FROM driving circus trucks to travelling the world, there’s not much Marion O’Hara Kossatz hasn’t done.
She started school in Wakool, an hour’s drive from Denilquin, qualified as a teacher at 18 and then retired as a computer consultant for the Canberra education system.
After he husband died in 1997, she joined Volunteers for Isolated Student’s Education (VISE) and has taught in South Africa, Hong Kong, Taiwan, remote cattle and sheep stations from Alice Springs to Broome.
“I was with the Great Moscow Circus for four years, as well as the Weber and Starburst circuses,” she said.
She’s also a qualified Australian Rules umpire.
“For the last 16 years, I’ve been either overseas on in the outback … this is almost like coming home,” she said.
Ms O’Hara Kossatz bought an old Subaru Brumby and plans to be in the paddock when they prepare for the world record ute count.
“I thought if I was going to do this, I’m going to go there now.”
Meanwhile, this year’s muster is the 17th Deniliquin resident Pat Williams has been to, starting with the original back in 1999.
That weekend spawned one of the Riverina’s and one of Australia’s best known events with 5000 people arriving.
During that first year, it was held at the football oval and Mr Williams said the football club was there cooking the snags and serving the beers.
“I walked across the road with my little brother, they put on a good show, it was great for country people,” he said.
Just two years later the muster grew and headed over to what is now a dedicated festival site.
“Millions gets poured into the town, even as a local I’ll spend up to $400 to $500,” he said.
It’s not just about "smashing some tinnies with the boys”, it’s celebrating the best of country Australia and there’s plenty of folks lining up to buy new jeans, boots and a ‘bluey’.
“It’s $220 for two full days of entertainment, you’d have to spend $600 to see all the bands individually.”