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Yorkton Efforts Being Recognized

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Published: March 17, 2010 10:07 am ET

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On Saturday, March 13 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the Yorkton Exhibition Association took home the Equine Welfare Award of Distinction for Excellence in Innovation. Trot Insider has spoken with Dave Nussbaumer, the director in charge of the races with the Yorkton Exhibition Association, in regard to the award.

"We learned of it two or three weeks ago," he said of the award win. "To tell you the truth, we didn't even know we were up for an award. Someone must have nominated us for us.

"In order to have a live card at Yorkton we have to have 30 people working that day, 20 of which are there as volunteers -- that is what makes something like this pretty sweet."

According to the write-up for the award, the honour was bestowed upon the YEA for demonstrating qualities which reflect a significant impact on the improvement of the welfare of horses in Saskatchewan. The document states that in facing the quest for better management of the life conditions of horses, the YEA is an undeniably suitable recipient of the award.

"The awards night took place this past Saturday and was attended by many people, including local dignitaries," Nussbaumer explained. "Everyone that is involved with the horse community was there, and I think the crowd was about 250 in total -- it was a good group.

"We're pretty proud of what we have been able to do in Yorkton. Not too long ago the harness racing industry was virtually done in this province. We were approached to help re-invigorate standardbred racing in the province, and I think we're doing a pretty good job.

"We spent $300,000 on a new pari-mutuel building and made a real substantial contribution to the industry. Sometimes I look at Yorkton as 'the little engine -- or track -- that could.' We've seen our handle grow in the last couple of years, and there aren't too many tracks that can say that."

In terms of the 2010 season, Nussbaumer explained that the YEA has applied for 16 days of live racing, with the possibility of more. He said that last November the YEA approached the Liquor and Gaming Board and the agricultural sector to see if it was possible to get more money for purses.

"We always have 500 to 600 people out on a Friday night," he explained. "There were two nights last year which featured particular promotions and I'm sure we had in between 800 to 1,000 people in attendance. I really do believe we have the ability to get more than 1,000 people out one Friday this year."


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