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November's Calendar Photographer

Published: November 1, 2021 10:22 am ET

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Melissa Oates of Abbotsford, British Columbia is our photographer for the stunning November image in the 2021 Heart of Harness Racing Calendar.

Oates captured the image of her 14-year-old retired standardbred Cenalta Wizard (aka “Wizzy”) while visiting him at Alina MacLeod’s farm where he is stabled.

Wildfires are common for British Columbia, and this summer was no exception. One day while visiting Wizzy there was a fire burning north of them, which is when Melissa captured the photo.

“We had quite a bit of smoke in the area from fires burning north of us in the Okanagan, I thought it would make for a neat photo,” she explained. “Just out of the frame were a bunch of dandelions that Wizzy was trying his best to snack on, and he did manage to get a few bites. In the background you can see two of his retired buddies, Redstar Renegade and Farside Cowboy, owned by Alina MacLeod.”

Although Wizzy is now 14 years old, Oates pointed out that he still loves running around the field and kicking up his heels!

Melissa currently works in quality assurance at Heli-Welders Canada in Langley, B.C., and when she isn’t working you can usually find her visiting with Wizzy, taking photos of the horses at Alina MacLeod’s farm, or watching the races at Fraser Downs.

Oates has been a regular calendar photographer for many years, providing many stunning photos from the west coast that show the true heart of harness racing. Her past photos were featured in the calendar in October 2016, October 2017, June 2018, November 2019, and April 2020.

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