Award special after ‘baptism of fire’
By Chase Editor PAT McLEOD
The tide has turned, but Casey Dargusch recalls a time when being young and female weren’t the most popular calling cards in greyhound racing.
For her it was a lifetime ago, the now 37-year-old was just 19 and was caught in the middle of the perfect storm.
She had only been involved in greyhound racing for 12 months and had gone along to her local Bundaberg club’s AGM.
“A committee member was retiring and she urged me to come along and stand for a committee spot because she said the sport needed new blood,” Casey recalls.
“I was happy to come along and put my hand up for the committee, but I also knew how little I knew.”
But a ‘Domino Effect’ kicked in. Nobody put their hand up for vice-president. So Casey did and got the job. Within a short period the president had to step aside after being injured in a track incident … and Casey found herself as acting president.
To make matters worse, the Bundaberg club was on its knees and threatened with closure.
“That was a steep learning curve. I was a deer in the headlights,” Casey says.
“I was listening to both sides of arguments, trying to decipher the truth and which way to go. But there were important decisions to be made.
“For a 19-year-old it was pretty hectic. There was a lot of stress, but I also enjoyed it.
“Some people had trouble accepting me because I was young and female … that was until they realised I wasn’t going to be a pushover.”
Casey held the president’s role for three and a half years until she and husband, Allan, made the move to their now successful Golden View greyhound complex at Churchable.
“I was proud that when I left the club it was in a much better position with $10,000 in the bank,” she says. “Some of the original detractors were hoping that I would come back.
“What really helped was the support of my Dad (Noel Clark) and Al. They kept reassuring me and telling me that I was doing a great job.”
That experience and the years since have moulded Casey into an influential person within the state’s greyhound ranks and a popular recipient of the recent Queensland Greyhound of the Year – Woman in Racing Award.
She applauds the work of all women in the industry, who she knows from her own experience are involved in a delicate balancing act.
“We have two boys (aged 11 and 13). So running a business with a young family is a balance,” she says.
“There are so many great women in this industry and many who are involved in those numerous behind the scenes activities.”
And of the award?
“This award is very special,” she says.
“I have never received an award during my time in greyhound racing. I love this industry. So, yes, it is pretty special.”
Caption: Casey Dargusch with her Woman in Racing Award (Photo: Box 1 Photography)