Home' Snap Shot Magazine : November 2009 Contents Insidestory
snapshot magazine : http://www.snapshot.realviewtechnologies.com : november 09 17
For some the Bong Bong Picnic Races is a
day out with friends, but for Rob Ritchie
it has become a way of life. Mr Ritchie
and his family have become entrenched in the
excitement and tradition of all the race day has to
o er over more than half a century.
It is a connection that began many years before the
new race format and guidelines were set in 1993.
In fact the Bong Bong Races have metamorphosed
three times since the race was rst staged in February
It was a regular annual event from 1887 until the
Depression of the mid-1930s with the race originally
run on a track at Throsby Park Estate.
But it was the second wave of the event in the late
1950s that saw the Ritchie family make its mark on
the popular race day at a new and current location on
Mr Ritchie said his early memories of the races
centred around helping his father Harold "Sony"
Ritchie who was a long-time race committee
member and president.
"My rst memory of Bong Bong was helping my
father install the fence on the main straight," he said.
He went on to become an integral part of the
event supplying and operating the public address
equipment and more recently taking on the role of
race club president.
Mr Ritchie attended his rst Bong Bong Picnic Races
in 1957 when he was 12 years old.
He said the Bowral Horse Show Society was
approached, in 1956, by the Bowral Festival of
Flowers, which later became Tulip Time Committee,
to hold a horse event in conjunction with the popular
"The decision was made to conduct a couple of races
in 1957 and 1958, but by 1959 the decision was made
in earnest to revive the picnic races," he said.
Mr Ritchie said the event became a huge attraction in
the Highlands drawing spectators from far and wide.
"The race was run on the same day as the Caul eld
Cup until it stopped for a second time in 1986,"
Race day a family thing for Rob
"There is a fair bit of
in the event and long-
term friendships are made
through the committee
and the event itself."
> Four generations of the Ritchie family enjoy a day at the races.
> Rob Ritchie at the Bong Bong track.
> Foremer Bong Bong Picnic Race Club
presidents, from left, Irving Goodfellow,
Sony Ritchie and Harry smith (all deceased).
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