Scarborough, ME--A new calendar has emerged for 2013 in the racing industry, this one depicting the men of Maine harness racing.
The 12-month, full-color calendar depicts Maine horsemen in their natural habitat, around the barns and tack rooms, with proceeds of the sale of each one going to the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Maine’s Ambassador Horse Program, which retrains retired Standardbreds for use in a variety of pleasure disciplines, and places them in new homes.
|Derek Davis Photo|
|Trainer-driver Mike Graffam is the cover model of the Men of |
Trainer Shannon Watson and Scarborough Downs’ Marketing Director Susan Higgins co-authored the 12-month calendar, which was a privately organized and funded project (not affiliated with any track or organization), hoping to shake things up a bit.
“We’re hoping this calendar does for harness racing what the firefighters’ calendars have done for them over the years,” said Higgins. “A lot of people don’t realize that our sport is full of handsome men of all ages.”
It’s true that many drivers are virtually invisible to the fans behind their silks, helmets and goggles on typical race days.
The new calendar reveals a bit more.
“Sure, there might be some giggles, but it’s all in good fun,” said Higgins.
While some of the men featured are wearing a simple black or white T-shirt, some are bare-chested.
“We really left it up to the guys how they wanted to be photographed. Some were more daring than others,” said Watson, “but all of the pictures came out beautifully. And the guys took it in stride. They did it for charity and to drum up some new fans.”
The 12 Men of Maine Harness Racing “models” include mostly drivers: Drew Campbell, Heath Campbell, Brian Blanchard, Steve Nason, Mike DeRuntz, Ryan Hall, Derek Howes, Chris Nye, trainer Randy Bickmore, Andy Harrington, Ryan Abel and Shane Taggart. Trainer-driver Mike Graffam graces the cover.
“We’re already planning for 2014. Our goal, of course, is to attract a new set of fans who want to come out and see these guys race,” said Watson.
Track photographers Derek Davis and Michael Newman donated their time and skill, as the project is for charity. So far, the first small run of 25 calendars were sold right around the holidays, with additional orders coming in.
“We really hope this ignites some interest in our sport; maybe we’ll see a North American edition!” said Higgins.
Calendars can be purchased for (in U.S. dollars) $20, or $25 for the calendar plus priority shipping. $11.68 of every calendar goes to the horses. Checks can be made out to Susan Higgins and mailed to PO Box 501, Scarborough, ME 04070. There is also a Men of Harness Racing Calendar Facebook page that people can “like” and get additional information and a sneak peek at some of the photos. More information on the Ambassador Horse Program can be found at www.SPHOMaine.net.