Beer and bull riding: Australian revellers celebrate the outback - Kogonuso

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Sep 29, 2018

Beer and bull riding: Australian revellers celebrate the outback

Thousands of revellers flocked to the rural Australian town of Deniliquin on Saturday in a rowdy celebration of their love of utility vehicles and the outback, with whip-cracking and bull-riding contests among the highlights.

The Deni Ute Muster, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is the biggest festival of its kind in the world.

It draws some 20,000 revellers and 6,000 utility vehicles -- known as utes -- from across the vast continent to the small town of Deniliquin around 700 kilometres (450 miles) southwest of Sydney.

"It's a gathering of utes, an iconic event that celebrates lots of rural Australia," the festival's general manager Vicky Lowry told AFP.

The two-day event has outlasted other festivals held in Australia by embracing the nation's rural heritage, including the ubiquitous ute commonly used on farms.

Other highlights include so-called circlework competitions -- where utes drive around a dirt track doing a variation of donuts, kicking up tons of dust as thousands of spectators cheer them on.

But the main highlight remains the ute paddock, where Australians young and old party late into the night in front of large bonfires, setting up tents or swags -- a rolled-up tent -- beside their vehicles.

At the paddock, jumping on top of your ute to crack a whip or scull a bottle of beer is a common occurrence, as is the blasting of country music.

"Well we come here with the boys... just come to get away from work and get drunk," Lochie Donovan, 20, told AFP before jumping on the hood of a ute to empty a can of beer.

The festival's size also means some of country music's top singers have taken centre stage, with American star Carrie Underwood headlining this year.
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