EVER humble, Don Wray is not one to bask in personal accolades.
He is the latest life member of the Naracoorte Racing Club - receiving the honour at the Naracoorte Cup on February 10 - but by no means was he expecting it.
"Life membership did come as a surprise to me," Don said. "Usually you've got to be half dead or a past president to get life membership."
The MiniJumbuk chairman has got a lot of enjoyment over the years from being involved with the racing club - including years on the committee in the early-mid 2000s.
A major highlight for Don has been seeing big crowds flock to the racing club, enjoying the atmosphere of the "sport of kings".
"I've got a lot of pleasure over the years out there," he said. "I do go out there on a Sunday and you do get a lot of pleasure looking at a huge crowd over there."
Naracoorte Racing Club secretary Alan Taylor said Don received life membership on the back of his years involved with the racing club's committee as well as being a long-time major sponsor through MiniJumbuk.
MiniJumbuk has sponsored the last 11 Naracoorte Cups, the premier event on Naracoorte Racing Club's calendar - something Don is quite proud of.
"MiniJumbuk has been a great supporter of the racing club," he said.
"One of our philosophies is for the town you need to have your golf clubs, your sporting clubs, your community groups and your racing clubs."
Working with Neil Ottoson and Robin Steen, the trio were able to secure very lucrative sponsorships for the racing club - perhaps the most high profile being one of the State's major breweries.
"Robin Steen, Neil Ottoson and myself got the Coopers sponsorship for the racing club," Don said. "It's a huge boost and has been extremely good for the club."
During Don's time the club has raised the profile and the stakemoney of the Naracoorte Cup, further solidifying its importance to the club and town in general.
Through that the gate money and TAB turnover was greatly increased.
The birth of the Wrattonbully Cup (now the Wrattonbully Race Day) also came during Don's involvement with the club.
"With Neil Ottoson we created the Wrattonbully Wine Industries Association Cup, which has become very successful," he said.
"Neil and I both put a lot of work into it - he still puts a lot of work into it."
He highlighted the often unseen work of other people involved with the club - especially people like Graham Chaplin - as worth celebrating.
"Out there we used to put rubbish in tins and rubbish collecting and everything else," Don said.
"Graham now collects the rubbish for nothing."
Don's passion for horse racing has been a driving factor in his involvement in the club.
He raced his first horse in the mid 80s and has continued since then.
"I raced a lot of horses in Melbourne," Don said. "I did win a group one race."
That race - the 2008 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield - was an especially proud moment.
He rates the horse that won it for him as another highlight of his involvement with racing.
"Owning Orange County (has been a highlight)," Don beamed. "I've pretty much finished with racing though."