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As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful on what we buy and where we buy it.  With the sport of chuckwagon racing put on hold for 2020, support from fans and local businesses will be key for racing to return in 2021.

Growing up we became accustomed to paying the price of a ticket or admission to watch our favorite sport or event. For some people that ticket purchase turned into a social gathering with family or friends.  For others the price of admission was the gateway to networking opportunities or just the experience and thrill of cheering on their favorite team. 

On a Sunday afternoon in June the race season has yet to reach it's halfway point but the momentum is already building for what lies ahead.  With tickets pre-purchased, you and your family like you do every year make your way to the racetrack.  As you walk through the gate, music plays in the distance and gets louder as you approach the grandstand where your seat awaits your arrival.
Sitting comfortably with your family and friends along side, you stare off into the distance and observe the liners and barns with hundreds of horses that make up the WPCA Pro Tour.  Without warning the music suddenly stops and the track announcer begins to welcome you to the races.  He then follows up by recognizing some of the companies who have financially supported the event.  Following the announcers voice you observe some of the company banners displayed in the infield along with all the fans who have joined you today to experience the western heritage.  For most, they don't realize the important part they play and will play in the future.
The first heat of wagons enter the track from the backstretch gate and make their way towards the infield.  The outriders and their horses enter the infield and await the arrival of the wagons they will team up with for race 1. The track announcer introduces each driver by name and just as important the company on their wagon tarp who has invested to advertise their company to you with the the goal that you or someone you know will support their business.  Most advertisers understand the importance and impact their support makes on the sport and the equine athletes.
As the wagons and horses approach the infield the jingle of the harness gets louder. The wheels on the wagons spin and the dirt gets kicked up as the wagons and horses round the top barrel. Now the electricity and adrenaline starts to build and the sound of the horn and roar of the crowd are just moments away.

You experienced it in 2019, you lived it in 2018 and for some people it has become a part of their life every year prior. But suddenly in 2020 it all came to an end.  Now with the return to racing in 2021 an everyday focus and restrictions related to Covid-19 likely affecting things in some form, now more than ever the support of fans and businesses will play an important role in the sports future.
Most people have come to expect advertisements on wagon tarps, infields and even on competitors jackets or shirts but do their importance really resonate with the fans in the stands? Advertising dollars often assist with the costs of community events contributing to and supporting the structures that house so many local activities and events.
The sustainability of community events like chuckwagon racing rely on 2 main sources of revenue to operate. Ticket sales (fan support) and sponsorship (business support)
In the case of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association, when you buy a ticket to the show, sponsor the event or a wagon tarp your investment is going back into the sustainability of that event and the sport. The revenue generated from ticket sales and sponsorship helps the host committee operate and helps drivers care for their horses.  That's right, when you invest in the sport it has a positive trickle down affect into the equine athletes.

With COVID-19 restrictions still in affect, chuckwagon racing is now forced to get creative in an effort to generate revenue. Gaming has long been a major factor in horse racings success.  The connection with governments along with the revenue generated from handles (betting) or where applicable slot play at casinos have been crucial for horse racing, however, chuckwagon racing is not in the same position. 
So now the importance of fans and sponsors becomes even greater and with one year already cancelled the sport faces a lot of questions and uncertainties. Are fans prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the Western Heritage alive?  Are local businesses prepared to support these events in their communities and the wagon drivers who have continued to care for their horses with no direct revenue coming in?  Are people committed to supporting local businesses who support the events they have grown to love?
The process is very simple.  How can businesses help?  Support the local committees who are trying to host events and the wagon drivers who will proudly display your company brand.
How can you as a fan help?  Buy a ticket to the event or a subscription if it's livestreamed or televised.  Take notice of the companies who advertise on tarps, on the radio, on the website or at the event and support those businesses when you need the products and services they offer. Encourage your family and friends to do the same.

As consumers we have so much power to change the world and affect the events we are passionate about.  That is why fan and business support will be another key in the Return to Racing strategy for 2021.




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