Over the past two years, Colin McKenna has witnessed the "devastation" of his workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the man who finished year 11 at Warrnambool's Christian Brothers College, who started a meat business with a mate 50 years ago, will rebuild.
Mr McKenna, 72, will attend all three days of the May Racing Carnival.
It's an event that is pencilled in to his diary each year - since the age of 9 he's only missed two years.
"Two years ago I missed it because of COVID and in the '70s I missed a year because I took the Tuesday off so I worked the Thursday to make up for it," he said.
Mr McKenna, who employs between 1500-1600 people for the Midfield Meat Group, said he loved attending the event at the Warrnambool racecourse.
"I've been to Royal Ascot and Cheltenham, but they're nothing on this event," he said.
"It's a better atmosphere here."
Mr McKenna has a number of runners this week.
He has always loved horses and was a keen rider when he was younger.
"I love horses and I've always been a racing fan."
Mr McKenna said the past two years had been the most challenging as a business owner.
The former shearer, who became a stock agent before establishing Midfield Meat, said it had been hard to go to work for months and not be able to have the business at full production.
"When COVID came in the Victorian government shut us down by 30 per cent," he said.
"You work hard all your life to build a successful business and then you get hit by this because, I believe COVID has been badly managed."
But Mr McKenna said he is happy as long as he can give back to the community which has supported over the years.
He will rebuild the business that has given many newcomers to Australia a job.
Mr McKenna said he was desperate to secure more staff.
"We're getting more at the moment as the borders open - we've got staff coming in from East Timor and Fiji," he said.
Harry Brittain has been attending the May Racing Carnival for more than 60 years.
The 94-year-old, who grew up in Boggy Creek, is a former horse trainer who had a winner - Twilight Lane - at the carnival back in 1964.
The former Russells Creek player said the only year he missed - which was not by choice - was 2021.
"I missed last year, but that was because of COVID, which was pretty disappointing," Mr Brittain said.
Mr Brittain loves to have a punt on the races and enjoys a beer or two.
"I wouldn't be coming down if I wasn't able to have a bet," he said.
"I have a beer but not as many as I used to."
Mr Brittain said how much the event had grown.
"It's unreal what they've done in the past two years," he said.
"I don't know where I am," he laughed.
"Luckily I still know where the lift is so I can get up to the grandstand."
Ocean Grove's Ross Perry loves visiting Warrnambool each year for the carnival.
The 77-year-old said he was a keen racing fan.
"I've been coming for decades," Mr Perry said.
"I like Warrnambool, even aside from the carnival.
"We always have a wonderful time."
If it wasn't for the wind and, at times, inclement weather, the May Racing Carnival would be best described as the perfect week.
That's the concensus from Alphington's Garry Lennox.
"My dad and brother used to come for 30 years before that," Mr Lennox said.
"Dad said I should come, but for years I said no. Then I came down one year. I said it would probably be the only time but I came back the next year and I've been coming ever since."
Mr Lennox said he loved the relaxed atmosphere.
"It's a great week with the boys," he said.
"It's a good spot of the world.
"I have a bet but I don't know what I'm doing."
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