The Cootamundra Sports Foundation (CSF) committee will host the 35th annual Sportsperson of the Year Dinner on May 11.
The CSF was formed in 1974 and for the first decade an annual dinner was held to help raise money for young sportspeople who were financially disadvantaged and to help sporting clubs in the district.
In 1984, the committee decided to hold a Sportsperson of the Year presentation dinner where awards were given out to athletes who had achieved representative honours in the previous 12 months.
This year's dinner will highlight sporting achievements for performances in 2018, with 13 individual finalists.
The top award is the Frank Smith Memorial Sportsperson of the Year trophy, named after one of Cootamundra's favourite sons.
Finalists in the 35th annual Sportsperson of the Year awards are:
- Luke Dowell (karate)
- Montanna Wilkinson (rodeo)
- Michaela Webb (school athletics, swimming; soccer)
- Lachlan Webb (school AFL; other sport)
- Koby Godbier (school cricket, soccer, athletics; junior soccer)
- Samantha Graham (basketball)
- Zac Rumble (rugby league)
- Piper Scott (soccer)
- Frankie Scott (soccer)
- Anisa Rees (junior soccer)
- Jimmy Finucane (Australian rules)
- Renae Glanville (league tag)
- Kristen Byrne (league tag)
- Coota Junior Rugby League Football Club
- Coota Bears (under 12s rugby union)
- Stribley Shield (cricket)
The diverse list or recent winners has included Alexandria Oliver (2017, basketball), Stockinbingal's Stephanie Cooper (2016, horse sport), Sammy Maxwell (2015, women's rugby sevens), Tim Berryman (2014, motor racing), Joseph Trinder (2013, golf), Daniel Maher (2012, rugby union) and Jenna Collingridge (2010 and 2011, soccer).
The Braybrooks' Pharmacy Junior Sportsperson of 2018 will be announced as well as the Junior Encouragement award, for a young person who has shown dedication and commitment to their sport.
There is also an award for the Local Sportsperson of the Year and for junior and senior teams which excelled in 2018.
The Administrators Award and Max Rudd Service to Sport Award will also be announced to recognise the work of those people who work tirelessly behind the scenes for their sporting clubs.
Guest speaker will be Australian swimming representative Kurt Herzog, who will also present the awards.
Herzog was in Cootamundra in February, attending the South Western Zone swimming carnival with Dawn Fraser.
He is a bronze medal-winning member of the Australian team that competed at the world championships in Russia in 2015. Having qualified for nationals at 18, Herzog made his debut in the national team at the age of 23. He missed out on the team that competed at the Rio Olympics by a fraction of a second and although he has struggled with shoulder injuries, is aiming for selection in the 200m freestyle for Tokyo 2020.
All money raised by the CSF through the dinner is channelled back into junior sport in the Cootamundra district, via donations to individuals, sporting clubs and schools.
With the help of dedicated sponsors, the foundation has so far donated over $72,000.
This year's dinner will be held at the Cootamundra Ex-Services Club, with bookings already closed.