Bards, Bargains and Bars

by Trey Nosrac

I just returned from meeting with a group of writers. We met at a local tavern after they kindly agreed to judge a small mountain of harness racing poems. While this was far from my first tavern, this was my first poetry judging experience. The day was interesting and the Medina County Writers Club proved to be a lively, fun bunch.

Their task was to whittle down 52 poems to three. The process was much like speed dating. Each of the five judges spent about 30 seconds reading a poem, jotting down a score from 1 – 10 on a score sheet, and then, in unison they passed the poem onto the next judge. At the conclusion, the scores were tallied and a much more manageable group of 10 entered the next round. The poems that made the cut were read orally. After hearing the poems read out loud, and a bit of discussion, the judges re-voted.

It was fun to watch people who placed a five on a poem look in amazement at a fellow judge who placed a 10 on the same poem. It was sort of like the presidential election where some people looked at others and thought, “What are they thinking?” When others do not see what you see it is annoying. My two personal favorites did not even make the cut, a fact that ticked me off. The activity was quite the “Battle Royale” where beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

“I’m not arguing, I’m simply forcefully explaining why I am right.”

Eventually, they got down to a total of four. In order to avoid bloodshed, I made the executive decision to send Diamond Creek four instead of three. And the winner is…taa dumm…Lisa Dunn. Here is her poem:

Colorful, hoof-pounding excitement,
Racing the wind, start to finish.
Equine grace at its finest,
Amazing athletes none can diminish.
The Call to the post invites us,
In this gracefully sport we love.
New hope, new dream, new promise,
Each foal a gift from heaven above.

Let’s meet Lisa.

My name is Lisa Dunn. I am so excited! This was such an innovative idea. Our family’s Dunn Stable has been in the harness racing industry for decades. Our grandfather, Wilbur “Cubby” Dunn bred both trotters and pacers in the early years, but mostly purchased his yearlings. Our father, Walter “Boots” Dunn really took the initiative to build a solid band of broodmares during his lifetime. For the past ten years, we have concentrated solely on trotters. I look forward to spring 2018 and sending you pictures and updates on this new foal.

And let’s meet Chaka Khan.

The mare I nominated for the contest is Chaka Khan. She was foaled at our farm on April 20, 2003. Her dam, Armbro Delmonica came to us through hall of famer Delvin Miller; he and Dad were great friends. She is a half-sister to Yourworstnightmare who was a 3 year old champion and then was exported to Italy. He successfully continued his racing career in Europe and then stood at stud for a time. Chaka Khan never raced, but dad had the unbelievable ability to know what mares to keep and make into broodmares. Some of our best broodmares never raced or were very lightly raced. Chaka Khan has produced six foals of racing age. All of them were starters and five of them are winners. Two of her foals, SJ Better Days and Redder Than Red, have each earned over $300,000 and two of her foals have sub-1:55 marks. I am excited to breed her to Creatine. I think it is a very promising cross as we get three crosses of Speedy Crown in the fifth generation, as well as some other historically good crosses. Speedy Crown still holds the number one spot in overall total foal earnings and has nine direct descendants in the top 25 for trotters

Nobody loses when Diamond Creek is involved. For example, the runner-up Stacey Ruddick, will be offered the chance to choose Creatine for half price.

Name: Stacey Ruddick
Mare: Miss Risktaker (isn’t Miss Risktaker a perfectly appropriate name for entering this nutty contest!)

Here’s Stacey’s poem:

Carefully studying the pedigrees
Raising a hand to spend the cheese
Early lessons with work and rest
Always ready for the test
Time to come out on the stage
Ideally win and earn the wage
Never think of looking back
Ever first around the track

The rest of the top 10 were:

Name: Cynthia Graham
Trotting mare: Dance Hall Wendy

Name: Jessica / Howie Okusko
Trotting Mare: Cocoa Psycho

Name: Steve / Rebecca Titus
Trotting mare: Fox Valley Sommer

Name: Neil MacInnis
Trotting mare: Gracies Harmony

Name: Brian Kleinberg
Trotting mare: Donarella

Name: Terry / Ann Long
Trotting mare: Watch Her Dangle

Name: Lori Manke
Trotting mare: Contessa Leigh

Name: Levi Miller
Trotting mare: Celebrity Sweedie

These eight trotters and trotting poets will have the opportunity to dance with Creatine for $4,000.

And stay tuned poets. Next week, at the same time, on the same station, when we cross the finish line with this project, a few more poems will be published… and every other poetry participant will be interested because the rewards and tomfoolery will keep on coming.