Kulin Bush Races

Our History

Getting the kulin bush races Started

During the early 90’s it was becoming evident; farming was in decline, local businesses were struggling and there was an exodus of people from the bush. In 1994, the Shire of Kulin instigated a community meeting, aptly named “Getting Kulin Going”. Amongst other initiatives adopted by the Kulin community, a small group of enthusiastic locals established the idea to host a picnic bush horse race meeting with the aim to raise the profile of Kulin.

The Kulin Bush Races is an event inspired in 1995 by the community of Kulin to promote the town and region, encourage tourism and ensure that Kulin and surrounding districts remain viable.

Many years prior, the Kulin Tennis Club hosted picnic bush races nearby the existing site at Jilakin Rock.  However, the event had been in recess since about 1972. The focus for the inaugural Kulin Bush Races committee was to resurrect and develop a new horse racing concept for the future.

Planning commenced in earnest to host the inaugural Kulin Bush Races event in 1995.  The enthusiastic committee of eight started without funds or a racetrack and limited racing knowledge. However they worked tirelessly and gained support and enthusiasm from the community to manage the event.

Kulin Bush Races acknowledges and appreciates the invaluable guidance and support from Quindanning Picnic Race Club, Scott River Racing and Racing and Wagering WA for their guidance and support, and for their assistance to format a successful plan for the event.

The Lucchesi family made available some of their prime farming land to create the site for Kulin Bush Races, which is nestled between Jilakin Rock and Cave Rock and overlooks Jilakin Lake. The area is a natural amphitheatre, creating a protected area. The scenery is awesome, providing an ambience for all to appreciate. 

Community busy bees were well attended to build horse yards, toilet facilities and other infrastructure necessary to accommodate visitors. With the expertise and generosity of the Shire of Kulin, the now infamous ‘Jilakin Racetrack’ was established. The Shire provided a guarantee to underwrite the event in the circumstance the Bush Races event was a financial loss.

Following much planning and physical work, the inaugural Kulin Bush Races event in 1995 was very successful with 1,200 local people and visitors in attendance. The first foundation stone had been laid and it was appropriate to capture local enthusiasm and build momentum for future events.

Twas 94 and the chips were downIt was time to promote our townThings were tough, the bush under the pumpWe needed an idea, an event, to halt the slumpTo raise the profile, make people awareThat Kulin is the centre of everywhere

Twenty-five years later...

Kulin Bush Races celebrated 25 years in 2019, selling over 4,000 tickets. The Bush Races original ethos, which was to raise the profile of Kulin, has been achieved with the event and town now renowned throughout Australia.  

The vibrant Kulin community is moving towards a fourth generation of volunteers who against all odds have embraced the future of Kulin.  With passion and a committed volunteer workforce the community has developed a strong self-belief and united confidence to achieve goals.

KULIN’S HORSE RACING HISTORY

The Kulin Bush Races is a picnic race meeting sanctioned by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA). All riders are amateurs; professionals that are licensed in any capacity are not permitted to participate. Horses are either hacks, that have not been registered as a thoroughbred or thoroughbreds and have not raced or trialled for twelve (12) months. Read more

The initial rules set for the races by RWWA were somewhat draconian; to be eligible to race, every horse was required to compete in the gymkhana and races required to be novelty. Prize money was not allowable, but trophies and prizes were acceptable. The speed of the horse couldn’t be the sole criteria for winning. This ruling made it extremely difficult to structure an event that was attractive to competitors.

Following a few successful events and as the races gained credibility, RWWA provided special dispensation with the rules, which created an event that appealed to competitors and encouraged good nominations for Kulin Bush Races. The benefits to the racing public became evident as patrons were able to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of picnic racing.

During 1996/97, the Cunderdin community met with Kulin Bush Races to investigate the possibility of structuring a similar event. The Bush Races committee identified the benefits this could bring, to encourage more people with horses to participate. Ora Banda (Kalgoorlie), Cunderdin (Bulgin) and Kulin became a mini race round which encouraged people to get horses fit for the three meetings. This was beneficial to all but unfortunately, after a few years Cunderdin and Ora Banda ceased.

Amateur riders have very few chances to race their horses and have embraced, supported and increased the interest in picnic racing. The intensity, competitiveness and quality of horses enhance the participation and excitement which transcends through the crowd to create a great carnival atmosphere.

Since commencement in 1995, the intention was to host a six horse race programme, with the racing event to be the focus and build a family weekend to appeal to all age groups. It has been necessary in some years to increase to an eight horse race event to accommodate all nominations. Sincere appreciation is expressed to all gymkhana and race competitors, many who travel long distances to compete. Their commitment and dedication has assisted in the presentation of a successful race event.