Bernie Quinn at his beloved Tweed River Jockey Club, which he has presided over for 43 years.
Bernie Quinn at his beloved Tweed River Jockey Club, which he has presided over for 43 years. John Gass

Bernie Quinn gallops to award in 43rd year

TWEED River Jockey Club chairman Bernie Quinn has received a special achievement award for his 43-year contribution to the club and country racing in New South Wales.

Quinn, who received the accolade in Sydney last week in front of 600 peers and their families, said he was humbled by the award.

“I’m very honoured to receive the award and I’m very happy about it,” Quinn said.

“My wife, daughter, her husband and Greg from the Jockey Club were there and it was nice to win a big award in front of so many.”

It has been a long journey for Quinn, who took over from previous chairman Pat Quan, following his tragic death in an accident.

When Quinn took over, the club was on its knees financially and could barely afford to hold race meets.

“When I arrived, the club was in debt and we raced three times a year,” Quinn said.

“We survived and got through the tough times, we haven’t got much in the bank but we’ve got enough to keep us battling on.”

Quinn and another director put $20,000 into the club at one point to keep it afloat and were able to gradually build success.

The club now holds 11 race meetings a year and turns over $10-11 million (not all profit) every year on average.

Quinn’s position is voluntary and he believes the input of his family and the region has helped him succeed.

“The support I’m getting from the community and the wonderful support from my family (is great),” Quinn said.

Quinn has re-nominated as chair after club secretary manager Brian Charman asked him to stay on for another year.

Charman said Quinn was a wonderful chairman and his contribution to the club over the years was difficult to measure.

“He’s been a mentor to the directors and staff over the years and he’s been that connection between financial success with local sponsors,” Charman said.

“Without Bernie, I’m not sure where the club would be today, he’s done a tremendous job.

“Forty-three years in the chair from where the club had nothing, to where it is today, is due to a good board and chairman.”

Quinn is proud of his achievements.

He feels he has left his mark on racing in the region.

“I feel like I’ve done something for racing and kept racing going,” he said.



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