I Spy: Instant Millionaire
SOME years ago, a well-known truckie became an instant millionaire after winning a major lotto prize.
This down-to-earth champion of the highways and byways could have retired long ago and lived it up. But he is still a truckie working for wages and not many of his colleagues have any idea he is a rich man.
With that in mind, during past months Spy has conducted his own survey of truckies, asking what they would do if they suddenly became wealthy.
Recently many have whinged about their lives as truckies and often with good reason.
But guess what? Most surveyed said if they won a million bucks, they would stay working as a truckie. "That has been my life and why would I want to change?" was a common summed-up answer.
Of course, most said they would buy a new house, car, help out family, and take a holiday.
But basically they would stay and help a fellow member of the trucking family who might not be doing so well.
Not surprising each said they would want to remain anonymous.
Poo down pat for truckies
COW pats and deadly snakes were obstacles that many people who work in the road transport industry or its offshoots faced when they competed at the world's most unusual cricket carnival.
Twelve teams battled it out at the Reedybrook Ashes in late August on three concrete pitches at the cow-fattening section of remote Reedybrook Station in outback Queensland.
Every player in each side got to bat and bowl and batters had to retire when they scored 30.
Teams consisted of both male and females and often some teenagers.
Cows often could be seen grazing not far from the cricket and on day one, when it is common for players to have to dodge pats as they field in the outer.
Over the years many have been known to see deadly taipans.
It is widely regarded as the only cricket carnival in the world held on a cattle station, and to get there you have to travel 40km on a dirt road from the highway between Mt Garnet and the Lynd Junction.
All money raised at the carnival goes to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Angel Flights and local charities.
Players and supporters camp on the upper fresh water section of the Burdekin River and most stay for the weekend. Kids and adults enjoy great swimming and fishing in the Burdekin, which has seen many sooty grunter and bream caught in past years.
Money is raised from an auction, cane toad races, a greasy pig catch event and many other novelty events.
Local side Gumflats won the 2014 Ashes trophy from runners-up Greenvale Grogalots.
Weipa Crocs took out the best social team award while Showuzya, which included some very well known truckies, the dreaded wooden spoon.
Road train collision
SEVERAL NSW truckies who were having lunch at a hotel with a TAB thought they were on a good thing when they spotted a greyhound named Road Train about to start in a race at Angle Park in SA on September 2.
It had drawn box seven and showed juicy odds of 12-1 on Sky Channel, so the lads decided to have a modest flutter on it.
They are all non punters except maybe on Melbourne Cup day once a year. To add to their excitement, the presenter said that the dog was the "late mail".
The boxes opened and poor old Road Train got flattened and ended up finishing last in the eight-dog field. "Our Road Train had a collision," one of the now former punters lamented.
Ring my bell
ONE of the gifts a truckie received at his 60th birthday party in late August was a "bell mug".
That is one of those glass mugs which holds a schooner of beer with a bell attached.
A main use is to ring the bell at the pub when your glass is empty so the bar attendant can refill.
The party was attended by about 20, with most being involved in the road transport industry.
Our birthday boy had a few days off, and was recovering the next day when his grandchildren got a hold of the mug.
About 20 times they rang the bell to get granddad to do the most menial tasks such as bring them ice cream and drinks. He was glad to get back to work.
Lost in WA
TRUCKIES in WA who heard about an interstate mate getting lost in their fine state reckon it could only happen to a banana bender.
This Queensland driver in his 60s came across roadworks near Roy Hill and was confused about which way to travel.
Roy Hill is an iron ore mining project in the Pilbara region about 115km north of Newman and 277km south of Port Hedland.
"There was different signs which I couldn't understand," he said.
So he went with his gut feeling and went along the dirt road "where there were lots of tyre marks". After several kilometres he realised he was heading in the wrong direction and turned around. When back at the signs he soon found his way.
Apple or onion?
WE HAVE all heard the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctors away".
One Victorian truckie reckons that an onion can prevent people suffering from the flu or head cold from having to go to the GP.
There has been an outbreak of flu like strains around Oz and many truckies have been affected.
Among six truckies who were yarning at a roadhouse parking area, four had flu symptoms.
One of the two healthy drivers walked to a nearby shop and soon returned. He peeled a large onion and placed it near the sick truckies.
"They will clear all the toxins associated with the flu. My grandfather told me about it and so did my dad and it has worked for us over the years," he said.
A "bargain hunter" is the way a Victorian truckie who watches his money describes himself.
Before entering a Melbourne liquor shop near his house he phoned a rival discount outlet getting a price on a carton of a certain sprit. After being given the price at $68 a slab he loaded six into his trolley and got to the checkout where he asked operator would they match the price.
Normally the checkout chic would phone the other store to double check the price. However on this occasion she gladly offered the $68 price and our driver asked why she didn't make the phone call.
"Because we have them on special for $62 and that is clearly marked," she said. Rather embarrassed truckie paid the $372 and worked out he saved $36.