20 November 2011 - Bendigo featured prominently in Saturday night's Gordon Rothacker Medal Awards for Country Clubs at Tabcorp Park, Melton.
The Bendigo Harness Racing Club celebrated a win in the Best Local Media category with the successful Race for Fun Club media voted a winning promotion. Clerk of the Course Keith Pratt received a Distinguished Service medal for his lifetime of service to Bendigo Harness Racing, Bendigo's Barry Quigley also received a Distinguished Service Medal for his services as a Committeeman with the Charlton Harness Racing Club, and Bendigo Advertiser newspaper editor Rod Case won the award for the Best Country Feature Story - "Merv The Entertainer", his story remembering Bendigo's late great Merv Dillon.
Ted Demmler was presented with the year's most prestigious award, the Gordon Rothacker Medal. Demmler joins an elite line up of Victorian harness racing identities that have won the award since it was first presented to Ian McCallum in 2002. Last years winner Arthur Graham was on hand to present Demmler with his medal. Other winners have been 2009 - Les Chapman; 2008 - Bruce & Elizabeth Clarke; 2007 - Peter Manning; 2006 - Matt Donaldson; 2005 - Ron Pocock; 2004 - Jim Barker; 2003 - Geoff Hill; 2002 - Ian McCallum. A true luminary of our sport throughout a career spanning five decades, Demmler accumulated more than 2000 training wins and 3000 triumphs in the sulky, including 15 seasons where he drove at least 100 winners. He was a four-time Australian Driving Champion, first achieving the honour in 1979 before notching a hat-trick of domination from 1982-84. Demmler’s driving career ended with a fall in 2005, but the reinsman was far from lost to the sport, retaining his training and ownership interests. Last season, Demmler celebrated his first Group 1 win as an owner when Charlie Machsheen bolted clear on July 8 in the 2YO Colts & Geldings Final at Tabcorp Park.