Not Just Another Couple of Years - February 1997 to February 1999

A handful of charter members quickly developed a theme for a club with its foundation solidly built on family values as a priority to winning medals.  For many years an exhausted marathon team looked forward to a tray of rum and coke well before the dream of a medal was in the offering. A reputation if not infamy  for fun, frivolity, and a capacity to get excited about not coming last was central to an esprit du core that became the envy of many a sports club. During the 1997 - 1999 period the club matured, its numbers swelled significantly, medals were not unusual, sponsorship was unprecedented and our profile grew enormously yet we never lost sight of our club foundation in family values.  We pursued our Charter while we retained this innocence.

I was privileged to Chair one of the strongest (if not most volatile) committees one could imagine possible from a club of just over 100 enthusiastic paddlers based in the perfect outrigging waters of Hervey Bay. During this period we witnessed the maturing of our clubs Administration aimed at sharing much of the burden of running the club over a far greater number of portfolios. The committee was large and this ultimately let to a lot of change, which brought with it the emergence of a plethora of medals that has now come to be part of such a successful club.

The executive was close - indeed, so close that the Club Captain and Secretary are still living together (did I mention volatile).

Over these years our success was converted to a level of unprecedented sponsorship guarded by a committee if not equally volatile treasury grounded in our then emerging Senior Master Women team. Ian Wilson, Melinda Garland and Joy Slaven joined me in an exciting committee that developed the way we currently administer our club. Mal Miller and later Robert Andrews set unprecedented equipment standards and our fleet of boats near doubled during this time. We also enjoyed the growth of our squad of juniors led firstly by Wendy Smith then later Dave Polglase.  We even ran a sports accreditation course at TAFE thanks to the expertise and efforts of Bob Clarke.

One of the objectives of the Club is to promote our sport amongst the greater community. This was taken to heart during this period and we went from the odd clip in the free weekly paper to a prominence in the Seven Network News and Chronicle editorials that made Outrigging synonymous with Hervey Bay throughout our region -  and the envy of every other club in our city if not every Outrigging club across the Nation.  Our members swelled, as did our success - culminating in Junior National Titles Champions in later years and a respect for our success across our wider community.

Yet the intrinsic values of our Club stayed intact - Hamilton was like a homing ground for our frivolity (1998 thanks to a winning ticket from Wendy Smith saw nothing less than the penthouse for us), the Bay Business Challenge was at its peak, our Regattas were second to none and still our family theme survived.

When God built the world he constructed a large protected shallow Bay to harbour Outrigging. The Fraser Coast Outrigging Canoe Club Inc. guards these waters well.  What a decade!  We have seen our sport and club mature so much in this time. Our committee's contribution during its years was a pivotal to our current success. Not just another couple of years.

Stephen Dixon