The Shoalhaven City Turf Club's Melbourne Cup meeting on November 5 will be the last for outgoing CEO Lynn Locke.
After 18 years at the helm of the Archer Raceway, she is handing over the reins to Paul Weekes.
Weekes comes to the club with a host of experience, including working at Racing NSW as Chief Executive of Country Racing and at the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast.
Mrs Locke, who has seen the club both grow and undergo massive improvements to the Nowra facilities, said it was "time for a change".
On January 6 this year, her husband Mick, also a dedicated servant to the local turf club, passed away, aged 76 and Mrs Locke decided it was time to end her reign .
She's moving to Western Australia and will live with her daughter Patricia and her grandchildren.
Having been involved in so many things in the Shoalhaven, not just the race club, netball, physical culture and, of course, the resurrection of the Shoalhaven River Festival, she said it has been a hard decision to leave.
"Yes it will be hard, we've been here since 1978 and built up a great network of friends," she said.
"But it's time. I know I'm making the right decision. When I left home for the final TAB meeting, the annual Mollymook Cup meeting, I was a bit emotional.
It's been a great ride but its time to hand over the reins.Outgoing Shoalhaven City Turf Club CEO Lynn Locke
"I'm going to miss a lot of people. I've made a lot of friends and I've got a lot of good contacts in the town. I will miss all those people because most of them, like you, have become really good acquaintances and friends.
"So I will definitely miss that association with everyone. But I'll be coming back and forth. We've got some really big race meetings coming up that I want to see.
"I feel I'm leaving the place in good hands.
"The place is going really well. We've raised a lot of money through grant funding, which I'm really proud I was able to help with.
"We're going to host the Country Championship next year, February 16, that's the first time we have held that and I was able to work with chairman Mick Martin to secure that big meeting.
"I want to come back for that and see it come to fruition, but I want to be a guest."
"She'll get a gold pass," Weekes joked "but we won't be letting her in the office!"
"Look it is going to be really, really hard to let go," Mrs Locke said.
"I'm a control freak, I'm not going to deny that. It was the same with the River Festival.
"But I feel the club's in really, really good hands. I feel it's really booming at the moment.
"I've been really fortunate to work with some really really good chairmen, Gordon Kennedy before Michael Martin and my husband Mick who did a huge amount of work here.
"I'm going to miss all that."
At one stage it seemed almost every time we were scheduled to race it would rain. I'd go into town and people would say 'you're racing this weekend, is it going to rain?' I still get that. I'm actually surprised more locals haven't been ringing me lately trying to get more race meetings to break the big dry.Outgoing Shoalhaven City Turf Club CEO Lynn Locke
One thing she definitely won't miss is having to keep an eye on the weather.
At one stage it seemed almost every time the club was scheduled to race it would rain.
"People would ring up and say 'you must be racing this weekend, it's raining'," she laughed.
"I'd go into town and people would say 'you're racing this weekend, is it going to rain?' And I still get that."
She said she was actually surprised more locals hadn't been ringing her trying to put on race meetings of late during the area's big dry.
"I'm going to miss the people," she said. "There's been a lot of the members have been really amazing. And the stewards, I'm even going to miss the stewards, and that's a big call.
"Just the people generally that have been involved in racing - the trainers, our local trainers have always been pretty good and our visiting trainers have been great. Sponsors, many sponsors who are so important.
"A lot of the jockeys I've worked with for a number of years, the likes of Jeff Penza and Grant Buckley have come and said goodbye."
"We've made a lot of changes and improvements. We got about $800,000 in grant funding over that time," she said.
"I'm really proud of the dining room. I think we started talking about that about 10 years ago, maybe 12 years ago, and it just never seemed to be going to happen.
"But thanks to local MPs Gareth Ward, Shelley Hancock and Paul Green it came to fruition. We also got federal funding through Ann Sudmalis and Jo Gash.
"We've had a lot of support from the council over the years. I just hope that continues for Paul, and I'm sure it will.
"There's been three or four highlights - the dining rooming definitely - to get $500,000 from the government was huge.
"A funny one is the building of the deck off the canteen area, built by Michael, known as LFD, Lynn's Fun Deck.
"That had to be built in about six weeks and Michael [her husband], Michael Martin and a group of work for the dole people got it done.
"That was an idea I got from Western Australia after I went with my daughter to one.
"I came home and said to the girls we're going to have a chilli festival and they said can't we have something else with it, and they came up with chocolate.
"That's been really successful for the town. It's not just a racing event. I think that is one of the hardest thing to convince people that we are not just a race club.
"We are a multi-purpose venue and we will look to continue that.
But she won't be lost to the race game.
"I just love racing," she said. "I don't think I'll lose that. As my grandson says every time he sees it on the tele he says TAB that's Nanny's game, so I must love it."
New boss admits he has "big shoes to fill"
New CEO Paul Weekes admits he has "big shoes to fill".
"I first started dealing with Lynn when I was with Racing NSW about eight years ago," he said.
"I was initially in the country area in a financial administrative capacity and then took on the role of Chief Executive of Country Racing, when my predecessor retired."
He spent just over six years Racing NSW.
"Like Lynn, I'm a bit of a racing tragic," he said.
I'm a bit of a racing tragic. I've got a passion for racing, the horses, for the people involved.New Shoalhaven City Turf Club CEO Paul Weekes
"I'd also spent 10 years at the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast, the horse sales people.
"I've always been a keen racegoer and keen punter at university etc.
"So, the majority of my working life I've been involved with the thoroughbred industry - I've got a passion for racing, the horses, for the people involved."
This new role has seen him move to the area, having lived in Sydney for eight years.
"The family is relocating down this way and we're looking to embrace a different lifestyle," he said.
"What took me about this club is obviously, take a look - it's a beautiful setting. It's in great condition.
The club has a beautiful setting. It's in great condition. The grounds are magnificent - pristine. The dining area is as good as you'll find at a country club.New Shoalhaven City Turf Club CEO Paul Weekes
"Some of the buildings are a little bit old on the outside but the area upstairs (new dining room) is as good as you'll find at a country club, in terms of practicality, a place to entertain your sponsors and VIPs or anyone who just wants to come along for a race day.
"The grounds are magnificent - pristine - the role is well established and the systems are in place.
"Say what you like about Lynn but fastidious is a word that comes to mind.
"There's a lot of pre-existing sponsors and going forward we have the privilege of hosting the Country Championships next year.
"It's a coup for the club, but also the local community to be entrusted with a race of that magnitude."
The whole day's racing prizemoney is $370,000 with $150,000 feature race, it will be the biggest prizemoney ever up for grabs at the Archer.
"That will be a totally new event for the club and for the region and the community," he said.
"Hopefully, we can do a good job promoting it, have a good day's racing and a lot of community involvement as part of that."
As for the future, he admits it's a hard act to follow.
"Lynn's been here so long and the relationships she's built up will be hard to match," he said.
"First objective I've got is to continue the good work.
"Then obviously, with the championships and other days, particularly the championships being a new meeting, and a new concept to the area is to make sure that that succeeds and then we get another go at it.
"We've got a chance now to grab it and run with it
A day at the races is not just about the horse racing and having a bet. In fact, you'll find for a lot of people who come to the races, that'll be the last thing. It's a social day, a day to get dressed up.New Shoalhaven City Turf Club CEO Paul Weekes
"We want to get the community into it and get crowds here.
"A lot of people don't realise a day at the races is not just about the horse racing and having a bet.
"In fact, you'll find for a lot of people who come to the races, that'll be the last thing.
"It's a social day, a day to get dressed up. We have fashions on the field, we have kids entertainment, all sorts of things.
"It's not just about coming here and watching horses run around the track and having a bet.
"I don't think that's the mindset out there. But people that come to the races that's not their mindset.
"That's the ongoing challenge and Lynn's faced it for 18 years - it's to get people to come out here once and experience a good day, because if you can do that they'll come back.
"Areas we can grow the business In terms of non race day events and continue that theme of community involvement beyond just putting on a race day."
Report a concern
Mr Weekes said like most people involved in the race industry he was shocked over the recent ABC report into the treatment and deaths of retired racehorses.
"My reaction was like the majority of the racing industry, I was appalled," he said.
"I saw that report on the ABC and was appalled by some of the footage.
"Rest assured, particularly in NSW, there are an enormous amount of things being done, things that are in place to stop that sort of thing.
"Personally, I was not impressed with what I saw. Appalled by it. But at the end of the day, the regulatory body is taking steps and has taken steps to make sure that that doesn't happen.
"There won't be a situation I'm sure where heads are buried in the sand. We've taken it to a certain level on animal welfare and it will continue, it's front and center for the industry.
"And most people do the right thing. That's what I think wasn't conveyed in the report.
"Come here and see how the trainers and strappers look after their horses. They are treated like absolute gods, royalty and rightfully so."