Tweed River Jockey Club chairman is not just horsing around

GRASSROOTS GUY: Tweed River Jockey Club chairman Bernie Quinn gets the goss straight from the horse’s mouth.
GRASSROOTS GUY: Tweed River Jockey Club chairman Bernie Quinn gets the goss straight from the horse’s mouth. JOHN GASS Twerace

WHEN work has to be done at the Murwillumbah Racecourse, there is always one man who rolls up his sleeves and pitches in… and he is also the chairman.

Bernie Quinn has been chairman of the Tweed River Jockey Club for 38 years.

"I would be lying if I said there were never times that it got to me, but I wasn't going to let it. I'm like Cassius Clay," Mr Quinn said.

"If I'm lucky enough to get to 40 years then I think that's great. If I don't then that's just life."

But Mr Quinn always finds a way to stay involved.

He was a butcher in his youth and until recently customers at Burringbar Quality Meats found him working behind the counter.

Owner Brett O'Keefe said Mr Quinn was working every now and then at the butchery until about two years ago and Mr O'Keefe still bought cattle from Mr Quinn's Mooball farm.

"I think the concrete was a bit hard on his legs," Mr O'Keefe said.

"He was a good talker with the customers."

Mr Quinn's talent to entertain customers is also used at the racetrack.

Racing journalist Stephen Senise has known Mr Quinn since 2003 and said the chairman was always behind the microphone on race day.

"Bernie is always there to hand over the cup and is on the microphone talking to the crowd," Mr Senise said.

"One thing that stays with me is the minute that the microphone is in his hand, he is at ease and he quickly puts the crowd at ease.

"He does have that gift of being an entertainer. In a past life he may have been a good stand-up (comic)."

An entertainer he might have been, but the racing community in Murwillumbah has benefited from Mr Quinn's decision to join Murwillumbah Jockey Club.

"Growing up on a farm, I have always had horses," Mr Quinn said.

"When I took over (in 1974) we had three races a year.

"I could see the races getting bigger and bigger."

Mr Quinn said at one stage the track had 33 race days a year but the track could not handle that number and it has been reduced back to 11.

"There are probably a million stories about the club I can remember, but probably the best thing I have seen is how the club's grown," he said.

"In the older days we basically had a toilet with four sheets of tin around it."

Mr Senise said Mr Quinn played a big part in making the club appealing for racegoers.

"He puts in at a very practical level, especially at Murwillumbah Cup carnival time," Mr Senise said.

"He does stuff you wouldn't expect a chairman of a racing club to do.

"If a marquee needs to be put up then he will be there to put it up."

Mr Quinn was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) this year for his service to the racing industry and his volunteer work.

He said he was very proud to have received the award and would be heading to Canberra in April to receive it.

In typical fashion he finished with a quip: "It's good to be young enough to enjoy it."

Topics:  racing tweed river jockey club

Sinus problems call for persistence

Shaking off the lingering effects of a cold requires persistence.

Did you catch a cold in winter? Sinus problems call for persistence

Men of league hit the greens for community

Barry Hancock and Kev Embrey of the Fraser Coast at a recent Men of League Bowls Day.

Tweed to gather on Coolangatta greens.

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Expert's talk on Olley's life is not to be missed

THE ARTIST: Artist Margaret Olley at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in 2006.

RARE insight into the life of one of most cherished hoarders

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Rick Price to play the basement

BACK: Rick Price plays The Arts Centre Gold Coast on November 3.

Returning to the Gold Coast

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge