Round up . . . Tussock Country Music Festival chairman Jeff Rea and GWD Toyota marketing manager Hamish Tonkin are encouraging ute owners to polish up their vehicles and take part in the GWD Toyota Hokonui Ute Muster which will be part of the festival events in May. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A muster of a different kind will happen as part of this year’s Tussock Country Music Festival.

Rather than sheep or cows being rounded up, utes of all shapes and sizes will be assembled for the GWD Toyota Hokonui Ute Muster in Gore.

Festival chairman Jeff Rea said the event was styled on the ute muster tradition in Australia and the United States.

”Traditionally pick-up trucks and country music go together,” Mr Rea said.

The muster would start at 1pm at GWD Gore and the utes would parade to the Gore A& P Showgrounds.

Once the utes arrived they would be grouped according to which category they were entered in.

”The public can come and have a look.”

There were many prizes to be won in 12 categories, including best turned-out double cab, best dog in a ute, best classic ute and best trade ute.

The definition of a ute was ”anything with a ute on it”.

”It could be a model T.”

There was also a prize for the driver with the best mullet hairstyle.

The award ceremony would be at 3pm and the event would finish by 4pm.

Socialising was an important part of the event, he said.

”This is a great opportunity for country lads and gals to get together and celebrate some of the good stuff about rural living— trucks, dogs, and sharing good times.

GWD Toyota ambassadors Laura Douglas and Tangaroa Walker will help judge the event which would also raise funds for rural mental health in Southland.

GWD Toyota marketing manager Hamish Tonkin said his company had been involved selling vehicles since 1906.

”We know there’s a lot of utes out there so we just want a chance for all the owners to come together have a good time and enjoy themselves and their vehicles,” Mr Tonkin said.