Anyone in the agricultural game knows it’s part and parcel of the industry to meet buckets of new people along the road. It’s a fun part, but can present a few hurdles.
For Ausplow’s Chris Blight, trips to the Eyre Peninsula on business have become a far cry from the days of growing up in the UK. One particular quirk he’s come to love, is the prevalence of nicknames on the EP.
What’s commonplace for locals, can sometimes trip up visitors, when they’re no longer introduced to “Tom, Dick or Harry”, but by affectionate nicknames, like “Pig, Gerbs and Bruiser”.
Juggling the who’s-who (and keeping a straight face at times) has become second nature to Chris (aka “Pom”) after many trips to the West Coast on business with Ausplow.
“Over the past 11 years in the industry, I’ve made regular stops at Cummins, Cleve and Wudinna and one thing sets it apart from places like Western Australia, New South Wales or Victoria. Not one person seems to have a real name,” laughs Chris.
“I’m from Cornwall in England, where people almost tip their hats and say ‘how do you do’. But on the EP, it’s all… ‘this is Snakes, or Tex, or Barnsy’.
“It kind of shocked me at first, and I’d sit in the ute with whoever I was on business with and say ‘what’s his proper name?’ But it never mattered, because everyone goes by nicknames so I learnt to stick with them pretty quickly.”
These terms of endearment are one of the things Chris says speaks volumes about the West Coast.
“It says a lot about the relationships between the dealers and the farmers. It also helps an outsider to understand personalities, the culture, the peninsula, and it helps me blend into the area — it’s a breath of fresh air,” he says.
But from time to time, Chris finds himself a little unsure about even using some of them, concerned he might offend.
“I remember the first time I met a great guy and DBS owner from the area nicknamed Tossa. At first, I thought the Ramsey Bros Salesman Hamish (Doggy) Ward was having a lend of me — but sure enough, Tossa it is and always has been! The name was apparently given to him years ago by an uncle,” chuckles Chris.
And while it may not be easy to always get the names right and remember the stories behind each one, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’ve been out west when you’ve caught up with Wombi, Hopper, Honky, Handy, or Brunt… just to name a few.