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Life & The 74th Annual Little Brown Jug

September 27, 2019

“You'll seldom experience regret for anything that you've done. It is what you haven't done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it.” ― Wayne Dyer


I am the type of person who wants to do so many things.  There are so many places I want to see.  Experiences to enjoy.  Oftentimes, I make plans, then cancel because there’s too much “life” to deal with.  The mundane daily routines and commitments get in the way.  So it goes…  Come up with an idea, cancel at the eleventh hour anticipating stress.


For years, I had been wanting to go to The Little Brown Jug.  For those who may not know, since 1946, The Little Brown Jug is an annual race, held for three year old pacers, in Ohio.  In 1956, The Jug became the anchor race for the Triple Crown of Pacing.  Not being overly serious about following harness racing, I cannot pinpoint why The Jug was so appealing to me,  Maybe it was proximity and what I imagined it would be like (I had this thought it would be a lot like the Kentucky Derby).  Well, 2019 was the year.


I made plans with ROC the Standardbred VP, Sarah.  We’re horse poor, so we decided to take an extended day trip.  I mean, we’re old, but we could handle it, right?  (Cue Toby Keith’s “As Good As I Once Was.”)  That pendulum swung back and forth a couple of times.  We took turns trying to back out and talking the other person back into it.  Finally, just days before The Jug, we agreed that we’d be mad at ourselves for backing out and to just live life without the regret.


We woke up at 2:30 am Jug Day, on the road to Ohio by 3 am.  We pulled into The Delaware Co Fairgrounds around 10 am.  We were immediately struck by the small-town feel.  Harness racing has such deep roots at county fairs and The Jug isn’t any different.  What was drastically different from home, were the hundreds of people already lined up around the track.  Pop-up tents, folding chairs, grills, coolers and an eclectic crowd surrounded the track before the fair vendors were even open!  Campers were set up among the shedrows where people could get up close and personal with the racehorses.  How many big horse races can you go to and get that experience?


We found our way to the Fair Office where we elected for $45 grandstand seats.  Of course, we had to go full tourist and get the t-shirts, too.  We made our way to our seats, thumbed through our program and then the races kicked off.  We were truly impressed with the caliber of the horses out on the track that day.  One of my favorite things about the harness racing community is the laid-back, friendly vibe that exists.  But, what really blew us away during one of the first races…  Fans were actually standing up and cheering their picks on as they came to the finish line.  I mean, people were actually really into it.  We’re not used to that vibe at home!


It was a long, hot, dusty and expensive day.  We didn’t even stay to watch The Jug races because we had to get home.  But, we did it, we had a blast and we loved every single moment.  If you have a chance to go someday, I would certainly recommend it.  But, if The Little Brown Jug isn’t on your bucket list, make sure that you do something that is.  You won’t regret it.