Awards honour Clarence Valley’s best and brightest
THE diversity and commitment found in our sporting circles was celebrated at the Clarence Valley Sport Awards held at the Maclean RSL on Friday night.
The event, which was the second gathering to be held under this new annual regime, honoured an array of our sporting champions and achievers from 2015, ranging from premiership-winning coaches to stalwarts who have devoted decades of their lives to their sporting groups.
This year’s Sportsperson of the Year went to Southgate campdrafting champ Peter Connor, who couldn’t make it to the ceremony as he was in Sydney representing the sport at an equine lifestyle event.
Connor won the most prestigious campdrafting event in the country in July, beating 728 other competitors to win the $75,000 Mort & Co Rockhampton Open Draft on his trusty 19-year-old steed Grouse. “I’m pretty chuffed and very proud to win something like this. I was very disappointed I couldn’t be there,” Peter said.
Other highlights of the evening were the induction of two Clarence legends, rowing veteran and coaching inspiration 88-year-old Harold Kratz and Olympic gold medallist and former captain of the Kookaburras, Brent Livermore.
Although the sporting platforms in which these men operate are vastly different, Harold at the Maclean Rowing Club and Brent the Institute of Sport in Sydney, they both shared similiar qualities in the dedication and commitment it takes to excel in their fields and inspire others to strive to be better.
Harold said he was amazed by the honour after being told to come along and enjoy the night.
“If you don’t have good people around you, you couldn’t do it. The Clarence has a lot of top athletes in every sport because there is great support out there.”
Brent, who was invited to the awards to give a presentation, was also surprised by the special honour.
“This was the first I knew about the Wall of Fame, so it’s a real privilege to be inducted tonight and hope it helps athletes to draw inspiration to go on to bigger and better things. I would love to still have an impact in the Clarence Valley when I’m the same age as Harold.”
Other inspiration came from the two other Clarence-bred guests, Morgan Pilley, who now lives in Italy and competes in endurance cycling, and champion jockey Tegan Harrison, who basically jumped off her horse in the last at Ballina and headed straight for the ceremony.