Solemn farewell for Carly-Mae at Rocky's Callaghan Park
IT was a solemn "last lap" of the Callaghan Park race track for Carly-Mae Pye and her many supporters yesterday.
Encased in her sheen-finished mauve casket, and flower-studded funeral hearse, the renowned Rockhampton jockey made her way slowly around the track in a tear-jerking final lap.
Carly-Mae, 26, tragically died last week following an accident on the race track.
Hundreds of people, who came to bid Carly-Mae farewell, flocked to the track-side to see their beloved local jockey make one last attempt at crossing the finishing line.
In a funeral that yesterday spoke volumes, more than 1500 family members, friends, horsemen, horsewomen and dignitaries from the equine and racing fields across Queensland packed into the Callaghan Park grandstand to remember the humble 26-year-old who loved horses.
Resonating remarks of yearning (from her partner and trainer Tim Cook) like "may you rest in peace, my baby, I will miss you every second of every day and every night" and "I'm the luckiest person in the world to have been a part of your life", certainly hit home.
When the funeral got underway, four young jockeys in the saddle and young Zoe White led Carly-Mae towards her podium in front of the crowd.
That's when you could hear crowd members start to sniffle.
People whipped out their handkerchiefs and tissues to dry the tears they shed for the award-winning local jockey whose legacy has been eternalised with a junior riders trophy, which will be awarded annually at Callaghan Park races.
Six pallbearers donning blazing purple ties with pink stars carried Carly onto a stage decked with bouquets and Carly-Mae memorabilia galore.
Her younger sister Emma-Rose gave a memorable account of a missive she received in an autography book from Gordon Fisher, in January 2002.
"He wrote, dear Emma-Rose ... make sure Carly-Mae never gets as tall as you or she'll boss you around like she does to everyone here," she said.
"The funny thing was, she never got as tall as us but she was definitely the boss.
"She had always been a big role model in our lives."
She also showed a video of a younger Carly-Mae presenting on the ABC.
PCAQ president Simon Irwin also praised Carly-Mae as a hard worker from the get-go.
"There are few horsewomen who can say they were good at showjumping, racing, stocking and others ... but Carly-Mae can," Mr Irwin said.
"You were incredible in every way."