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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

Over a year ago I was advised that Standardbred Canada was to host to the 2017 World Trotting Conference (WTC) and World Driving Championship (WDC) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Well, it has been almost 13 months to the day of being told this and we are now hosting delegations from 12 countries around the world to discuss standardbred horse racing on a global perspective.

The planning of this week-long conference has been daunting and arduous, and in this day and age of fiscal restraint for our industry, it has been extremely challenging.

So when designing the World Trotting Conference and Driving Championship we paid special attention to how best to monetize this event through sponsorships, and to enable the Canadian harness racing community to participate.

It was actually Sweden’s turn to host the conference in 2017 but we asked if they would consider swapping dates with us (Canada was supposed to host in 2019) so that we could celebrate and showcase Canada to our international harness racing community during our 150th celebration as a country and our 250th year celebrating horse racing.

To acknowledge these milestones it was decided to host the conference and Driving Championship in the cradle of Confederation, Charlottetown, PEI, and we packaged this up even more by scheduling the conference during PEI’s Old Home Week and around one of harness racing’s premiere events: The Gold Cup and Saucer.

So all the stars were aligning, however there remained clouds in the sky due to the commitment of time and money that is required to host such a happening. Those clouds started to dissipate once our sponsors began to come on board to assist in presenting this event.

It is my understanding that our conference is the first time in the 25 years that the World Trotting Conference has occurred, that it has opened its doors to the horse racing industry and the general public through hosting a Horse Racing Symposium.

We were only able to do this thanks to the generous commitment of our sponsors, and by scheduling this conference so that the working committees were scheduled around our special speakers and topics. This allowed us to provide a World Trotting Conference Symposium, and attract a wider audience by inviting the horse racing industry and community to hear the excellent international speakers that we were bringing into the conference during the day and a half symposium.

This idea not only helped market the event, it also became sponsor-friendly to assist in offsetting the costs of production. There have been the ongoing comments about the relevancy of being a part of an international harness racing association. Although I can appreciate the question and the argument due to the commitment of resources, I would also argue that at least we are showcasing our sport to the world by being a part of this global community and sharing and talking about the sport and our horses.

Along with the Symposium and the wonderful experts who will be weighing in on our sport, the actual conference will have delegates from 12 countries around the globe talking and tackling issues regarding horse welfare and integrity, breeding, racing and wagering, marketing and business development. As you probably will agree these topics are very much relevant to Canada and to the sport in general. At a minimum, Canada is at least working together internationally to keep our sport fresh, relevant, topical, and moving forward, and at the most, Canada is playing host on the world stage, pushing forward an agenda that is meaningful to us as a country, and sharing this with other countries who have the same care, concern and love for our sport that we have.

And, we haven’t even discussed the World Driving Championship; as some of the best harness drivers compete in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and PEI to showcase the exhilarating sport that harness racing is.

So, thank you to all who have helped support and assist Standardbred Canada in hosting a best-in-class World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship, and most importantly; thanks to all our guest speakers and sponsors who donated their time, talent and money to allow us to showcase Canada and our sport during our 150th anniversary as a country and our 250th year celebrating horse racing.

Dan Gall
President & CEO, Standardbred Canada
[email protected]

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