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Cup crisis point

Tuesday, 7th June, 2011

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: This year’s Silver City Cup race meeting is in serious jeopardy unless a secretary/manager can be recruited. UNCERTAIN FUTURE: This year’s Silver City Cup race meeting is in serious jeopardy unless a secretary/manager can be recruited.

By John Casey

The short-term future of the Silver City Race Club has reached crisis point with a last-ditch attempt to salvage the scheduled October 22 race meeting planned for tonight.

Committee members of both the Silver City and St Pat's Race Clubs have been summoned to an emergency meeting at 6pm to discuss what options can be considered as the SCRC continues to operate without a secretary/manager.

'The club's position has reached a critical stage,' concerned SCRC President Christine Kersten admitted yesterday.

'To be honest, the deadline to have a secretary/manager in place with enough time to pull everything together for the 2011 Silver City Cup meeting has passed.

"Unless someone comes forward in the near future we will have no choice but to cancel the race meeting planned for October 22 and that would be disappointing for many people and a number of organisations," Ms Kersten added.

Since the club's former secretary/manager Marg Andrews stood down at the end of 2010 the club has conducted a fruitless search to find a successor.

"We were so lucky with Marg - she did a wonderful job - but she decided the time was right (after 10 years) to take a break and filling her shoes has proved near impossible," Ms Kersten said.

"It certainly hasn't been for a lack of trying.

"We've had employment consultants help us, conducted media campaigns and left no stone unturned in our efforts to find a replacement - all to no avail," she continued.

Ms Kersten said the club was looking for someone who was initially able to commit around 10 to 12 hours each week to get the scheduled 2011 meeting back on track, with a $4000 honorarium paid to the right candidate.

"We need someone who has general computer skills and also the ability to liaise with sponsors, trainers and other racing personnel.

"But the days of having to manually handle racing issues such as nominations, acceptances and weights are long gone, so a background in racing isn't essential and people shouldn't be discouraged from applying for the position because they feel they wouldn't have the racing knowledge," Ms Kersten added.

The successful candidate would also be able to draw on the invaluable experience of St Pat's Race Club secretary/manager Cheryl Krutli, who is prepared to take on a mentoring role.

"I was secretary/manager for the Silver City Race Club for the first three years after it was resurrected in 1997 and I would be able to work in tandem with the person who accepts the new position," Mrs Krutli said.

"People will understand there are already many synergies between the two clubs and it would be a great benefit to horse racing in Broken Hill in general if the right person can be found for the Silver City Club.

"I just don't have the time to take on both roles, and our club also needs to have a succession plan in place, so there is a lot of scope for the future if we can find the right candidate," Mrs Krutli added.

The Silver City Race Club has a rich tradition which dates back to the 1890s and is the oldest race club in the Far West. It went into hiatus from 1987 to 1997 because of dwindling patron numbers and support.

"It is so annoying," Ms Kersten said.

"We are financial and with the volunteers we have our race meeting does make money - not a lot, but enough to keep us going.

"The club has been fortunate in that we have picked up additional committee members but finding someone to step into what is regarded as the main job has proved out biggest stumbling block.

"If we can't find a suitable person then we may have to cancel the races and work towards resuming in 2012," Ms Kersten warned.

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