May 302017

To: HBPA Members, Board of Directors, Backstretch Employees & Industry Partners:

It’s hard to believe that some 20+/- years have passed since I first became affiliated with the HBPA.  Starting out as an elected Director, moving on to an appointed Officer, then being asked to sit on the Finance & Administration Committee as a non-Director, and finally accepting President Jim McFadyen’s request to take on the Manager’s role in 2006.

To say the least it’s been an interesting run.  Over the years I’ve fostered many personal and business relationships with those involved in the industry.  I’ve never considered this a “job” as I had the passion necessary to go through the spectrum of lows with not as many corresponding highs.

It has been an honor for me to serve under the current and past Directors and Presidents.  These Horsemen do not get the recognition they deserve.  They volunteer their time and put in countless hours in attempting to make things better for all those involved in racing thoroughbreds at the “A” tracks.  With their guidance and direction of being fiscally responsible and financially prudent, your Association at this time is on firm financial ground.

As a Calgarian, the single biggest disappointment for me personally during my tenure has been the absence of thoroughbred racing here since 2008.  The social aspect of bringing people together whose common interest is the love of the sport, has been sorely missed in this City.  Many a mornings I would stop at the track (on the way to my “real” job) and commiserate with the folks on the backside that make this industry go.  Weekends would include more of the same as well as watching horses train followed by walking the odd hot and grooming stock we owned.  It was fun attending the races at Stampede Park especially on weekends, sitting outside in the stands where the common thread was socializing with our owners, fans, customers and workers.  Now the second shoe to drop is that Northlands appears to be going down the same road as Stampede, so my forty-five year involvement in the business will never be the way it once was.  Nevertheless since the only constant in life is change – we move on.

To personally acknowledge all those in the industry that have had a positive impact on me while in this role would require lots of time and typing.  I will however, single out two individuals.   First and foremost my better half Lori who on occasions too numerous to mention be it at home, or California or on the Bluetooth would have to listen to my conversations where ranting and raving were paramount.  I am extremely grateful she accepted my policy of being available 24/7 to our members and the people we do business with and am even more ecstatic with the fact that she’s still here!  Chris Roberts although about one-half my age was a role model for me.  During his four year stint as the Northlands Racing Manager we had many a heated battle and went without speaking for days at a time but in the end there was a mutual respect for the opposite positions we represented.  His overall knowledge of how the business works coupled with the general savvy and intelligence that he brought to the table was always welcomed.  We constantly communicated on racing matters and since his departure we keep in contact albeit only via telephone from his post at Casino Nova Scotia where in addition to running the place he considers himself a “crack” marketing guy.

Again, thank you all for the opportunity to have guided the day to day operations of this Association for the past 12 years.  I appreciate the Board’s recognition and presentation to me on May 27 in the Northlands Winner’s Circle.   I wish our Horsemen the best of racing luck and I personally will continue to participate as a fan, customer and owner.

Please welcome incoming Manager/Executive Director – Darrell Bauder.  I am confident that he will advocate for the best interests of the HBPA Alberta and will do a great job for the Association.  I will assist him in the transition as required.

Lastly, Denise Portman who started when I did as our Office Administrator, also retires on May 31, 2017.  She has been an integral part of the office running effectively and efficiently.

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