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COVID-19 MANAGEMENT LIKELY A KEY FOR RETURN TO RACING

The Covid-19 pandemic caused the disruption of many professional sports around the world, and to varying degrees, sporting events were either postponed or canceled completely.  Now with planning for 2021 underway and Covid-19 still classified as a pandemic, Covid-19 Management will likely be a key factor for wagon racings Return to Racing.

March 2020 changed the lives for millions of people when an infectious disease called COVID-19 was recognized as a global pandemic. The disease began to affect peoples health, their jobs and local community events.
For the equine industry, the season for training horses and scheduled events was about to begin and the pandemic could not have hit the horse community at a worse time.  Suddenly events were postponed, canceled or facing severe restrictions with only those people directly involved in horse care permitted to attend barns or events.

With upwards of $50,000.00 in horse care expenses on the horizon, most WPCA drivers pursued additional income opportunities to make up for lost revenue related to the care of their horses.
Along with the drivers, the outriders also took a financial hit but the impact of COVID-19 didn't stop there.  Committees who traditionally host events were impacted and the businesses who operate in those communities also suffered.
Chuckwagon racing fans also felt the impact and many have expressed how they missed a sport they have grown to love. Some of those fans have already expressed their commitment to do whatever it takes to be able to watch the WPCA in 2021.  WPCA driver Troy Dorchester has witnessed it.  "A guy came up to me last week and said he would wear a mask if that's what it took for him to watch wagon racing again." said Dorchester.
For Dorchester if wearing a mask is what is required so he can race then he's all for it.  "It's a small price to pay to do what you love to do" says Dorchester. "I'm sure some guys won't like it and maybe there will be some that won't race. I'm not sure."
What things will look like from a Covid-19 regulations standpoint in 2021 is uncertain, however, one thing for certain is venues hosting events will likely need to follow some kind of guideline or protocol. 
Some WPCA race venues have already started the rebuild process by hosting events under Covid-19 regulations. Century Downs Racetrack and Casino has been hosting horse racing since July under specific restrictions both trackside and behind the barns.  The Strathmore Stampede has hosted a number of smaller events while enforcing COVID-19 restrictions and Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie has been hosting horse racing as well.  Medicine Hat has also hosted small events with safety protocols in place.

With the 2021 race season 8 months away, the 2020/2021 off season will look quite different than most. What that looks like may change weekly but what we do know is Covid-19 management by all those involved will likely play a factor in the Return to Racing.

 

 

 

 

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