Camel Cup called off

 

By ERWIN CHLANDA

PHOTOS from our archive.

 

The 2020 Alice Springs Camel Cup has been called off because the organisers “do not have the confidence that it can be put on to a standard that attendees have come to expect from the event”.

 

Apex Club of Central Australia spokesman Kyle Pearson says he is making the announcement “with regret” and the club expects to set a date for next year in the coming weeks.

 

The Cup, first run in 1970 in the dry bed of the Todd River, is one of The Centre’s iconic events, for decades inspired and run by Noel Fullerton.

 

As a Lions service project it migrated to the Arunga Park speedway arena and from there to Blatherskite Park.

 

Its utterly chaotic and spectacular “kneeling” starts were the highlight of television coverage the world over: As the starter’s gun went off the beasts would leap to their feet, in a cloud of dust, the handlers yelling, some mounts heading in the wrong direction, riders falling off. Complete pandemonium.

 

But as is their want, the ships of the desert would reliably complete their lap, with their riders doing little more than hanging on, and return to their familiar yard, unfazed.

 

Usually there were six or seven races.

 

The standing start used in recent years was far less exciting, and the Pioneer Park racecourse for horses a more prosaic venue.

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Local1
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Arunta man, thanks for your apology.
    Kyle Pearson, the spokesman mentioned runs the Alice Springs Brewery on Palm Circuit, and I believe he may be manager of Monties now.
    Another great contact is Ben Crawford, one of the longest serving members I know of and a person who helped keep the club together during the good and hard times.
    Ben is the manager of Chubb in Elder street.
    Funny story is that APEX used to be a men’s only club, and one you hit 40 you were out the door, most often joining another service club on town such as Lions or Rotary.
    Now the club is open to men and women, and age is not really a barrier, but it tends to be most popular with people between 25 and 40.
    Arunta Man, I can thoroughly recommend that if you want to join a group that teaches meeting procedures, enjoys good company, and helps the community, you touch base with these people and consider joining APEX! Cheers!

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  2. Arunta Man
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Apologies Apex. I’ve lived in Alice all my life and to be honest as my memory serves me, have never seen nor heard any advertisements of the race until it is upon us.
    Correct me if I’am wrong, the only advertising on TV months before the race is the Boulia Camel Races.
    So they have a handle on who is who and can organise all races on the day. History.
    Going back to the first ever race, 1969/1970, it was a bet between two men who worked for the Lands Department, Keith Mooney Smith, Town Planner and a member of Rotary and Apex.
    The other, an Afghan, Stuart Corby, a Chain man who had a few camels on his homeland, Maryvale.
    It started over a few beers to have a race and Stuart would supply the Camels.
    The race was run on the Todd where the Henley on Todd is held, and to my knowledge and memory they both won for they are legends, icons of what the Alice people are enjoying today.
    The other point is where and how do people who want to help as volunteers can get in touch?

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  3. Mick Gallagher
    Posted February 28, 2020 at 8:34 am

    As a former member of the Apex Club of Central Australia I have fond memories of the Camel Cup and being part of the operation of the day.
    My best mate, Mister Shaun, was one of the major drivers when we took it over from the Lions Club.
    I’m not privy to the reasoning, but Id like to hope that the decision wasn’t taken lightly.
    Understanding the work that goes into the event, it needs a lot of people to operate it, and people who are good at organising events. It takes a good 12 months to organise from scratch.
    If you have the skills, join the Apex club and contribute to it. Alice Springs needs Apex just as much as Apex needs Alice Springs.
    Make Alice Springs Great Again 🙂

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  4. John Bell
    Posted February 27, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    I will never forget the magnificent generosity of Paul “Fizzer” Fitzsimons, Mr Shaun and the APEX crew who helped make the Indigenous Marathon Project first ever event a success on 21 Feb 2010.
    The Santa Teresa Fun Run. Fizzer donated $3,000 on behalf of CDU, we brought the meat and tucker, drinks and trophies and Mr Shaun and the crew came out to Santa Teresa to cook the Barbie for 200 participants.
    Mr Shaun was a former student of Fizzer at Alice High. A wonderful friendship. Mr Shaun, a complete gentleman. Rest in peace.

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  5. Local1
    Posted February 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Arunta Man: You may have the wrong event. There is no “new arrival” from interstate. The Camel Cup is an iconic event that has been run by the APEX club for many years.
    The APEX club is made up entirely of volunteers and the club that runs this event has been active since 1972 from memory, and the only one of three remaining APEX Clubs in Central Australia.
    As a past president of this club I can vouch for the tireless work this club has done over the years and the positive contribution it makes to our community.
    If the club has had to postpone this event, there is a very good reason, and I will support the decision of their executive and members, as it is not a decision taken lightly.
    APEX is a wonderful organisation for a person to be involved in, as it develops important life skills, and prides itself on altruistic service and giving back to the community.
    Why do you not enquire about joining, they could always use more volunteers.

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  6. Martin Hall
    Posted February 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Prosaic: Good word choice.

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  7. Arunta Man
    Posted February 27, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Why don’t you people leave things as it were in the past?
    All about money. It use to be a family outing to enjoy.
    Take the Henley on Todd shift it to the race course no one turns up.
    You get some new arrival from interstate and changes things and pulls out when turns into a big flop.
    Go back to where you come from. Leave it to the locals.

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