Dongara Cup proves a big success as racegoers turn up in droves for 100-year celebration

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Linda Willock & Brooke Morton
Camera IconLinda Willock & Brooke Morton Credit: Colin Sherman/Western Racepix

As the Dongara Cup returned to its traditional home so did the crowds as the Dongara Irwin Race Club was at capacity on Easter Saturday in what was the 100-year anniversary of the current club.

On the track, Shabalala was the latest Perth raider to claim a Mid West meet following up from its 2022 Mingenew Cup success.

However, away from the racing there was plenty of fun and games as the nearly 3000-strong crowd celebrated Easter and the return of racing at the club.

Fashions of the Field saw plenty of trendy outfits while crowds were entertained by music and patrons had a chance for their own cup glory with the new wheelie bin race proving a major hit.

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But the day also served as an important fundraiser for local community groups as the Dongara Eagles, Dongara District Highschool and the local Lions Club all raising funds on the day.

Race club Treasurer Keira Skeet said that they wanted to fundraise and assist as many groups as possible.

“Dongara Eagles are a well-loved combined sporting group of netball, football and hockey that provide opportunities to people of all ages,” said Keira.

“The Lions Club are great supporters of our community, and we are beyond thankful for their help on race day managing the parking and entry fees.”

“Our district high school ran raffles on race day to fundraise for the year six camp, where students will develop their independence and interpersonal skills. This camp is very important as it provides life experiences for our students who are in some ways disadvantaged due to our rural location.”

Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) matched the fundraising efforts through its Race Club Matching Program, bringing the total contribution to more than $10,000 among the three groups.

With 49 of WA’s 50 race clubs based in regional communities, RWWA chair Karen Farley SC said the positive effects of the matching program have been extensive for regional not-for-profits.

“Race clubs around WA play an important role in their communities — both economically and socially — with partnerships like this a prime example of the strong connection race clubs have within their communities.

“Dongara Irwin Race Club chose very worthy causes for their fundraiser and we are pleased to match their efforts.”

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