Sport

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



Where the "who's who” in biz will be this weekend

TIME TO SHINE: Patrons at the launch of the 2016 BEATS awards at Babalou, Kingscliff.

The theme is sequins and sparkles; the guest list Tweed's top crop

Patients being treated but no access to medical records

Doctors have returned to their rooms at the Kingscliff Family Medical Services Clinic but remain in dispute over business records.

Kingscliff doctors return to rooms to treat patients

Council's $200k woes: what cops are doing about it

NSW police at coffs harbour boat ramp, arrest , gun, shots, handcuffs

Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Thieves consider Tweed Council to be a "soft target"

Latest deals and offers

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

Joe Jonas' 'tough' pals

Joe Jonas' pals are 'tough' with his potential partners

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started