7000 through the gates at Towac for 2017 camel races

THE sheikhs were out in force for the third annual Orange Camel Races at Towac Park Racecourse on Sunday.

A contingent from Wollongong took out the fashions on the field contest, with Sharon Everett winning the women’s category and Chris Edgecombe the men’s.

Ms Everett said the group always attended the Parkes Elvis Festival in fancy dress and made the trip again for the camel races.

“[My friend Renate’s] the sewer and I’m the ‘blinger’, I sew on the gems, so we’re used to this, this is what we love,” she said.

Eight-year-old Abby Weiss took out the girls’ section with her witch outfit, while a tiny, yet strapping 11-week-old Eli Scott won the boys’ section as a miniature version of his father, Stephen.

Mr Scott said their matching bowties were both worn at his wedding, although Eli’s was worn by their bunny at the time. 

“He has five older male cousins so he gets a lot of hand-me-downs, but he got a new outfit today,” he said with a laugh.

The Middle Eastern headdress adorned many people watching the eight races, thanks to volunteers at the event, including Adell Finlay, selling them to raise money for Give Me 5 For Kids. 

The money will fund respirators and cardiac machines for Orange Health Service. 

“They keep the sun off you,” Ms Finlay said.

Also boosting the fundraising total was the sweeps, organised by Lions members from Orange, Canobolas, Bathurst and Cudal clubs and supported by Canobolas Rural Fire Service volunteers, who sold tickets.

Louise Eggleston said those who drew the winning camels received cash prizes and all the later races sold out.

“It’s just a bit of fun but it’s been very well supported,” she said.

Event coordinator Graeme Eggleston said attendance was steady at 7000.

“If we reach $30,000, we’ll be happy,” he said.

“It will mean more babies in Orange can be treated in Orange without going to Sydney, that’s what we want – if we do that, our job will be done.”

He said the market and food stall section was the largest it had ever been, at 62 stalls.

“The ATM’s run out of money, so we’re working with the racing club to rectify that, but it’s always a good sign,” he said.

The race meet was limited to one injury, with a male jockey taken to Orange Health Service with a broken leg after falling off a camel.