By Meg Kennedy
‘Living Legend’ is a term not often used lightly.
For Bacchus Marsh resident Bob Closter, the status is fitting for his contribution to Bacchus Marsh Pony Club for more than 40-years.
Mr Closter was presented with Pony Club Australia’s ‘Living Legend’ special commemoration award on Sunday 7 July, awarded to those aged 80 and over who have made a significant contribution to pony clubs around the country.
Nominated by BMPC, Life Member Mr Closter was recognised for his contribution not only as a parent and grandparent of the club, as president between 1981-1987, but for his continued devotion to the club in the many years since.
He has helmed various roles throughout the decades; including as an instructor, coach, committee member and groundskeeper.
The award was a surprise for Mr Closter, who had been informed by his family that he was “going to inspect a pony for a couple of my great-grandchildren” on the day of the presentation, joking that he hadn’t realised photos had gone missing around his home in the lead-up to the day.
“It wasn’t until I saw my family there that I knew something was happening, I wasn’t going to see any pony,” he said.
Horses are in the blood of Mr Closter, who began riding at a young age.
“I was a rider in my younger days,” he said, recalling of times competing in Melbourne gymkhanas.
After his children, grandchildren and later great-grandchildren joined BMPC, Mr Closter’s commitment to the club has never waned – even when well into his 80s.
“I’ve always gone up…I generally go up on a Sunday; it might only be for a couple of hours, but I still go,” he said.
Former BMPC President Simon Karp, who presented Mr Closter with the certificate, said Bob’s contribution has been “invaluable to the club”.
“He’s been a long-standing member, a lot of the younger [members] know him as the ‘guy that’s out there on the tractor’, but [he makes part] of the little things that clubs can’t function without,” he said.
As for why he stayed part of the club for so many decades, the answer for Mr Closter is simple.
“I enjoyed the kids. That’s why I was there,” he said, tears pricking his eyes.
“I think the most pleasure that I would probably get is seeing the little ones go up through their certificates and become nice neat little riders.
That’s all I wanted.”
Mr Closter’s Pony Club Australia ‘Living Legend’ award was only one of three presented nationally.