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Posted by Marketing on 26/07/2021.

RETIREMENT CALLS TOM COMPAGNONI

A fabulous tribute to a great man, written by Eventing WAs very own Vaz Mclaughlan.
If you can make it up to Gidgi on Sunday the 1st of August at 3.30pm (end of Gidgi B weekend) please join us to celebrate all that Tom has done for our sport.
 
RETIREMENT CALLS TOM COMPAGNONI
“A great man is different from an Eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society” B.R. Ambedker
“When I think of Tom Compagnoni, a great man is what I think!”
There are a few people that have contributed to our sport for over 3 decades in as many ways as Tom, and always in his calm and cheerful way that is unique to him.
Most of you will have seen Tom over the years, as one of the most prominent course builders in our state, holding both Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and Equestrian Australia (EA) Qualifications. Tom has worked at almost every course in Western Australia over his very long career as a Course Builder and Technical Delegate, and on many occasions it was a family affair with his daughter Sarah recalling weekends sitting in the car with her dad at Moora or Gidgegannup or anywhere really helping as he drives around the cross country building fences and checking the conditions to ensure the riders and horses can have the best run. A long-standing member of the Eventing WA committee Tom’s knowledge and input has helped the sport negotiate the changes that eventing has undergone over the years.
Jack, Tom’s father, was a station master in Northern Queensland and with his wife Helen took on virgin land in Munglinup in the Goldfields-Esperence region of WA. It was on the farm that Tom learned his horsemanship and how to fix and build anything taking these skills with him to Perth where he began to fine tune his course building and get his qualifications.
Tom has had many horses over the years and had wins not just in eventing, but in camp drafting and point to point racing too, he was the WA team captain at Gawler with his horses Bruce and Final. However probably his most famous horse was the Flying Scotsman. It was this horse that he generously loaned to Blyth Tait at the inaugural Fairbridge event when the riders still had the roads and tracks element. The flying Scotsman was originally prepared for a different visiting rider to compete on but as all we all know the saying “best laid plans…” it was at a dinner the night before that Blyth had said I’ll ride him and The Scotsman was picked up from the paddock, with Blyth’s first ride on him being the day of the trot up, of course the pair were to be the winners on that day!
Guided initially by Alan Campbell when he first came to Perth, over the years Tom has worked with some of the best course builders including Mike Etherington-Smith at the private cross country course Tannahill in Toodyay. It was here that Tom met his wife Liz who worked as an offsider for him and still does. Liz, a cartographer by trade, originally used to draw all the cross-country maps for Tom (Yes kids you read that correct, she drew them!)
In 2001 Tom was approached by Steve Cahill the Gidgegannup Horse and Pony Club president at the time, to take on the mammoth task of building a new cross-country course. With help from the dedicated committee and Toms now great friend James King, and many others the course held its first event in 2003, and 20 years later it seems fitting that we wish Tom all the best in his retirement at the course that he designed and developed and has been instrumental in developing the sport of eventing here in WA for generations.
There are so many stories, from travelling to India in 1985 with his then wife Shelley and the other members of the WA team Peter Booker, Bradley Cripps, David McGuire and Kerrie Robbins as the Chef d’Equipe to driving a cart horse in the bush to pull out the logs that he was going to use to build the cross fences.
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