Racing stalwarts get recognition for effort and excellence

When Cowra's Sportperson of the Year Awards roll around again this evening, all eyes will be on the month-by-month nominees, and understandably so.

Their efforts have been outstanding and they represent the cream of the crop and have often gone above and beyond not only in their on-field excellence, but the training and preparation that allows them be high achievers on game day.

However, there is a different type of effort that needs to be acknowledged.

There are the organisers, the volunteers, the parents, the committee members. Sometimes, these are even the people who the sportperson of the year nominees play alongside on game day, solid contributors who mightn't get the plaudits of their other teammates, but the people you couldn't run a sporting club with out.

There is plenty of talk at the moment about the death of country sport - it is something that seem recur frequently with rugby and cricket, but if there is something that the Bob Barr Memorial seems purpose built to acknowledge, it's the ongoing efforts of those who continue to allow our talented individuals to have a go, get better and be the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be.

And those who make that talk of death seem positively absurd.

Craig and Narelle Hyeronimus are this year's Bob Barr Memorial Shield recipients, and it is clear when looking at the ongoing support and care they've shown for Cowra's horse racing community, they are the perfect people to hold this year's trophy.

It is clear that racing is in the family's blood.

Their son Adam continues to excel on the national stage, having ridden several winners in the past year, while Craig is fondly remembered in NSW and Queensland (where he raced for most of his career) as an outstanding and well-liked jockey in his own right.

Meanwhile, Narelle herself comes from the Paine family, of whom, Reg, a famous Cowra jockey and racing personality in his own right, will accept the award on the couple's behalf later this evening, as they are unable to attend tonight's celebrations.

But for all the talk of dynasties and outstanding achievements, it remains locally where their impact is most keenly felt.

Thanks Craig and Narelle's long term involvement with the Cowra Jockey Club - the former spending several years as president - both the Cowra Diggers' Cup and Cowra Cup have gone from strength to strength, remaining well supported and sponsored events that attract a strong calibre of regional trainer each year.

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That trainers such as the Parsons and Andrew Molloy continue to enjoy strong performances at local meets, while the fact that names like Adam's and the Cahill family continue be involved is testament to the long term stability the annual events now hold, with young and old flocking to attend the races each year, especially the Cowra Cup.

One of the on-track triumphs that happened during Craig's presidency was the winning run of Zarhron, who won four straight Cowra Japan Cup's before finally being dethroned this year. That it was trained by a local - Molloy - would've made it all the more sweeter.

Alongside all this behind the scenes effort, it's also worth noting that Narelle, a local travel agent, has continued to maintain a passion for long distance running, having completed the City2Surf several times and competed in several running events in the Central West.

That Craig and Narelle are being recognised for decades of service to a town that loves their racing - and sport more broadly - will hopefully ring loud and clear when they get a well overdue toast after Reg accepts the shield on their behalf this evening.