SPEAKING UP: Cass Pickard will step up to the mic to kick start the meet and greet this Friday night.
SPEAKING UP: Cass Pickard will step up to the mic to kick start the meet and greet this Friday night. Kelly Butterworth

Nerves of steel

SHE has conquered the Commonwealth world but local powerlifting champion Cass Pickard has a hidden fear she is yet to lift off her chest.

Public speaking is something she doesn't do and hasn't yet, until now.

The Emerald mother-of-two will step up to the mic this Friday night to kick-start the Central Highlands Regional Council's sports forum's meet and greet.

The night is a chance for the public and sport and recreation clubs to network and meet council staff and provide feedback.

To say Cass is nervous is an understatement.

"I have never done any public speaking before. I freeze at a handful of people let alone a big crowd," Pickard said.

"I know I will be a nervous wreck being so far outside my comfort zone.

"When I was asked about guest speaking I said no and that I would have to check my work roster. I checked my roster and hoped to see I was working, then I checked my husband Hamish's roster and he wasn't working so I didn't have the kids to look after. I had no excuses.

"But I think it will be good for me and I will embrace the challenge. I'll give it a shot.

"Writing the speech has been the easy part, even practicing it has been difficult.

"I have been practising on Hamish and I have quizzed a friend who is good at public speaking. They have both helped out a lot."

Pickard wouldn't give away all the secrets of her speech but promised for "a little bit of everything".

"Growing up is a big part of who you become as an adult, so I have to talk about that," she said.

"Being in New Zealand and how I came to be here, people I have met along the way, of course powerlifting and who I am today.

"It's my fourth year now and I have had so many challenges to overcome and it will be good insight to what I go through.

"Hopefully people will be excited about the sport when I am finished.

"The town and community has been incredible for me. It is a good chance to give back a little."

Pickard will also play participant to the sports forum to learn from fitness guru Steve Nance. She is especially looking forward to his clinics.

"I have never met Steve Nance but have heard a lot about him and absolutely, he will be able to help me," she said.

"I am quite new to nutrition and he will definitely be able to teach me the basics. My old coach, Katrina Robertson, is also coming along. I haven't caught up with her for 12 months so I am really excited to see her."

Sports Forum

Friday Feb 26

9.30am-12.30pm Physical

Activity for older people

Saturday Feb 27

9am-12pm Sports Nutrition

12.45pm-3.45pm Sports


1pm-4pm Rewrite your


Sunday Feb 28

9am-12pm Beginner Sports


9am-12pm How to run an

effective meeting

12.45pm-3.45pm Advanced

sports strapping

12.45pm-3.45pm Grant


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