Racing stalwart honoured
A former president and life member of the Nor West Jockey Club has been honoured for long-term service by the Country Racing Association of WA.
Darryl Rooney was made a life member of the CRA, a rare honour which has only had a handful of other recipients in its history, at an awards dinner in Perth early this month.
He has been part of the association since its establishment in 1988.
Mr Rooney, who was born in Onslow and lived and worked in the North West for most of his life, became involved in racing when station manager Doug Stove handed him the role of Nor West Jockey Club timekeeper at short notice upon his departure for Perth in 1974.
He said his involvement had grown from there; he became the club vicepresident and president for a combined eight years, installed new infrastructure around the course and shaped changes that continue there today, such as scaling back the number of race meets from six to four a year for budget reasons.
“It was a hobby that I’d picked up and I just ran with it,” he said.
“Our family was partially involved in racing, and being in the North West we knew a lot of the station people who were involved in the racing industry before it became a (more professionalised) part of the industry.”
Mr Rooney has continued to represent the Nor West Jockey Club at CRA meetings since moving to Geraldton and said the association life membership award had come as a complete surprise.
“I was honoured with life membership of the Nor West Jockey Club (in 1994), so I now have two life memberships of country racing,” he said.
“We’re of the belief if you live somewhere, you’ve got to make it your home and make it what people really want.”
“People are required to keep this industry alive.”