After nearly two months without racing, greyhounds will return to Temora this Saturday when the Temora Greyhound Racing Club celebrates its grand re-opening day.
GBOTA Temora Director, Gary Smith, was the foreman behind a project that has seen the out-dated grass track propelled into the 21st century, by converting it to a spectacular sand surface for a better racing experience.
“Uniformity is a big thing”, Smith said, “Grass tracks have had their day and sand tracks are now uniform, they are everywhere”.
“Another reason was that the track needed to be upgraded. We wanted to provide a fair and better service for all participants. Sand is the future”.
“I had four or five meetings with the Temora Council. We wanted to become a reason for people to come into Temora and help support the local economy”.
Smith has worked tirelessly over the break in order to prepare the track for its return to racing on time. With the help of volunteers the track is now in prime condition and ready to use.
“If you had seen it before and were able to walk it now, it’s about a 10,000% improvement on what it was”.
It was a remarkable effort from all involved in the upgrade, to complete the massive assignment in such a short time frame.
Smith was quick to applaud the 27 volunteers that offered their assistance throughout the re-development.
“Everyone should be proud of what they have helped to build because this is something that will last a long time”.
With their accomplishments now apparent for the entirety of the industry to see, it is a testament to the close knit community that have poured their heart and soul into rebuilding and rebranding the sport that they are passionate about.
“It is normally hard to get volunteer labour for anything but we got 2,500 hours of volunteer labour here. It was enormous”.
Looking back at the now completed project, the Temora community can be elated with what they have achieved in what was no doubt a highly stressful and intense time trackside.
“Everything went as smoothly as we could have hoped. There were some frustrating times but a lot of people were able to help out. Businesses in town donated stuff and people that were not even associated with dogs came to give us a hand”, Smith recalled.
“Working here it seemed like it took forever. Every time we did something it rained”.
“We were knee deep in mud but we battled our way through it. We just looked at it as if it was a big rock and we just chipped away at it”.
The most rewarding aspect of the project is not doubt the fact that the local greyhound community can now look forward to a sturdy future. No longer is Temora a track of the past- it now boasts a state of the art racing surface for everyone to utilize, making all the hard work worthwhile.
“It is the Bulli of the bush”, Smith joked.
“After the first bit of grass was turned there was no going back. It has been a lot of hard work but we got the job done”.
“A lot of people thought we couldn’t do it but it has come up better than I ever expected”.
The primary goal for both Smith and the club is to look at the longevity of the track and the industry in the Temora area. With a modern approach, the club now looks primed for a prosperous future.
“We are back to 26 meetings a year so we are trying to make it more successful to bring more families to the track and open the greyhound industry up for people to see”.
“Hopefully we will get a better class of dogs and we can secure our spot in the local area and get some trainers willing to travel to the track”.
“The travelling trainers bring a lot of people in. Carnivals such as Coonamble are huge so for the long term future of the track that is something that I would like to see here for the Temora Cup Carnival”.
The new and improved Temora has been embraced by local trainers who have already used the track for trials and have inundated the Club with nominations for this Saturday’s meeting.
“In the nine days we have had it open we have put 200 dogs around in trials. Before that, on trial days we would only be getting around four or five dogs”.
“We had 177 nominations for this Saturday …no-one was expecting what was going to happen”.
Another big change for the track was the repositioning of the ‘300’ metre boxes. The former 311 metre scamper has now been transformed into a 330 metre dash for the cash; a move which Smith believes will increase safety for the dogs and reduce interference.
“The 311 used to jump on the bend so we moved it back to 330. The dogs now get a better look at the turn and they run straight”.
With all the improvements it is a very exciting time for the club. The first race will jump this Saturday at 12pm.Fittingly, the race meeting will belong to the volunteers who dedicated themselves to restoring the venue.
“It is very exciting. We have all been hanging out for the first meeting back”, Smith said.
“We want everyone to come and have a look at what we have built. The MP (Mr Michael McCormack), the Mayor (Cr. R.B Firman) and some of the other GBOTA directors are coming”.
“There will be free entry, we are just asking for a gold coin donation to put on a BBQ for the volunteers”.
If you are in the area over the weekend, why not show your support for the Temora Club by attending their first meeting on a sand surface. It is great to see such enthusiasm and passion from the smaller clubs who form the backbone of the industry. Without the dedication from people such as Gary Smith, his team at the track and their hard-working volunteers, it is safe to say their club and the industry in their local area would not have such a positive and booming future ahead.
Full race replays from the day can be viewed at http://www.greyhoundstemora.com/ after the meeting.