Race to cel­e­brate club cen­te­nary

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

Hor­sham Hom­ing Club will con­tinue to cel­e­brate its longevity as a Wimmera sport­ing icon by es­tab­lish­ing a 100-year cen­te­nary race from Coom­bah in New South Wales next year.

The club ex­pects to sell at least 400 en­tries for the 420-kilo­me­tre race mid­way be­tween Mil­dura and Bro­ken Hill, likely to fea­ture up to a $4000 prize pool with at least $1000 up for grabs for first place.

The club has al­ready sold 150 en­tries dur­ing its cen­te­nary pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner, many to rac­ing en­thu­si­asts from out­side the re­gion, and is invit­ing the gen­eral pub­lic to get in­volved.

The race is part of ef­forts to raise the pro­file of the club and the his­toric sport, which main­tains a strong pres­ence in Hor­sham district.

Renowned pigeon racer and Aus­tralian cricket and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Bill Lawry was guest speaker dur­ing the club’s cen­te­nary din­ner at Hor­sham Golf Club.

Mr Lawry also au­to­graphed cen­te­nary and 2017 re­sults books at the event, which at­tracted more than 190 guests who trav­elled from as far as Ade­laide, War­rnam­bool, Bal­larat, Gee­long, Mil­dura, Mel­bourne, Keith, Port­land, Stawell and Ararat for the event.

Club of­fi­cials also used the oc­ca­sion to present awards for the 2017 rac­ing sea­son.

Graham El­bourne won the Main Ag­gre­gate Open Rac­ing ti­tle from other lead­ing com­peti­tors John Muszki­eta and Rob Nel­son.

He also won the Geoff Coutts Long Dis­tance Award, based on points from the three long­est races through­out the sea­son.

Muszki­eta dom­i­nated a Sprint Ag­gre­gate Long Sec­tion Award for lofts south of Wil­liams Road in Hor­sham and Brian Watts won a Sprint Ag­gre­gate Short Sec­tion tro­phy for lofts north of Wil­liams Road.

Club pres­i­dent Rob Nel­son won the 807-kilo­me­tre Len Sayer Me­mo­rial race from Ti­booburra.

Other award winners: Bird of the Year, Renn and Jeanette Wil­liamson; Reg Forbes Me­mo­rial Gold Band Race, Kevin King; Vice Araco Award, Graham El­bourne; Den­nis Smith Young Bird Derby, Bruce Rentsch; Herb Faux Me­mo­rial, John Muszki­eta; Ben­z­ing Bro­ken Hill Derby, Billy Har­ti­gan; Breed­ers Plate, Graham El­bourne.

Event co-or­di­na­tor and club sec­re­tary Brian Watts, who spent many hours com­pil­ing an his­tor­i­cal book­let of 100 years of pigeon rac­ing in Hor­sham, said the event ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We put it down to the pres­ence of Lawry who was gen­er­ous in his time,” he said.

“Bill races in part­ner­ship with close friend for­mer Hor­sham club mem­ber Bruce Dumesny.

“Con­sid­er­ing Bill ob­vi­ously has a no­table pro­file in Aus­tralian cricket it was fas­ci­nat­ing to hear how peo­ple can suc­cess­fully pur­sue two vastly dif­fer­ent sports and get the most out of both of them.”

Hor­sham Hom­ing Club has a long his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion to the Wimmera com­mu­nity. The club pro­vided the foun­da­tion for Homers foot­ball and cricket clubs.

Its next rac­ing sea­son starts in July and is open to en­thu­si­asts of all ages.

Mr Watts said any­one in­ter­ested in ei­ther par­tic­i­pat­ing in the cen­te­nary race or sim­ply learn­ing more about the sport of rac­ing pi­geons could call him on 5382 4093 or Rob Pearce on 0468 958 493.

PLENTY TO CEL­E­BRATE: From left, Bill Lawry, Graham El­bourne, Brian Watts, Rob Nel­son and John Muszki­eta at Hor­sham Hom­ing Club’s cen­te­nary din­ner. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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