Yesterday Barry told us a story about the one that got away – a horse that is. Today’s story also includes a horse. But this time the ending is very different indeed.
It was the summer of 1976/7 when our local shopping centre was conducting yet another competition for prizes including cash in hand, handyman drill kits or a dinner for two at one of Perth’s elite eateries. But on this occasion the first prize was a real hum-dinger and just about everybody was hoping to win it.
The rules of the competition were easy because to qualify all we had to do was to shop and spend a minimum of twenty dollars at any one of the ‘Forum shops and convert our shopper-dockets to competition game cards at one of the selected kiosks around the ‘Forum. After writing our name, address & telephone number on the game cards we placed them into a monstrous barrel located at the very heart of the shopping complex. The only other requirement to be in the running for the big prize was that you most definitely had to be in attendance on the day the game cards were drawn. That is: if your game card was drawn out of the barrel and you were not in attendance it was discounted from the potential winners circle. The draw took place post Christmas 1976.
We had entered previous shopping centre competitions with some success. On one occasion we won a camera. Another time it was a handyman tool kit. Another prize was a dinner for two at a very select riverside restaurant. But this time the 1st prize was something completely different. You would hear of neighbours winning similar prizes. But you’d hold your breath thinking it could happen to you. Well, to be honest, it almost didn’t.
It was a Thursday night and yours truly was working an afternoon shift from 3 to 11pm. My lovely wife decided not to attend the official draw of the competition choosing instead to browse through the many brochures of overseas destinations. You see, we had been planning a little holiday and she thought it a good time to do a little reading whilst I was at work (I liked the idea of visiting New Zealand: Mrs E wanted to go the Malaysia). However, our son convinced his mum that she should most definitely be there for the draw. Thus it was that mother and son joined hundreds of other would-be winners in the Belmont Forum.
According to Mrs E the draw was at 7pm and that it took around twenty or so game cards drawn to complete the ten winners to be matched with the ten horses running in the Perth Cup at Ascot on the 1st January 1977. Mrs E was drawn and matched to a horse named Alpine Wind. To say that she was very, very happy would be an understatement.
All that she needed to do now, to be one of the ten people drawn to be in with a chance to win that magnificent 1st prize, was to attend the Perth Cup Day and hope that her nominated horse would win the race.
So there we were on ‘Race day in fêted company and being treated like lords and ladies in the members’ lounge: caviar, champagne, you name it and all served at our reserved window seat view of the race track. Now there was posh.
The feature race of the day – The Perth Cup – was run and won by Alpine Wind and we still have the photographs of us, the owners and the jockey taken in the ‘Winner’s Circle’. Boy, were we absolutely over the moon with the days result and of landing that great 1st prize.
What? Oh the prize. Sorry, I got carried away reliving the excitement of it all. Yes of course, the prize. Well folks our prize was an all expenses paid holiday for two of six days, seven nights in Kuala Lumpur, Penang & Singapore courtesy Malaysia Airlines and the Belmont Forum Merchants’ Association (Inc).
As for those holiday brochures mentioned earlier. Well, we put them to one side for another time. Mrs E got her Malaysia holiday wish. Maybe next time it would be New Zealand.
See you later…
September 16, 2004