Race club woe shot down

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

Roe­bourne’s Nor West Jockey Club has put to bed claims of in­ter­nal tur­moil af­ter the com­mu­nity turned up in un­prece­dented num­bers at an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing last week­end to in­ject new life into the his­toric race­course. Ru­mours have been swirling over the past month that the club would not race this year, and that mov­ing the first race to Port Hed­land had been con­sid­ered.

In­com­ing pres­i­dent Dar­ren Wiel­go­masz said gear­ing up for the 150th an­niver­sary in 2017 had worn down the pre­vi­ous com­mit­tee, but the club was ready to put the past few months of un­cer­tainty be­hind it.

“There was a lot of hype build­ing to the 150th, a lot of work done be­hind the scenes, and a lot of pres­sure to nail that cel­e­bra­tion,” he said.

“It was re­ported the club was in a bit of tur­moil and we were, it seems, but now we have had this meet­ing and mov­ing for­ward to 151, there is some new en­ergy there. Those ru­mours have been put to bed. There was no way known those races would not go ahead this year.”

More than 30 peo­ple turned up to the meet­ing last Sun­day morn­ing to fill po­si­tions on com­mit­tees

and sub­com­mit­tees. Club meet­ings usu­ally at­tract five to 10 at­ten­dees.

Mr Wiel­go­masz said the club had com­mit­ted to run­ning the first race on June 10, though with lit­tle time to or­gan­ise and the race fall­ing on a Sun­day, en­try would be free in an at­tempt to boost num­bers.

A po­ten­tial scrap­ping of the 18-an­dover only rule for the Roe­bourne Cup has also been mooted.

Sev­eral com­mit­tee mem­bers voiced a strong de­sire to al­low fam­i­lies to at­tend the big­gest race of the year, and the mat­ter will be put to a vote at an up­com­ing meet­ing.

“We thought, as a com­mit­tee at the time, it was our so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to have it an 18-plus event be­cause . . . we didn’t think it was the place to have chil­dren,” Mr Wiel­go­masz said.

“It is im­por­tant to have fam­ily events in the Pil­bara be­cause we don’t have too many.

“That is some­thing we will look at and it will hope­fully be a good out­come for fam­i­lies.”

Mr Wiel­go­masz said he was proud to be elected pres­i­dent, hav­ing had strong fam­ily ties to the club for more than 70 years.

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