On Sunday 17th November 1968 the Trotting Trainers & Drivers Association of Victoria was formed.

The office bearers of the newly formed Association were:

President: Bruce Barron

Vice Presidents: Neville Gath & Bob Birthisel

Secretary: Jim Bowles

Treasurer: Jim Matthews

Committee: Bruce Clarke, Bill Le Seur, Des Ritchie, Graeme Lang, Wally Marshall, Ron Armstrong, Bill Sweet, Kevin Murray, Gordon Rothacker, Les Turner, Phonse Hickey Tom Taylor, Jack Knight, M Nash, PW Taylor, George Gath, Ralph Ford, P Barber, Ron Parker, Frank Shinn, Peter Ward, Ken Pocock, J P Walsh, Don Guy and Don Dove.

The Association was formed due to the difficulty in gaining recognition from the Trotting Control Board (TCB) for concerns of trainers and drivers. Although 80% of the members were also members of the Metropolitan and Country Trotting Association (M&CTA) the was a strong belief that the Association was needed to better represent the technical problems relating to training and driving of pacers and trotters.

The TCB was reluctant at first to accept the Association trying to only recognise the M&CTA and push areas of concern through this organisation. Our Association would copy in the M&CTA on all correspondence to keep them informed of the direction the Association took on various issues.

Within two months the association had 300 members paying an annual subscription of $2.00 with representatives throughout the state with the Australian Trotting Register becoming the Association’s official organ.

Initial subjects dealt with by the Association involved

  • An adequate Insurance for Drivers
  • Single Assessment system
  • Encouragement for young Drivers

It is interesting to note in early correspondence from the Association to the TCB sounds familiar. An extract of a letter to the TCB in March 1970: “rules and inconsistent discretionary decisions are being made by the Trotting Control Board and Stewards with almost reckless disregard to the resultant effect, inconveniences and hardships being suffered by owners, trainers and drivers.”

For well over 44 years the Association has represented the interests of trainers and drivers and been the driving force behind many of the rules and systems under which we all participate today.