Each October, more than 55,000 students from across the United States and even down in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries converge on downtown Indianapolis. The National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention offers three full days of activities, tours, and booths. This year, the Indiana Standardbred Association partnered with the U.S. Trotting Association, the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation to offer a booth filled with information about Standardbred racing.
The booth was part of the convention center set-up for the students to walk through between sessions of the schedule. The harness racing booth included giveaways, information on how many people are employed by one racehorse, different facets of the business, and the most popular stop, the virtual reality race bike.
The virtual reality race bike is a standard sulky with lines attached to a stand back to the seat. Individuals can sit on the bike while wearing the virtual reality goggles that simulate driving a horse in a race. Students interacted with the new device and enjoyed getting a closer look at what it takes to drive a racehorse.
The booth also included plastic horse legs and kids raced against one another to see who could wrap a leg the quickest. The booth kept a map of the United States and placed a horsehead on every state to represent what students had interacted with the booth. The map had horse heads from 38 states by the end of the third day of the convention.
In addition to the convention, both racetracks in Indiana provide tours for several groups each year. Kids come to the track during their down time from learning to enjoy seeing the backstretch of each track as well as learning about different jobs available in racing.