Meet Outback Truckers' new star
THE main suspect in getting Justin Harrison onto the latest TV series of Outback Truckers (7Plus, from May 28) is one of his children.
While Justin, 42, had seen the program before, he never thought to approach them about his own experiences. But his children, aged two, nine, 13 and 15, had other ideas.
"My little kids love watching the show," he said.
"I'm not exactly sure how (the program came to approach me), but I think my (13-year-old) daughter sent them an email from my email account.
"They're getting too clever now, kids."
To be fair, though, even the two-year old probably knows enough about computers to get him into all sorts of other trouble.
But Justin is probably right to suspect a conspiracy.
"I think that's how it came about to start with, but I answered the email they sent me and it just sort of went from there really," said Justin, who makes his first appearance in episode three.
Justin's story featured on the program is of a seven-day, 5900km journey from Bunbury to Port Augusta and along the Birdsville Track to deliver a 30 tonne header for a farmer near Mackay. Such a load would usually have required expensive escort vehicles.
"But we stripped it down to a size where we could transport it without the escorts and we saved quite a bit of money on the trip for the owner," Justin said.
"He was a nice bloke and doing it a little bit tough, so we thought we'd help him out a bit.
"It was a bit strange at first but then you forget about the cameras and you just get on with your job. After a while you just don't realise they're there."
And if fame does now come his way because of the program, he will take stardom "as it comes" in much the same way as he tackles life in general.
Before getting into trucking, Justin was a horse breaker.
He still has a 65ha property at Tambar Springs, where he breeds horses, but like all other people on the land he is battling the drought and only afford to keep about a dozen horses.
While he has been around horses all his life, he began his horse-breaking career at age 14 after leaving school.
"I was there until I was about 30-odd," Justin said.
"I still break horses in now but I don't do it for a living any more."
Justin moved into trucking, following his father, John, who used to drive livestock trucks.
"I got suspended from the racing business, breaking horses in for the racetrack," he said.
"I had a bit of a disagreement with the stewards. So I thought I might just buy a truck and see how I go."
Then he had to take a break from trucking several years ago to look after his wife, Tash, who suffered a brain aneurysm. Now he's back on the road, helping out a mate with his trucks.
"The worst is probably dealing with the authorities and all the silly rules they've got," he said.
When he's home on weekends, he often travels to rodeos, where his son Charlie, 15, is a bit of a star.
"He's been invited to go over to Brazil for the PBR World Championships," Justin said.
But trucking can keep Justin away from his family for considerable time, sometimes for up to two weeks.
"When I know my little ones are crook or are not right, that's when it sort of gets to you," he said.
"Or you miss out on their birthdays and things... I don't know about lonely, but you feel a bit empty."