On the 30th of May this year Gary Smith was elected as the Riverina District director for the NSW GBOTA. This election was for a two year period and was the second term for Smith, yet just months later he has resigned.
The amazing part of this story is that under the watch of Smith, the Temora Club has wiped out a $19,000 debt and had massive track upgrades, including a conversion from grass to sand.
“We did the conversion for $50,000 and there isn’t a track in Australia that has done it for that price. It was because we were all involved and did the work, which is something I’ll always be proud of,” explained Gary.
“This isn’t just me that has resigned. There is 14 of us, basically the entire Temora complex has resigned over the shit that’s been going on for years. A lot of these people weren’t greyhound orientated, they took part because it was a fun team environment. These people have busted their guts as volunteers. It wasn’t a leader led resignation, it was done by the 14 of us together and there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.”
“I’m very disillusioned with the sport. There is a minority that just knock everything that people do. Blind Freddy knows there is problems within the industry and if people don’t roll up their sleeves and get involved then the industry is in trouble. The people that are slagging others off for the work they are doing don’t do any work themselves.”
Whilst talking to Gary the passion and anger is extremely obvious. This is a man who had long term visions for the Temora Club and was hell-bent on implementing them, but now his passion for the sport has been disintegrated.
“I have no bones with GRNSW. There have been some decisions I don’t necessarily agree with, but I work with them. I also have no problem with the GBOTA. There is a minority out there that is trying to overrule a majority.”
“We had big plans for Temora. We have wiped out our debt and we are now in the black despite our funding being significantly reduced. The cup was on Sky this year and was a TAB meeting. Prizemoney was to be increased and we were putting proposals together for the track to be a TAB track. The track is in a location that appeals to Victorian’s as well and we thought we had a bright future unfolding.”
“I have five dogs in the kennels outside and I truly don’t know if I’ll ever bother racing them again. I’m just so upset at the moment.”
NSW GBOTA Chairman, Geoff Rose, said that Mr Smith’s resignation had been received with regret.
“Gary has made an outstanding contribution to the Association, to greyhound racing in the Riverina and greyhound racing generally,” explained Mr Rose.
“Gary has worked hard to increase sponsorship and promotion and his pivotal role in driving the grass to sand conversion at Temora is a substantial legacy.”
“His energy will be missed and I, on behalf of the Board, wish him the very best with future endeavours within and outside of the greyhound industry.”
When pressed as to what had caused this decision a distraught Smith laid it all out on the table.
“Some swines are running with bullshit that I took $8,000 out of the place by misappropriation of funds. Look at what happened to Albury, I saw that unfold and everything at Temora has been done by the book and managed strictly. It’s so disheartening after all of the work we have done.”
“To be called a thief is the last straw. I won’t wear that and there will be plenty more news to come. It’s other people within the industry that have seen fit with it and to run with it. When I get the evidence I will deal with it. There will be a small group clapping their hands, but I hope they understand what they have done.”
I’m sure there will be plenty more to come out of this resignation. To use an old saying, “we are just scratching the surface here.”