Young gun wins 25th cup

Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Cally Dupe

Lancelin’s Lara Scad­dan ful­filled a child­hood dream when she rode her nine-year-old geld­ing Gun­smoke to win the Kulin Cup on Satur­day.

The 27-year-old, pic­tured, also won the Pin­gar­ing Plate in front of a sell-out, record crowd at the Kulin Bush Races’ 25th an­niver­sary.

The town at the epi­cen­tre of the Tin Horse High­way phe­nom­e­non burst to life at the week­end for a sil­ver an­niver­sary cel­e­brated with a sell­out, record crowd. But it was an ex­tra-spe­cial meet­ing for a lo­cal farmer, who is pre­par­ing to hand over the chair­man’s reins af­ter 25 years, writes Cally Dupe.

Ev­ery Kulin Bush Races meet­ing is a spe­cial one for Graeme Robert­son, one of the orig­i­nal com­mu­nity mem­bers who put their heads to­gether 25 years ago to cre­ate the event.

With a self-de­scribed “ob­ses­sion” with bet­ter­ing Kulin, and a love of coun­try race meet­ings, Mr Robert­son was well into the thick of things last week­end.

But this year was a bit dif­fer­ent for the Kulin farmer, who has ded­i­cated a large part of his life to the bur­geon­ing event.

It was likely his last as pres­i­dent, with plans to hand the role over to his deputy chair­man Tom Mur­phy in com­ing weeks — some­one Mr Robert­son says will “be bloody great”.

Mr Robert­son was just a young buck when he signed up as chair­man of the in­au­gu­ral bush races, which was held on Oc­to­ber 6 and 7, in 1995.

With self-con­fessed in­no­cence and naivety, the com­mu­nity loosely based its first event on Vic­to­rian coun­try pic­nic race meet­ings.

They de­cided to “have a crack”, and at the am­phithe­atre of the Ji­lakin Rock and Ji­lakin Lake, vol­un­teers carved out a man-made track and started to build in­fra­struc­ture.

A list of pros and cons about found­ing the event came up with sig­nif­i­cantly more cons — with no money, no ex­pe­ri­ence, no horses and a fear of fail­ure.

But in the end, the event’s one pro,“it should be great fun”, pre­vailed and the Kulin Bush Races was born.

At a spe­cial cer­e­mony on Fri­day night, Mr Robert­son was pre­sented with life mem­ber­ship for the event

he helped to found all those years ago. In pre­sent­ing the award, longterm vol­un­teer Rob­bie Bowey said Mr Robert­son had been an in­te­gral stitch in the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity.

“Graeme was an en­thu­si­as­tic ini­tia­tor of the event and de­spite lack of funds to get it started, he was happy to pro­ceed and take it for­ward,” she said.

“He en­cour­aged the com­mu­nity to come for­ward with ideas, to have a go and make the event the suc­cess it is to­day.”

The 25th event went off with a bang, rais­ing $150,000 for the com­mu­nity as a record crowd cel­e­brated 25 years. Fes­tiv­i­ties started Fri­day, when more than 3000 peo­ple gath­ered at the track at the base of the Ji­lakin Rock on the Luc­cesshi fam­ily’s farm.

The night kicked off with a nov­elty tin horse race and en­ter­tain­ment by acous­tic mu­si­cian Hay­den McGlinn and roots-rock singer

Laine Wolfe. Once the sun set, the crowd gath­ered in the bar area and danced the night away to Aus­tralian Rock Col­lec­tive and Slim Jim and The Phatts.

The crowd swelled to its sell-out, record-break­ing crowd of 4100 on Satur­day.

Lara Scad­dan, of Lancelin, scooped the fea­ture race of the week­end — The Kulin Cup — on her horse Gun­smoke, fol­lowed closely by Marge Ojapold on Bulls­brook Boy, and Penny Knight on Ima­batu.

With eight races, there was plenty to see on Satur­day, with fash­ions on the field, tin horse races, a 9G Trac­tor Race, two-up, kids’ tug of war and more.

Mr Robert­son said en­joyed see­ing young peo­ple return to the town to help run the event.

“I don’t know whether I have a real pas­sion for mak­ing Kulin the best it can be, or if it is an ob­ses­sion, it de­pends who you talk to,” he joked. “It has given me a real sense of sat­is­fac­tion. Be­ing hon­oured with a life mem­ber­ship is a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Mr Mur­phy first moved to Kulin in 1999, where he met his wife Fiona and the pair stayed in town for two years.

Af­ter a few years on the east coast, he re­turned to town four years ago and be­came in­volved with the races straight away.

Mr Mur­phy said he had learned a lot through Mr Robert­son and hoped to “carry on the legacy”.

Next year’s Kulin Bush Races will be held on Oc­to­ber 3 and 4.

A sil­ver an­niver­sary was cel­e­brated in style in the re­gions last week­end at the 25th an­niver­sary of Kulin Bush Races.

The sold-out pic­nic horse rac­ing event at­tracted a record crowd of 4100 through the gates and the Ji­lakin Rock race­track was heav­ing with pa­trons from across the state.

With eight races held through­out the af­ter­noon, it was Lancelin’s Lara Scad­dan that scooped the win of the fea­ture race — the Kulin Cup — on Gun­smoke.

There was a chang­ing of the guard when Kulin Bush Races in­au­gu­ral chair­man Graeme Robert­son passed the reins to lo­cal res­i­dent Tom Mur­phy.

The changeover was made of­fi­cial on Fri­day night when Mr Robert­son was pre­sented with a life mem­ber­ship to Kulin Bush Races for his ser­vice.

This year’s event raised a whop­ping $150,000 for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Next year’s event will be held on Oc­to­ber 2 and 3.

Kulin Bush Races pres­i­dent-in-wait­ing Tom Mur­phy and out­go­ing pres­i­dent Graeme Robert­son at the race track.

Re­nee Wil­lis, Holly Lude­man, and Kulin Bush Races fash­ions on the field guest judge Nicole Jame­son.

Kulin Cup 2019 win­ner Lara Scad­dan flanked by run­ner-up Marge Ojapold and third-placed Penny Knight.

The 9G trac­tor race at Kulin Bush Races.

The nov­elty sheep race kicks off.

Am­ber Spooner, 4, of Bak­ers Hill.

Holly Lude­man, Re­nee Wil­lis and Kulin Bush Races fash­ions on the field guest judge Nicole Jame­son.

Na­tion­als WA MLC Martin Aldridge with wife Dale Sparks and chil­dren Piper, 4, Do­minic, 3, and Casper, 5. Sara Bal­lard and Max Bal­lard, 12, of Nar­ro­gin, with Ham­mer the Polo Player tin horse.

Fe­male fash­ions on the field group win­ners Fiona Mochrie, Lynne Makon, An­nette Robin­son, Sally Boob­byer, Mar­cia Snow and Caro­line Ber­ry­man.

Pic­tures: Cally Dupe

Ty Kirby, of Nyabing, Chris Kirby, of Bea­con, Ian Caddy, of Perth and Ian An­der­son, of Perth.

Pa­trice Duffy, Sharon Baker and Steve Taylor, all of Perth.

Cody Power and Kayla Hyde, of Clack­line, with their son Flynn Power, 4.

Brian McK­in­ney, of Kal­go­or­lie, and Steve Mad­dock, of Perth.

Glen and Amelia Cook, with their eight-month-old daugh­ter Ge­orgina Cook.

Danci Pusen­jack and Irene Hills, of Man­durah.

Kulin Bush Races best-dressed fe­male Kelsie Foss and Jude Foss, of Bruce Rock.

Kulin Bush Races pres­i­dent Tom Mur­phy and son Sam Mur­phy, 4.

Clive and Lyn Crox­ford, of Perth.

An­nette Robin­son, of Perth, and Gary Carruthers, of Lake Grace.

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