by Trey Nosrac
Last week, your humble scribe suggested that purposely naming our horses after businesses could and should be of possible value to the sport (full story here).
Let us press this concept forward, perhaps towards absurdity. Renaming my lone broodmare has a minimal chance of helping grow the sport. Renaming a dozen horses increases the chances of recruitment, and renaming a hundred or a thousand could help a great deal. Injecting a bit of friendly competition often acts as motivation.
How? Let’s get absurd.
Fred Taylor owns the Fairwinds Standardbred Breeding Farm. Each year, his band of broodmares gives birth to babies that require names. In 2022, he decides to name his young horses after businesses in Medina, OH. Medina is a delightful town, large enough to have several companies, yet small enough to have a sense of community. Fred settles on a group of local businesses for an adventure/experiment.
After he selects a dozen businesses to invite to participate, his office manager, Renee, is tasked with arranging a Zoom meeting for the potential participants.
2 p.m. — Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2021
Fred begins, “Hello, thanks for logging in for this unusual meeting. Can the six of you see me? Hear me?”
A chorus of yeses.
He continues, “This will only take about 10 minutes. According to Facebook, it is good to begin a zoom meeting with an introduction and an open-ended question to act as an icebreaker. Would you each introduce yourself with your first name, the name of your company or business, and where or when you would set your time machine for a day? Let me go first.
“I’m Fred, from Fairwinds Farm. We raise trotting horses. My time machine would be the day the founding fathers ratified the Constitution. How about we start in the upper right corner of our screens.”
“I guess that means me. Okay, I’m Roger, Medina County Gazette. Of course, we are a newspaper. I want to step on the moon with Neil Armstrong.”
“And I am Charlene, Tangerine Parlour, Beauty Shoppe. I want to be front row in the 1960s when The Beatles were performing in a London Club.”
“Mickey, Vidika. My company is into cement. I would probably want to watch over Leonardo DaVinci’s shoulder as he sketched inventions.”
“Rhonda, JACOR, human resources. No doubt about it, a café table in Paris in the 1920s with a bottle of wine, holding one of those long cigarette holders.”
“Dennis, Chippewa Stone, we do projects like kitchen counters. I’d like to see the Egyptians laying the final few rows of the Great Pyramid.”
“Kevin, AI Root, candle company. I was going to say the Chicago Fair of 1900, but I’m changing and going with Dennis to the Pyramid.”
Fred, “Very nice. Thanks, everyone. I invited six more business owners for another meeting tomorrow. Six at a time seem more comfortable. Let me begin and try to clear up this craziness. I grew up in Medina, and the city has a warm spot in my heart. These days I am in central Ohio. As I mentioned, I raise and sell trotting horses. My customers buy these beautiful trotting horses to race at racetracks.”
“Please relax. I am not asking you to purchase or invest a penny. I want nothing from any of you. On the contrary, you could say I am offering a little entertainment and perhaps free publicity. The only thing you need to do is give me written permission to use the name of your company name on one of the foals born on my farm this spring.
“After that, you wait as the horse grows tall and strong and hopefully races, a process that will last until the summer of 2024. At that time, in July of 2024, a contest between these business-named horses will begin.”
Mickey, the cement man, asked, “What sort of contest?”
“When these horses are 2 years old, most of them will begin racing and attempt to earn money. The contest will be to see which of these horses earn the most money on the racetrack. The business-named horse with the most earnings will be declared the winner of the, so far unnamed contest.”
Dennis, the stone man, asked, “What will we win?”
“Bragging rights, a framed photograph, and a check for $1,000 donated to a local charity of your choice. Maybe a visit from the horse. Who knows? Much is to be determined.”
Roger, the publisher of the Gazette, spoke, “Is that why you included a newspaper?”
“Yes, you were the first business on my list. And among the other businesses are an advertising firm and a radio station. They may want to join us.”
Charlene, the beautician, asked, “Is there any liability, any cost?”
“None. Think of your horses as equine billboards racing around with your company or business name. Will this help you business-wise? Maybe not, but there is no downside.”
Rhonda, from human resources, says, “You are talking about a horse that will not race for two years. Anything can happen in two years. We might not be in business, or there might be new ownership, and I know a little bit about harness racing, enough to know the new owner can change the name.”
“All valid points. Here’s the thing, who knows where this naming thing will go. This little project could be a total dud, or it could become trendy. Your workers could have fun with the project. Your customers could enjoy the project. Everything right now is on the table. I’m just laying the groundwork. My only ask is permission to use your name.”
Dennis asked, “If you use my company name, Chippewa Stone, how do you decide which of your horses get which name?”
“I don’t have any reason. Right now, the babies are unnamed. They are roaming by mom’s side in the field. Who gets what name is completely random.”
Charlene, “Oh, oh, I have an idea. Why don’t you invite us to your farm, so we can look at the babies and sort of pick out the one we want? Tangerine Parlour would need to be a girl.”
Fred smiled, “That would be fine, we enjoy having visitors, and it is only an hour and twenty-minute drive.”
Several voices at once were enthusiastically asking additional questions. The adventure has begun.