The Tasmanian racing industry has lost one its greats with the death of racecaller Shane Yates, aged 60, after a tough 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
After calling his first race at the age of 16, Yates went on to forge a 44-year career in sport and the media, with racecalling always his passion.
He also made his mark in sports administration, working tirelessly to resurrect his beloved Devonport Football Club from financial difficulties during seven years as president.
Although described by his brother Dean as a 'marginal introvert', Yates was a natural public performer.
Dean recalled that Shane made his stage debut, aged about 10, miming songs in front of packed audiences at concerts, parties and elderly persons' homes.
His signature act was 'Rubber Ducky - You're The One' complete with bath and rubber duck.
During the 1980s it was a poorly-kept secret that he was the man inside the Rupert Rabbit suit on a TNT9 children's program. He was to carry the nickname 'Rupert' for years to come.
Yates' media involvement also included writing a weekly column on racing and sport - in fact, on almost any subject - for The Advocate newspaper.
Fittingly, he called his last race at the Devonport dogs in December - back at the venue where it all began.
TRIBUTE TO A MATE
Fellow racecaller Colin McNiff wrote this tribute to his long-time mate:
"Shane's talents were obvious from an early age. He was just 17 when he started as a sports commentator with TNT9 in Launceston, a job that saw him calling races, covering all sports and presenting the sports segment on the nightly news.
Shane was also an outstanding sportsman. As a footballer he was highly regarded and could have played VFL but for a serious knee injury that curtailed his career.
He loved the Devonport Football Club, becoming a long-serving president, often dipping into his own pocket to help it through difficult financial times.
Over the years, he held a variety of jobs, even running his own trophy business and driving school. But sport, in particular racing, was always in his blood.
He invariably called the greyhound, harness and thoroughbred meetings on his beloved North West Coast.
In the late 1990s, he joined 7TAB as its NW sales rep/racecaller and, when the opportunity arose in 2012 to move to full-time racecalling, he jumped at it.
While Shane will be best remembered as a racecaller, he was a brilliant alround commentator, excelling at football and basketball.
There is no doubt he could have worked interstate or overseas had he wanted to.
When I started at TNT9 in 1980 I replaced Shane then five years later, when I moved on, he replaced me. Since then, our professional lives have been linked.
Shane was a wonderful team player - I always knew he had my back..
He loved sport in general and loved a punt. He was highly regarded by all Tasmanian sports fans and will be sadly missed."
Shane Yates is survived by his mother Zita, brothers Gary and Dean and daughters Layla and Montanna.