STUART Rogers is urging the racing community at large to help his Coonabarabran Jockey Club raise much-needed funds for victims of the local bushfires.
The Coonabarabran president is working with his committee and officials from Warrumbungle Shire Council to organise activities at the TAB race meeting to be held on Saturday, February 9.
Rogers, a racing tragic who owns horses and gives a lot of energy to the local club and to the industry, is confident the day will be a major success.
“Just today I’ve got a meeting with people to see what we can do to add to the race meeting,” he said.
“The TAB meeting on February 9 was put in stone on the New South Wales racing calendar and we did intend to use funds for our local aged care facility.
“But after seeing what the fires have done during the past week we have changed our plans and the support has been very pleasing.
“We’ve still got some time but there have been plenty of ideas coming from people which is really good.
“The racing will look after itself with six races programmed and likely to be extended and we’ll have SKY 2 coverage of all the races.
“What we can do now is work on activities for people who support the meeting at the track and maybe others who can’t be at the races but would like to make donations.”
Rogers said already he had a host of raffle prizes and there was every chance that auction items would also come along.
But on his wish list were cash donations.
“Our farming community particularly has been hard hit and it’s essential that fencing get done as soon as possible,” Rogers said.
“Cash is what we would appreciate and there will be opportunities for people to donate what they can.
“Our funds will be going directly to the Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal which is being organised by our mayor Peter Sinton.
“In the next week or so people from BlazeAid will be coming to Coonabarabran to get fencing underway and we’ll be giving them every support.
“Ironically one of our local farmers last year spent time in Victoria working with BlazeAid and the retired farmers it’s made up of after the floods.
“Now the same organisation will be coming up here to help one of their own, ‘Coonabarabran Bob’, as he became known.”
Western Racing Association secretary Ann Hall said the bushfire appeal race day idea had been spread far and wide.
“Michael Kennedy from Coonamble, our Western Racing Association delegate to the Country Racing Council, is currently in Sydney for a meeting and he hopes to get an opportunity to speak about the race meeting and what they plan to do,” she said.
“We have also been speaking with Terry Bailey, the Victorian chief steward in Melbourne, who was with us here in the Western and Central Districts associations some years ago, and he’s promised to do what he can.
“Racing NSW has also been contacted.”