By DAVID BRASCH
RON Herd reckons his long-time mate Brad Northfield has a lot to answer for.
Back in 2011 Brad approached Ron to think about taking on the job as secretary-manager at Casino Club.
Bruce Knight was calling it quits after eight years.
Brad\’s detailed analysis of the role was: \”All you\’ll have to do is drink beer on a Friday afternoon at the races, and do the banking\”.
Ron soon found out it wasn\’t that easy, so much so that he admits after the first month in the job he was about to resign.
\”I reckon I was ready to quit for at least the first two or three months,\” he said.
But Ron stuck it out … for a decade, and the Casino Club is glad he did.
\”Bruce left the place in a nice financial position,\” Ron said. \”But the complex was worn out, broken down in fact and the Band-Aid fixes of most things at the track were ready for repair or replacement.
\”I didn\’t know where to start.\”
But start he did.
\”The biggest change to Casino greyhound racing was the obvious switch from grass to loam during 2015-16,\” Ron said. \”We were the last TAB track racing on a grass surface.
\”We closed in the October and re-opened the following February. It cost the club $1 million, which we funded ourselves.\”
But Ron had some urgent and immediate things that needed attention when he started in 2011.
The 10 flat-screen TVs were replaced, air-conditioning was put in, the place was painted, the canteen and bar area were upgraded, all the kennels were replaced and 300m starting boxes were introduced.
\”By the time the track was completed, we had $65,000 still in the bank,\” Ron said. \”But we\’d built this back up to $740,000 mainly through monies coming from race fields and Sky coverage payments.
\”But a couple of years ago we realised there was a lighting problem. They needed replacing.
\”The hot weather policy, the ever-present thought we would take over from Lismore if it goes under water and the lighting\’s general woes forced us to make the decision to replace them.
\”We paid for half the cost.\”
So, by October 2021, Ron and his wife Julie had just about come to the decision they needed retirement.
Ron had reached 65, they\’d bought a van and even despite Covid\’s ever-present problems had planned holidays.
\”I\’m on long-service leave to the end of January,\” Ron said. \”I\’m so glad Donna (Pezet) has taken over and settled into the job already.
\”Julie and I would love to trip around Australia, especially down the west coast, but we will see what the future holds.\”
Ron spent 35 years running his own butcher shop but had spent a lifetime breeding, owning and training greyhounds before he fell for Brad Northfield\’s \”wrap\” on the job as secretary-manager at Casino.
But, he is glad he stuck at it.
\”There are 10 members on the committee at Casino and I can say we never had an argument in the decade I\’ve been with the club,\” he said. \”They let me do what I wanted to do, within reason of course.\”
The Casino complex is run by the local council which manages the Crown land.
\”Dealing with Council was terrific as well,\” Ron said. \”The Council stood by us when all the trouble was happening in 2016.
\”Yes, I will miss the job and the involvement with greyhounds and the people who love them so much.
\”It\’s been part of my life since 1984.\”