New Event: The Boogaloo Invitational — Traditional Hot Rodding, The Australian Way

Words and Photography: Luke Ray

The first Boogaloo Invitational was held in Castlemaine, Victoria and wound down just a matter of hours ago. Organised by Des Russell and Tesha Mahoney, the Boogaloo is a traditional hot rod and custom motorcycle event, catering to enthusiasts of pre-1965 hot rods & customs and pre-1975 American and British bobbers and choppers.

The Boogaloo weekend was a roaring success. More than 400 cars and motorcycles fitting the criteria had been invited and they all showed up, along with a large crowd of likeminded onlookers. The vibe of the show was relaxed, friendly and the general consensus over the weekend was that Des and Tesha had nailed it overall. Crowds came from far and wide. People had driven and ridden from South Australia, New South Wales and even Queensland, some two days on the road each way, so the dedication to this new event was evident even before the gates had opened.

Every car and bike on site was a visual treat and having so many fine machines all together in a relatively compact space was a special experience for anyone appreciative of the skills, dedication and passion that had gone into every one of them.

Before we wrapped up for the weekend we grabbed Des for a quick chat to find out a bit more about the Boogaloo planning process.

Des, how did the Boogaloo come about?

We did a ‘Mad Fabricators’ film screening a while ago at the local pub which we called the Boogaloo. That was just a couple of hundred people in a pub having a really really good time. I really enjoyed the self-accomplishment of seeing it come together so I was always talking to Tesha about how we could do an event. Something really special with all good cars and bikes.

I listened to so many people tell me that Australia doesn’t have enough going on to cater for traditional hot rods and bikes. I thought well, someone’s got to do it, so I really wanted to have a go. So only about six months ago I decided to go for it and start the planning process.

What is the Boogaloo Invitational?

It’s a static display of vehicles which have all been invited to be present at the show. My goal was to create a celebration of early style hot rods, customs and choppers.

What was it like organising your first big event, just the two of you?

It’s been a lot of work and a steep learning curve. I like to think I’m a pretty organised person anyway…

What’s the process of putting something like this on?

I found the site and approached the council. They have an event pack to follow so we went through that. I also asked the guys from the Chopped Rod & Custom show  for some advice and they went through a few things with me which I’m really appreciative of.

Then we started inviting cars and bikes. Initially I had a list of about 200 which I thought would be a pretty good number but then we put it out to expressions of interest also and ended up with double that number.

How do you feel the first event has gone?

Fantastic! I’m really happy with it and it’s been a great success. Everyone’s been really really supportive and the only complaint over the whole weekend was about a broken coffee machine, so all in all everyone’s been happy.

So, what happens next?

I want to do it again, but I don’t want it to get bigger. I want it to be like this as we seem to have got all the ingredients so right. I’ve had lots of feedback to the effect of “If you do it again, just do it the same.” So, that’s what I want to do...

LR - I’m inclined to agree with Des. The event was excellently done and had such a good vibe about it. If you like what you see in these photos, I highly recommend you follow what Des and Tisha are doing by looking up the Boogaloo Invitational through Facebook and Instagram. If they can deliver the same thing again (minus the torrential downpour and thunderstorm!) in 2017 and beyond, I think you’ll be looking a one of the best regular events on the Australian automotive calendar.