The Narrandera Racing Club was awarded the Community Race Club of the Year at the 2018 Country and Provincial Racing Awards on Friday night.
The club had been shortlisted in the final four, up against racing clubs in Coonabarabran, Duck Creek and Bong Bong.
“It was a fabulous night,” said Narrandera Racing Club Manager Michael Bailey. “Everyone in Narrandera should be proud of what the club has achieved; it’s been a long time coming and many people have made many contributions, big and small, to the club’s success.”
Club President Tony Paterson accepted the award alongside Mr Bailey and club secretary Lee Sweeney. The award was presented by Will McArthur of Gow Gates Insurance Brokers.
“I didn’t have any expectations – it was a big thing just to get down to the final four. I thought Tony did a very good acceptance speech – it was in front of 400 people, a lot of them high flying people from the racing industry. We were very humbled,” Mr Bailey said.
“There were in excess of 20 nominations in the category. I had a chat to one of the executives, and they said we were very fortunate to get into the final four. When I saw them on Saturday, they simply said that we’d had a very good year.”
The success of the Narrandera Racing Club really does come down to its dedicated committee.
Entirely made up of volunteers, the committee – which was described earlier this year by Racing NSW executive Julieanne Horsman as “punching above its weight” – has given over time, money, effort and commitment to turning the club around in the last 25 years.
Despite this, Mr Bailey said when the nominations were first announced that “any kudos we get goes back to Narrandera; we’ve had the support of the community as we go”.
Interestingly, the racing season is organised around the financial year, rather than the calendar year; the club’s success was counted from most of 2017’s activities. The award examined both the club’s successes and its community involvement.
The Racing Club has successfully established a TAB within the race meetings, which enabled the club to be able to offer greater prize money – the Narrandera Cup this season carried prize money worth $30,000.
The club also began to offer longer races this season, with the races coming back up to a true cup race of 1600 metres, while also running longer races of 2100 metres.
On top of these successes, the club was also able to demonstrate their involvement in the Narrandera Community.
Not only does the club house double as a function centre, but the club also facilitates Work for the Dole and community service programs, as well as a partnership with Kurrajong.