – a feat that wouldn’t have been possible just 10 years ago, because quite honestly, there wouldn’t have been the numbers.
The traditional hot rod and custom bike movement has really gained some momentum in Australia in the past few
years, and the good news is, it’s mostly the younger crew that are into it. In saying that, there were also a few of the older crowd that had kept that traditional flame kindled back in the deep dark – or should that be light and pastel? – years of the 80s and 90s. I’m talking about guys like Mark Brownrigg, who has had his flathead-powered AV8 roadster on the road since the early 90s and has covered more miles in it than most people have done in their daily drivers. I can directly point to his car as one of those that turned me on to traditional hot rodding, and it’s great to see that he’s still digging it. Chatting to him at the Boogaloo, he was clearly rapt that the scene has grown into what it is today. He doesn’t get anywhere near as many weird looks as he used to when he rocks up to a hot rod show.
While there was a great turnout of cars and bikes for this first Boogaloo, there’s no doubt the weather kept some people away, and while there’s room for the event to grow,
there are no great plans to make this some kind of ‘traditional nationals’. It will always be an invite-only event, so Des and Tesha can keep it as small or make it as large as they like.
If you want live bands and other entertainment, there are plenty of other events that’ll cater to you, but for the Boogaloo, it’s all about hanging out, drinking beers and checking out the purest collection of traditionally styled hot rods and bikes this country has to offer. Throw in some tasty food vendors, open fires and some killer short films – including the latest offering from our mate Piero of Mad Fabricators fame – and you’ve got a recipe for a great little get-together.
Apart from the tragedy of two broken espresso machines at the coffee van, the event went off without a hitch and everyone had a great old time. With some slightly nicer weather – and coffee – the Boogaloo will be even better next year. Let’s hope we get an invite! s