The Quarterhorse Races

Submitted: Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 20:39
ThreadID: 55644 Views:1347 Replies:2 FollowUps:0
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Julie P's post has prompted me to write about my week end. I enjoyed reading about the cool stream, the gum trees, the shiny stones and the pleasure that she had in her day. It was a beautiful picture she painted of her day.

My day couldn't have been further removed from that tranquillity.

I went to the Birchip Quarterhorse Cup. Over the past few weeks a rough bush race track was hewn out of the local reserve where the old Birchip Race Track used to be. There was nothing left of the original track but the memories of those of us who can still remember when racing was big in the bush and each local town had a track.

In the space of days a track was laid out with a "quarter mile" straight. Mallee Gums were used for the running rails, mounting yard and horse stalls and white marquees sprouted up to hold the local crowd. From far afield the entries came and with them their owners, trainers and jockeys. The locals formed a committee and appointed judge, starter, clerks of the course and officials and the big day dawned.

It was hot, it was 40 degrees in the water bag but the crowd turned up in droves. Everyone was out for a good day in their best clobber. The local pub set up a bar, the local ladies and sports clubs manned the barbecues and the local kids ran amok.

There were five races, each with about four runners and as they raced down the straight the clouds of dust flew up around and behind them. It drifted over the crowd and mingled with the perspiration but no one minded a bit. One local bookie took the bets and the roars of the winners reminded me of the old days when racing was King in the bush.

It was like walking down memory lane for the old timers who remembered the races at each of the local tracks. There were tall tales told of all the characters that used to grace these tracks and the shenanigans they got up to. Oh to go back to those old days, to those old rascals, to those old tricks. The changing world has taken over and taken that away from the bush.

Yesterday brought it all back again and it was a blast of fresh air. The trophies were mallee roots with small horseshoes imbedded in them. The winners posed for photos and laughed and cried like they were at Flemington running for the big money.

It's on again next year and if you're in the area, come along for the Birchip Quarterhorse Cup....you'll have a good time I can guarantee it.

Viv

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Reply By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 22:21

Monday, Mar 17, 2008 at 22:21
Viv

Great post.

Regards

Kim
AnswerID: 293242

Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 08:40

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 at 08:40
Remember what Clancy said - he was sitting in his office in the city remembering about times in the bush. Well that's me after reading your Post - great picture you painted Viv - oh to have been at your race meeting. I've grown up with bush racing and have been through the 90's when 'they' closed down several country Qld race tracks (I was secretary of one of them) - they couldn't have cared less about the drought, the hardness of life for some, the difficulty in keeping horses going in the drought, the miles and miles travelled to get to a race meeting, the dedication of the owners trainers and jockeys - and the total joy it would bring to those people who went to the races. Mostly it was the only big social outing.
I like Quarterhorse racing too - I just like Quarterhorses!
Thank goodness it's only two weeks and I'll be heading back bush - I need to hear the roar of the silence and smell the clean air.
Good story Viv. (and who gives a fig if it is OT- it's about Australian life and good life at that).
AnswerID: 293283

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