Several entities came together Friday, Feb. 3 to discuss ways to enhance and promote the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit (ISFC) for the upcoming season. Members of the Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA), fair representatives, Indiana Standardbred Breed Development, and members of the Indiana Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) met to share ideas and prepare in advance of the summer circuit.
Tony Renz, Executive Director of ISA, led the meeting and provided the group with several handouts to compare ways to take the ISFC to the next level. The group is looking at yard signs for each individual fair both before and during racing at each location.
In addition to yard signs, the group discussed possibilities for billboards, flyers, posters and other forms of advertisement within a specified budget. Also, various publications were explored for advertising with samples brought in by John Wilson, ISA Director. Renz noted that live streaming of all races will return and has been a popular option of fair racing in recent years.
Emily Dever, ISA Director, also noted that ISA has their own oculus, which is a virtual reality headgear worn by fans while sitting on a race bike. She noted the option to bring this attraction to some of the fairs as a way to engage those in attendance during the ISFC.
Other forms of promotions that have been popular in past years is the “Pick a Winner” buckets utilized at some fairs, starting gate rides, and possible expansion of audio/visual coverage with the announcer, Rick Uppal. It was also noted the expanded work USHWA members have provided, particularly Ellen Taylor and James Platz. They have done extra work to promote fair racing through press releases, track record data, and other forms of support. Platz noted they plan to continue what they did last season and can expand with slight modifications as needed.
Ambassadors for each fair were named last season and the group hopes to continue this program in 2023. Also, talk of providing an individual focused on social media was discussed, and the hashtag for the “Quest4GovCup” or a variation of it will be brought back this year.
Those in attendance for the ISFC meeting included Dr. Alan White, John Wilson, Doug Rideout, Carrie Hollman, Julie Rideout, Jane Ann Runyon, Ellen Taylor, Joyse Bannister, Jessica Barnes, Emily Dever, Tony Renz, and James Platz. The group plans to meet a few more times before the ISFC gets underway in June.