Race to celebrate club centenary
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