Written by Kerrie Alexander
A much-loved local car show is on the fast track to becoming one of the biggest in Queensland thanks to dedicated volunteers, passionate car enthusiasts and the business community who support their charitable cause.
On the long weekend in May, Hervey Bay streets were inundated with hundreds of meticulously restored classic cars as part of the three-day Wide Bay Rodders May in the Wide Bay Car Show.
On Saturday, thousands of residents lined the streets to get a glimpse of their dream cars, while others gushed over the 572 incredible vehicles that attended the annual car show on Sunday at the Seagulls Rugby League Club grounds.
It was the biggest car show to date.
WBR Vice President Des Batten, who had been president for 12 years before this event, said the 2021 show was a massive boost for local tourism.
He said thousands of car clubbers from around the state got their motors running to the Fraser Coast, with many enjoying the very best of what the region has to offer.
“It’s one of the biggest events on the Fraser Coast and it’s only going to continue to grow,” Mr Batten said.
“You think about what we do … we book out all the motels, everyone is eating out, buying petrol and we even had a boat cruise this year, so that was something different that we had.
“The people that come to the Bay for this event is unbelievable.
“We had over 400 guests staying with us from Friday at the Ingenia Holiday Park, who are one of our major sponsors.”
Mr Batten said another important aspect of the club’s biggest annual event was raising much-needed funds for local children.
In the past nine years, the club has donated over $140,000 to local charities, with this year’s event alone raising an outstanding $22,000.
Donations include $3000 to the Seagulls Junior rugby League, $5000 to the Treehouse Wellness Centre, $2000 to the Neo Natal Ward at the Hervey Bay Hospital, $3000 to Rotary House, $3000 to riding for Disables, $3000 to go towards a new playground at Yarrilee State School and $3000 for special education programs at Pialba State School.
“That’s a lot of money for a small club!” Mr Batten said.
“It’s a credit to the club and the people in the club and everyone who has supported us over the years.
“Most of our charities are for kids and we find it very important to support the young kids from Hervey Bay.
“This is the reason we try and give to youth that need our help, and with these organisations we know the donations are staying locally and helping the young ones.
“It’s so nice to see the smile on the faces of the kids we help.”
With the inaugural show starting with just 40 cars and a handful of volunteers about 12 years ago, Mr Batten said all the sponsors and businesses who donate raffle prizes and WBR members, old and new, have all played an integral part in making the May in the Wide Bay event a phenomenal success.
“It’s been an exciting ride. To see the club today and the people that are supporting us, it makes me very happy to see what the club’s done for the people over the years.
“Now we have a new generation of committee members; I’m a very happy ex-president.
“It’s so nice to see that the club’s in fantastic hands.”
Planning is already underway for the next May in the Wide Bay with confirmation that the event will be held at the TAFE College grounds in Urraween. Follow the Wide Bay Rodders on Facebook for show updates.