It's not always about the race
STUNNING dresses, sweltering heat, massive crowds, open wallets and pounding hooves — it could only mean one thing.
Bundaberg’s Melbourne Cup Race Day was touted as the biggest in years by club vice president Robert Modrow, eclipsing the approximate 2000 in attendance last year by more than 500 people.
The club obviously did not expect such a turn-out — bottled water sold out by 2pm — but more was quickly on its way.
One man who arguably had more fun than anyone yesterday was Bruce Findlay.
The lucky punter had a Melbourne Cup to remember, backing all five winners in the local races, putting $10 each way on Cup winner Shocking, while also picking up a handy $900 on race one in Flemington.
"It’s safe to say I’ve enjoyed myself today, and probably will even more so tonight," a grinning Mr Findlay said.
While the action stopped at 2pm and all eyes were fixed on the nearest big screen, it was a constant frenzy in the betting area and public and private tents.
Soon after, heads turned for a competition of a different kind.
Fashions on the field lived up to its hype, with Krista Hepi-Tehuia and Tyson Hepi showing that co-ordination was everything by taking out the main prize.
Rebecca O’Dwyer was stunning in blue, and Stacey Murdoch was pretty in purple — both were also worthy winners.
Those who built a thirst in the afternoon sun were made to wait, however.
There were staff cuts this year in an effort to ease the club’s financial woes, and it was evident as the bar lines lengthened.
"It’s a bit ridiculous. The lines were fairly frustrating, but I guess that just comes with the day," race-goer Nathan Williams said.
Mr Modrow acknowledged the viewing and drinking areas needed improvement, but said that the increase in crowds would culminate in better facilities.
"If we continue to get this amount of public support, we will be able start these projects to improve the experience for everyone," he said.