The Annual Van Nationals were held in Parkes over the Easter long weekend, and proved to be a great success with 313 registered participants from all over Australia.
Now in its 45th year, the Nationals attracted 160 registered vans (plus many more that weren't submitted for judging), with people driving from as far as Cairns - just the lazy 2240 kilometres away!
Hosted by the Central West Car Club (CWCC), over 780 visitors entered the Parkes Showground to be enjoy the award winning vans, merchandise and local stalls, while 214 visitors camped on-site and another 100 stayed locally - bringing a considerable amount of money to the local economy.
Rodney (president of the CWCC) and Jennifer Barnes from the CWCC had a huge hand in organising and running the Nationals, and they were stoked by how well the event was received.
"The van community really is like a family of people who enjoy reliving their youth - it's not just about the cars, we even had two competitors get married at the event which Rodney and I were lucky enough to be witnesses for," said Jennifer.
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One participant, Darren Burns, was sure to send Rodney and Jennifer some feedback - and he was just one of many.
"What a fantastic weekend you put together, certainly the best Nationals we have ever been to; the venue just worked so well, facilities were great, weather spot on, food terrific," he said.
"You and your team of helpers did an amazing job as always, well done guys - thank you for making everyone feel so welcomed, that is a big task so hat's off!"
An auction of donated items raised well in excess of $10,000 for local charities and community groups, which the CWCC will distribute.
One of those groups is Cycling Without Age, who are seeking to raise $20,000 initially to purchase and maintain a Trishaw for use with the elderly or less-abled people in Parkes and surrounding areas.
Having heard about the cause, Rodney pledged a donation of $5000 from the Van Nationals proceeds to get the ball rolling and Peter Guppy from the Parkes chapter of Cycling Without Age was over the moon with the news.
"After a fabulous few days of demonstrating the Trishaw with nursing home residents and the general public in Parkes and Forbes, this offer is absolutely amazing and we can't thank those involved enough for it," he said.
Rodney said that there a few things already in the works for the rest of the proceeds, with the Red Cross tea rooms looking likely to get a significant chunk of coin as well.
The next major event for the CWCC will be the 'Show and Shine' at Pioneer Oval on October 16.
- Best van, best engine bay, best exterior, runner-up best interior and best undercarriage: Gary Scicluna 'Skidrow' - Ford Escort
- 2nd best van, runner-up best exterior, runner-up best undercarriage: Russell Slocombe 'Red Baron' - Ford Escort
- 3rd best van, runner-up best engine bay: Gary Hislop 'Fat FJ Van' - Blue FJ Holden
- 4th best van: Rodney and Jennifer Barnes 'The Player' - Holden HZ
- 5th top van: Dennis Anderson 'Desire' - Holden HX
- 6th top van: Keith Pennay 'Blue Hotel' - Holden VE
- 7th top van: Jason and Jess Ackland 'Eloped' - Holden HX
- 8th top van, best interior: Susan Kelley 'The Last Stand' - Holden EH
- 9th top van: Susan Kelley 'Medusa' - Holden HJ
- 10th top van: Glenn Johnston 'GJ1979' - Bedford CF
- Vanners choice: Rodney and Jennifer Barnes 'The Player' - Holden HZ and Phillip Jay '76Sand' - Holden HX
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