Day At The Track

Stawell stalwarts bringing up the milestones

12:00 PM 29 Jan 2021 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Lisa McIlvride (front) and manager Kim Mornane
Stawell CEO Lisa McIlvride (front) and manager Kim Mornane celebrate their career milestone

As a harness racing "newbie" starting out in the 1990s, Stawell Harness Racing CEO Lisa McIlvride certainly didn't ever envisage herself at the helm of the country Victorian club.

And even much less that she would be celebrating her 25th work anniversary alongside a colleague who started with her that same year, Manager Kim Mornane.

But this week the two marked the career milestone, in cohort with the 25th anniversary of the club's Trackside Bistro and Gaming facility, the opening of which lured them on-board with the club.

But, not surprisingly, the popular administrator says it's "the people along the way" who have been the highlight.

"Kim and I went to Melbourne and trained together because back in those days, that's where you had to go to do your gaming machine training. Kim was a casual and I was one of two full-time staff who started when Trackside opened," Lisa said.

"I really didn't know what I was walking into - at the time I'd been married a year, and the job got my interest. Now I've got two adult children and for a lot of that time I've been able to work full time helping to run a harness racing club. I am proud of that, but it also says a lot about the flexibility of the role and the people around us."

Although Lisa began working on the gaming side of the Stawell HRC operation, she made the transition to the sports administration in 2000, when the club lost its long-serving manager Kaye Matthews.

"I guess that is one of the things I have really valued about doing this job, the really beautiful people you meet and work with every day. People like Stan Anyon, who helped establish the club in 1956 and was on the committee for so long, and Reg Cooper and Geoff Sanderson. Colleagues like Les Chapman and Elizabeth Clark and Paul Rowse have all helped me learn in the industry," she said.

"The foundations those people put in place and the support they have given me have helped us build the club into the success it is now. We now have a 45-machine facility, and a 200-seat bistro and have gone from just a handful of staff, to between 32 and 40 on the team, a lot of whom are also coming up to mark 20-year milestones with us," she said.

The Stawell Harness Racing Club runs nine race meetings a year, but Lisa said the bistro and gaming business provided it with support and resources that other clubs don't have.

"Harness racing certainly takes up a lot of my time - you're advocating for the club, working on programming, structuring your feature races and building on each race meeting. There's all the advertising and marketing that goes with that, applying for grants and so on," she said.

"And of course, you're pretty much working on your cup day all year. Running a club means you are always working on harness racing and in a lot of the clubs with part-time administrators, they end up doing a lot of work out of hours or it falls back on volunteers.

"Having a full-time person means that you can dedicate that time and it also means you have resources for trophies, for additional prize money and try things like our Maori Legend feature race."

Lisa's respect in the industry earned her the sport's highest honor for women in Victoria, the Pearl Kelly Award, in 2014.

"That was the same year that (Great Western horsewoman) Kerryn Manning won the Gordon Rothacker Medal," she said.

"Along the way Kerryn and I seem to have shared some milestones, so it was lovely that it was here when she got her 4000th winner and the next day Lisa and I celebrated 25 years at the club.

Kerryn Manning celebrated her own milestone at the Stawell HRC meeting – her 4000th win as a driver

"That's what it's all about - the people. I've loved horses since I was a little girl and I can't ride now because of an injury, but I still enjoy very much being around them.

"It's a buzz to see the excitement on racedays from people who just absolutely love their sport and their horses. People like Katrina Fitzpatrick are just hilarious when they get so excited - it's just beautiful and you can't really get that in any other job. That's what it's all about!"

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: