view counter
 
view counter
 
 

SC Rewind: The 1971 Art Derby

Published: September 26, 2020 11:35 am ET

Last Comment: October 1, 2020 9:24 am ET | 5 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In the current edition of Rewind Robert Smith recalls a rather novel promotion from 50 years ago that was spearheaded by Bill Galvin, longtime Publicity official of the Ontario Jockey Club. It was a pretty ingenious endeavor that attracted the attention of a huge number of participants.

Fifty years ago The Ontario Jockey Club was a very well organized and successful entity. Their tracks were state of the art (two of the three fairly recently completed) and the on-track product rivalled any jurisdiction then in existence. The O.J.C. Publicity department was a very active segment of the operation and did a first-class job of promoting current and future events and happenings. They also were always eager to seek out new fans, even the youngsters, many of whom attended the races with their parents.

In 1971 under the guidance of Bill Galvin, future Hall of Fame writer and communicator, the Publicity folks repeated an exciting promotion called Art Derby For Kids. Previous competitions had been based on poetry, this one on art. The subject of the latest Art Derby was a Standardbred mare named Superior Princess and her young daughter Hieland Barbara. Both of these fine-looking animals were owned by Mrs. Edith Hie of Cobourg, Ont. It was through the generosity of Mrs. Hie and her husband Cliff that these two were "loaned" to Bill Galvin for this interesting event.

In order to be eligible for the 1971 Art Derby the child had to be 12 years or younger by October 15, which was the closing date for the competition. The task at hand was for the child to submit a creative drawing of Superior Princess and her daughter. It was to be drawn on any size piece of paper up to 20 x 24 inches using any type of pen or pencil. Included in the permissible tools were watercolours, magic markers, poster colors and acrylics. Oils were not acceptable. An entrant who met the age qualifications could submit as many drawings as they wished.

Children who wished to get a close-up view of Superior Princess and her cute little foal were advised to tune in to the Uncle Bobby Show, a long-running children's program of that time. This popular educational show was then in its eighth year and aired daily except Sunday on Toronto's CFTO which was Channel 9. For those not in the Toronto viewing area there were six other locations with varying dates throughout August and early September to choose from. So wide was the viewing area that it included the cities of Windsor, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax, Regina and even St. John's, Nfld.


Owner Cliff Hie holds broodmare Superior Princess while her foal is attended to by a visitor on the Uncle Bobby Show. A TV cameraman catches all of the action. That's "Uncle Bobby" with the striped trousers. (Courtesy of Bill Galvin)

Two judges were selected to oversee the Canada-wide competition. Mrs. Kay Boa, Head of the Art Dept. at Ridley College in St. Catherines, and Barry MacKay, a bird artist and naturalist were chosen. Mr. MacKay was a regular guest on the Uncle Bobby Show.

The grand prize for winning the 1971 Art Derby was a fully paid trip to the fabulous new Disney World in Orlando, Florida via Eastern Air Lines. The first prize also included the teacher of the winner who would accompany the child. This was a major prize as Disney World had just opened at this time and very few people had visited there.

AND THE WINNER IS...

In October of 1971 the winner of the contest was announced. That lucky person was 11-year-old Kim Thoms, daughter of Wm. and Ann Thoms, and a student at Beverly Acres School in Richmond Hill, Ont. A horse lover, Kim created her prize-winning art during her spare time at school. The judges commented that Kim's art was an excellent piece which went beyond the horse and it was obvious that she put a great deal of effort into her work.

Taking second prize of $50 was Teri Lynn Maxwell of Scarborough, Ont. with third going to Melanie LeMarchant of Cobourg, Ont. who received $25. Jackie Cameron of Amherst, N.S. and Heather Fisher of Morinville, Alta. both received honourable mention.

Three Derbies were held in the years 1969, 1970 and 1971 all with similar formats. They reached huge audiences through newspapers, magazines including extensive front-page coverage in the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper. The total media coverage for the three Derbies was 9,236,400. It was estimated that this year's event attracted 300,000 viewers on the TV programs when the mare and foal were guests.

Bill put on a lot of "neat" promotions and special events back in the day. He staged donkey races, arranged for Santa Claus to land in the centrefield, put on sleigh rides for kids, held Christmas dinners for the horsemen and that's just a small sampling of his many endeavors.

Quote For The Week: "A smile can start a conversation without saying a word."

Who Is It?

Around the same time as the contest described in today's Rewind (within a year or two) another version of the Art Derby was held. Can you name the three people in the above photo as they appear in the TV studio with that year's "celebrities". Second from left is the TV show host Uncle Bobby. (Courtesy of Bill Galvin)

Where Was It?

Can you identify where this famous photo was taken? Now how about naming the winning horse and driver and what event was taking place. That's a lot but I'll bet our experts will come up with it. (Hoof Beats Photo)

October 1, 2020 - 9:24 amThis week's upper picture

This week's upper picture which related to the topic was correctly identified as from left Bill Galvin, Nelson White and Roy Speller (Nelson's father in law). I am told the broodmare was Armbro Louise and, by the way, that information was relayed to me by Bill Galvin. He was forever helpful and always willing to do whatever he could. Little did I know when I wrote this Rewind that we would also be saying Goodbye to our beloved Bill. He worked until the final bell.
The lower photo was appropriate for the last week of September as that was a shot of the winning horse Ensign Hanover and driver Curly Smart at Delaware winning the inaugural Little Brown Jug 75 years ago. Sheldon Rose was in correctly on that famous scene. Thanks for your comments .

September 28, 2020 - 8:32 amEnsign Hanover at The Little

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Ensign Hanover at The Little Brown Jug with Curly Smart.

September 26, 2020 - 4:32 pmI believe the first picture

John Vance SAID...

I believe the first picture has Bill Galvin and Nelson White in it and that's it for me. I certainly do enjoy these articles though and thank you.

September 26, 2020 - 3:25 pmWho is It = Bill Galvin,

Who is It = Bill Galvin, Nelson White, Roy Speller, (Nelsons father in law?)

Where was It = New Buffalo?, Canada Pacing Derby, Count B.,? Lindley Fraser ? (P.S. I am guessing, not old enough to know for sure ?)lol

September 26, 2020 - 1:16 pmThanks for this article,

John Horchik SAID...

Thanks for this article, Robert. I always enjoy reading the Rewinds. This was about the year I was introduced to the sport and fell in love with my first passion. I can't believe it is almost 50 years ago.


view counter
 
 
 

© 2020 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal