By Renn Barker
One of Victoria’s most respected senior stewards, Di Pyers, is retiring at the end of November after 34 years in the sport. She joined the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club as a part time office assistant in 1984 and went on to become Club Treasurer and then Manager at Ballarat, one of Victoria’s first female club managers before becoming a steward in 2002. Di has seen many changes over the years in greyhound racing and thinks that IT technology in particular has had a big impact on the sport.
“When I first started, there was a lot of handwriting and faxing and handling cash to pay out winnings. Now with things like FastTrack, microchipping and laptops, it’s a lot easier and faster to manage racing operations. On the other hand, instant video replay of races means more people are watching and ready with their opinions about your decisions,” Di said.
“Another big change has been how the role of stewards has become more professional now with comprehensive training and proper career paths, which I think is very important as it’s a job with many responsibilities and where you often have to make quick decisions that you will be held accountable for.”
Di’s advice to anyone looking to become a steward is that you have to be committed. “There’s a lot of travel and late nights and you need to be on your toes all the time. Your job is to protect the integrity of a sport that is followed by many people around the country and which provides jobs for thousands of Victorians.”
“The best part of the job has been the people and the dogs. You work with people from all walks of life and make some great friends. Greyhound racing is a real community and it’s been wonderful to have been part of it for so long.”
Di has no particular retirement plans yet but is looking forward to some travel, spending more time with her US-based grandkids and of course enjoying a day at the races now and then.
WATCH: Di Pyers features in an instalment of GRV’s Greyhound Are My Life series.