The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

Thursday, May 31, 2012

S.W. Parlin's Celebrated American Trotters

When I visited Denny Atkinson at the Phillips Historical Society, he informed me that S.W. Parlin retired to Phillips, Maine. Just recently I purchased a copy of Parlin's book, The American Trotter. This storyboard presents the images of the trotters featured in his book.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Syndicating Standardbreds in the Historic Bloodline of Maine's World Champion Trotting Stallion -- Nelson 4209 -- Proclaimed King of the Stallions!

The storyboards in this post promotes the idea that Mainers invest in bringing the bloodline of Maine's high wheel trotting champion Nelson back to the State of Maine. Nelson foaled a mare named Gertrude Nelson who somehow made her way up to Calgary Canada. Her bloodline still exists the two yearlings -- a stallion named Cenalta Awesome and a filly named Cenalta Firecracker. Check out this idea by reading the storyboards and let me know what you think!

The April Issue of The Maine Spirit of the Turf

The April Issue of The Maine Spirit of the Turf will be available to download
from the front page of The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Promoting the Maine Standardbred Horse and Maine's Harness Racing Industry

Reposted -- 287 page views!

NOTE: Being new to Maine Harness Racing
I offer ideas that are new to me.
These are ideas gathered from my research
and from discussions with Mainers in the industry.
-- Stephen D. Thompson, Lost Trotting Parks Heritage Center --

Bringing the Past to Present to Create the Future
through Education, Active Outreach, and Year-Round Programs

Achieving Results through Communication, Coordination, and Collaboration!

The questions often asked and often unanswered are the following:

How do we attract more people to harness racing events?
How can we get more people into breeding or owning Standardbred horses?

In a recent newspaper article, NASCAR addressed the issue of attracting more people to NASCAR events. The article stated that the average age of television viewers of NASCAR events was 51 years of age.

When you go to harness racing events you also see an older crowd not only in the grandstands, but also in the paddocks and often in the sulkies behind the horses. The issue here isn't that older person are in the business or enjoy harness racing. The issue is that the industry lacks new blood -- younger people who will be the future leaders in the horse breeding and harness racing industry.

So the question still remains how do we attract more people not only as fans but also as owners, breeders, drivers, judges, and workers. If you have an idea please share that idea on the Lost Trotting Parks Forum. Here are some ideas!

1. Actively develop mentorship programs that create interest in occupations related to harness racing.
2. Develop educational programs that can be presented in Maine schools, K - !2
3. Create a resource directory of individuals in the harness racing industry who would speak at schools, youth groups, parent groups, and community organizations. The directory would also identify business willing to host school or family field trips.
4. Explore the possibility of creating an equine studies program at secondary vocational schools.
5. Create bus tours that ties the past to the present -- Example: Clark Thompson in his book, Maine's Trotting Horse Heritage Trail, identifies twenty key events that helped to establish Maine as a leader in the horse industry between 1819 and 1893. He placed twenty-one inscribed granite monuments at each site from Hiram, Maine to Bangor. The Hiram site is only a few miles from the Cornish Historic Trotting Park. A bus tour could begin at the Cornish Trotting Park with demonstration match races involving select Maine horses. Owners and horsemen would briefly address the audience, After the demonstration races and a visit to the under the grandstands Cornish Harness Racing Museum, the tour would take you to the site of the Recluse Farm in Hiram, then the Kite Track in Old Orchard Beach, and finally Rigby Park in South Portland. After the day's events the tour would move to supper and harness racing at an area track. Tours could be designed as one day tours up to five day tours.
6. Create a website such as Profiles of Maine Harness Horsemen to highlight individuals who are currently in the industry. The website could also honor past harness horsemen. This site could promote bringing new people into the industry by highlighting mentorship programs and individuals new to the business.
7.Create an e-zine that focuses on Maine standardbred horse breeding, horsemen, and events that impact the harness racing industry. An e-zine is a newsletter that is distributed through e-mail to a list of recipients who have requested the e-zine.
8. In partnership with the Lost Trotting Parks heritage Center, local historical societies, town/city governments, libraries, the Maine Historical Society, the Maine State Library, Museum, and Archives create travelling displays for each Maine county, every agricultural fair, and harness racing track.
9. Actively seek historic images and memorabilia that depicts the age of "When the Horse was King," Maine's lost trotting parks, and harness racing events. Art by Maine artists such as Scott Leighton, W.A. Treat, D.D. Coombs, and George H. Bailey need to be identified and cataloged.
10. Further explore funding the Nelson Statue Project. Nelson (4209) at one time was the world champion trotting stallion who held records with the high-wheel sulky on both half-mile and mile oval tracks. Nelson was declared the Champion of All Stallion in 1889. He was also known as the Northern King. Nelson was foaled in 1882 in Winslow, Maine. His breeder and owner was Charles Horace Nelson who owned Sunnyside Farm on the Oakland Road in Waterville. A sixteen inch prototype of the statue has been created. The idea is to erect a five foot statue of Nelson and place this statue at the Maine Statehouse in Augusta. Informational flyers would be available for students and families visiting the Statehouse complex. The flyer would present basic information and refer readers to educational website such as the Online Lost Trotting Parks Heritage Center. Learning Activity Packets would be developed for grades K-5, 6-8, and 8-12. The packets would be freely distributed as PDF files that could be printed by teachers at their schools.
11. Fund and create an independent museum that celebrates the age of "When the Horse was King," Maine Harness Racing, and Maine's agricultural Fairs. The museum would include a research library, a map room, storyboards on selected subjects past and present, and memorabilia. The museum would also be responsible for creating historical displays that would be placed at selected locations throughout Maine.
12. Establish Driving Clubs at existing trotting parks. The purpose of the driving clubs is to introduce new people to the standardbred horse and experience the joy and excitement of driving a horse under harness.
13.Support the Lost Trotting Parks Living History Initiative -- "Bringing Nelson's Bloodline" back to the State of Maine. With the help of Australian John Peck, Nelson's bloodline was researched. The research determined that descendants of Nelson though maternal bloodlines still exist in Slovinia, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The Canadian horses are decendants of Gertrude Nelson by Nelson (1901). Horses in Bowden, Alberta, Canada have been identified who are descends of Gertrude Nelson. The goal of the project is to bring at least two of these horses back to Maine to race and to be bred so that the bloodline can be re-established in Maine. It is important to understand that this is a living history project that is bringing past to present to promote harness racing and to educate Mainers about the rich history of Maine's horses and harness racing. If the Canadian horses prove to be great performers, then that will be a big positive. However, the big plan for these horses is to do demonstration match racing using newly built high wheel sulkies. Two high wheel sulkies will be built with today's materials in order to build sulkies that will be light with strength, and safer than reconditioning an antique sulky. Sponsors and trackswould fund the demonstration match races at tracks throughout New England. To purchase these horses and bring them to Maine, Lost Trotting Parks is seeking fifty to one hundred individuals who would be willing to contribute/invest $200 per year for five years. By partnering with horsemen, stable owners, and trainers, it is hoped that this project can be funded and become part of Maine's harness racing scene.
14. Establish harness racing events at all Maine tracks celebrating the rich history of Maine Harness Racing.
15. Create an active online presence for all involved in the harness racing industry through websites, blogs, Facebook and scheduled e-zine releases.
16. Encourage those involved with all aspects of the harness racing industry to access the Internet to keep up to date with issues facing the industry and industry events. Become sufficiently skilled to participate in blogs, Facebook, and e-mail. Industry organizations should sponsor Internet training for their members.
17. Encourage youth participation in educational programs that introduce youth to the care and training of horses, and driving horses under harness. Actively work with 4-H organizers to create equine related programs and services.
18. Create television/video programming that can be aired on Maine's cable public access and educational television channels. Programs can be taped at one location and reproduced for distribution to other public access/educational channels through Maine.
19. When able support all public/private initiatives that will maintain and or increase funding streams to the Maine Harness Racing Industry.
20. Partner with local historical societies to create the stories and preserve the images of the age of "When the Horse was King."
21. Collaborate with a Maine-based recording studio to sponsor a song writing contest based on the themes and stories of Maine's Harness Horsemen. For example songs based on the stories associated with the horses John R Braden, Nelson, Galophone, and other Maine champion horses. The top twelve songs would be recorded on a CD and concerts would be sponsored at agricultural fairs and other harness racing events throughout the State of Maine. The song writing contest would be open to professional and amateur songwriters.
22. Create a collaborative planning process using a professional facilitator to develop a five-year plan with funding to address the issues of the harness racing industry. The planning team would include representatives from the Maine Farm Bureau, the Maine Department of Agriculture, the Maine Harness Racing Promotion Board, the Maine Harness Horsemen's Association, the Maine Fair Association, the Maine Standardbred Breeders' and Owners' Association, and selected stakeholders.
23. Work with existing organizations to facilitate the transfer of ownership of retired harness racing horses and potential racing horses that never make it to the tracks to new owners. A component of this process could be establishing amateur driving clubs at existing harness racing and training tracks throughout Maine. Funding incentives to establish and maintain clubs could be proportioned from new and existing revenue streams. Perhaps a number of Amateur Driving Clubs could be set up at the high school level.
24. Explore adding two new divisions to the harness racing programs throughout Maine: 1) the high-wheel sulky racing division and 2) the high wheel skeleton wagon racing division. Based on designs from the 1800s create a high wheel sulky and a skeleton wagon with materials that are currently used to create the bicycle wheel sulkies. By adding divisions, programs will have greater diversity and the racing life of harness racing horses no longer competitive with the bicycle wheel sulky could be extended. The skeleton wagon racing division would require racing with two horses. Many horses don't make it to the track as individual performers, but they might become good tandem race horses. The high wheel sulky and skeleton wagon racing could use divisions by time.

The following storyboards can be printed on legal size paper.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The 1902 Diagrams from Augusta's City Plans Provide Historic Locations of a Lost Trotting Park and the Properties of Alan Lambard

Today's visit to the Kennebec Historical Society allowed for the discovery of the 1902 Plans of the City of Augusta, Maine. The plans depicted the oval of Augusta's Lost Trotting Park and the properties of Alan Lambard. Lambard was an early Augusta agriculturist and builder of his own private trotting park off Eastern Avenue. In 1920 in conjunction with the State of Maine, Augusta reshaped the trotting park into a public park for general use.