Menu

News and Updates

The latest on #OntarioHorseRacing (It's January)

Sunday, 13 January 2013 22:16

Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC Speaks on the strength of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry and Slots at Race Track Program Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC Speaks on the strength of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry and Slots at Race Track Program

Since March I have been a behind the scenes advocate for Ontario Horse Racing's plight in working towards an improved relationship with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), Government of Ontario, the collective Slots at Racetrack Program and ultimately a sustainable horse racing industry in the Province of Ontario.

After a recent post on facebook, a friend of mine wrote: "…I fail to see what slots and casinos have to do with horse racing. If the industry cannot survive without alternative devious means of separating gamblers from dollars then it's all over. Ponies are not slots and black jack. If the OLG et. al. are addicted to gambling profits they should just say so and stop trying to suggest they are supporting a horse racing industry that no longer exists."

This viewpoint is quite common (as in a lot of people have it…), especially those that haven't really delved into storied affair.

Here was my response… as an outsider that has been following the situation pretty close. This article is more of an opinion piece with sources listed...

Ontario Horse Racing generates 61 Million annually for 17 Municipalities directly from SARP Ontario Horse Racing generates 61 Million annually for 17 Municipalities directly from SARP

The Horse Racing Industry was viable and self-sufficient. Then the OLG regulated themselves to do slots. They wanted to do them in rural areas. They went to the tracks and struck a deal so they could ease them into the municipalities at minimal overhead. The deal was great all around. 10% for the horsemen, 10% for the track building (managing the joint property, etc.), 5% to the host municipality. Some of the smaller tracks in the chain had their purses up to 90% of their 10%, and that's where the perception of "slots paying for racing" came from… But, they were racing before. The only change was that the money increased, and then the overall industry increased.

After the big announcements and the uproar of the initial claw back of the Slots at Racetrack Program (SARP), the government then said, "ok, let's take another look at this and see how we can make it hurt less (though, not reinstate in its entirety)". Their own panel/team found that in addition to many areas for improvement, "The panel concluded that a viable, world-class industry requires public investment, though substantially less than the industry has received from SARP", and stated that they could not find a successful model in the world that didn't work without government support.

Ontario Horse Racing Generates 1.1 Billion Dollars for the Province Ontario Horse Racing Generates 1.1 Billion Dollars for the Province

But it's like any other investment. The OLG Cut a cheque for 1.9 Billion Dollars to Ontario in 2009-2010. 60% of that came from Slots at Racetrack (their 75% of share less their own expenses).

The OLG paid $345 Million (in the 25% local share) to generate that 1.1 Billion. Plus the Ontario Horse Racing Industry is an industry that employs 30,000 full time and with part-time upwards of 60,000... all contributing to the overall system through taxes, gdp, etc., to the tune of 2 Billion Dollars.

Of the 345 Million, 1/5'th of that went right to the local municipalities. 61 Million dollars a year to the communities hosting the Slots.

Most importantly, that money isn't tax dollars. It's a share of what was lost in someone's gambling bet. It is a fee paid to the horse industry, the venue and the town for hosting the machines in conjunction with their business...in their business. 

Where the matter is starting to bubble is this: The tap is turned off. The OLG's Modernization Plan is to move the slots into Bingo Halls as "imitation slot machines" (and are). The Head of the OLG is allegedly an investor in Casino's coming to Canada from the US, and one of the OLG's directors is the owner of a chain of Bingo Halls. Recently announced, the percentage parlayed at the Bingo.... 25% to the OLG. 47% to the Hall. 25% to the Local Charity. 3% to the Municipality. These numbers are not remotely close to what the OLG and hence the Province was collecting from SARP. 

Politically, the decision makers are the biggest ones to benefit from their decisions (the definition of conflict of interest) and INSTEAD OF THE OLG GETTING 75% OF THE ACTION, THEY'RE TAKING 25%. If it was dollars for dollars, they are creating their own shortfall.

SARP is the only OLG Facility showing growth SARP is the only OLG Facility showing growth

Big Ontario Casinos are losing money (the four run by other parties), and the government run ones are flatlining (no growth).

Back to the horses... they have to revamp their industry, and are not getting a fair shake. They have many of their own problems…they need to be more transparent, market more to drive new consumers to tracks and Off-Track-Betting, generate new revenue streams and so forth… 

…but to pause and highlight where they are in this process....

The Government Panel is recommending that the Government just cut the industry a cheque (a larger one than the Government already offered). From whatever, just the coffers. So, the Government now wants to pay with Tax Dollars, as opposed to a "house commission" (my own term) on a gambling loss, that is government endorsed, in a joint venture, that generates large revenue for the Province in addition to the other local benefactors.

So, it's like sad story, conspiracy, politics all at once. It's an Industry that employs many, contributes lots and was fine until the OLG came to them. Now they're getting the rug pulled out from under them, and as it unfolds it becomes apparent.... all for the wrong reasons.

The Government Panel sees the value in correcting it. The value it contributes. They see the need

Lastly, why the pressure needs to be kept on... it's working, kind of. The one liberal candidate would carry the minister title that would oversee this. The other parties are beginning to quote the real truths. But the action has to happen now. Leases are up on one of the major tracks. The initial announcement cut the breeding season in almost half by volume and by revenue. They're fire sale-ing. And if the dollars were a dollar-for-dollar transition.... The OLG is now poised to generate a minimum of 50% less factoring in the Horse Take vs. Bingo and Casino Take (and not the existing super-casino downward performa's). All of this, when the tap was shut off for the wrong reasons, instead of fixing the problems., and with the main reason being: Ontario needs to cut spend. Sure. Cut Spend. But do what you can to maintain Revenue Generation.

It affects us all... Check out this video where I look at how it affects the local municipality, the equine community and the Ontario Taxpayers.

The deadline is fast approaching... contact your MPP to ensure it's top-of-mind. Talk to anyone you know in Horse Racing and tell them to speak out... work together. The biggest issue right now in the Horse Racing Community:

  • Very few are vocal, active or helping to raise awareness or drive towards a successful solution
  • The Government created a model, and it needs to be tweaked and counter-offered.  A collective bargaining unit of all parties (drivers, trainers, back track employees, breeders, owners, gamblers, race tracks, associations, commissions, etc.) need to decide what works collaboratively, and make it a one-step process
  • Parties need to stop negotiating their own deals without the entire Industry considered
  • The battle is with PR and Critics, not other Industry Members (ie. ORC vs. OHRIA vs. OHHA vs. the world, etc.)

As we look to the NHL and their new working arrangement, it took months of group vs. group mediation and negotiation. Here... we have too many groups working in too many directions... and no more time on the clock.

My Ontario includes Ontario Horse Racing... this could be the dawn of a re-birth and even greater success, similar to when SARP was introduced. But it is going to take the Industry, the Government and the Taxpayers to jointly work on the entity to earn great dividends for all.

 

Movie Review: Cowboy Spirit

Sunday, 13 January 2013 19:30

Cowboy Spirit: The MovieCowboy Spirit tells the story of a guy who lives the city life that has strong country roots and a "cowboy code" he lives by.  These virtues are passed down by his Grandfather, and he has a steadfast barometer of right and wrong.

Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Daylon Swearingen Starring as the Grandson Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Daylon Swearingen Starring as the Grandson

As we meet the lead character and the story develops, the relationships are very real in the manner that the country vs. city backgrounds clash.

Knowing the plot before it starts, it seems a little far-fetched; the guy has to ride a bull for a near-improbable pay-off to save a girl's life.  But as the components of the plot are introduced, it becomes very believable.

There's a bit of a love-triangle story twist as well, that seemed a little contrived in the onset, but added subtext to add this movie to the genre of modern-day western.  It also made it easy to have angst for the antagonistic characters.  

Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Bull Riding to Save a Girl's Life Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Bull Riding to Save a Girl's Life

There are a couple of cameo appearances that really add sizzle, and depth. 

Overall, it is a good movie.  

What made it special for me was knowing a lot of the extras and the writer, and seeing the writer playing a role as well.  Knowing that this project has been a long-time dream of his, and the context is something dear to him, I was happy to see it unfold.

Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Two Ladies with Differing Opinions... Always fun for a Bull Rider Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Two Ladies with Differing Opinions... Always fun for a Bull Rider

This is definitely an independent film.  Some of the shots become a little distracting (i.e. the subject is almost always centred), some of the lighting is inconsistent across some scenes (i.e. indoor scenes with some odd shadowing), the soundtrack gets a little "out there" as the movie jumps from past to present and back again, but the storyline is strong enough to keep the view riveted through some of the anomalies.

Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Riding to save this girl's daughter's life Cowboy Spirit: The Movie - Riding to save this girl's daughter's life

The story was ambitious, but it became sequentially believable.  It's Independent Cinema, but there is some great work along the way.  

I think "Modern Day Western" fits, and the message is delivered well.  I enjoyed watching it end-to-end without pause, and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys movies with cowboys, horses, bulls, strong values, and heart-wrenching drama.

4-Stars!

 


 

Cowboy Spirit: The Movie"Ted has it all, a great job, a beautiful fiance, and a wonderful life ahead of him, but a twist of fate leads him to rely on the lessons he learned in the summers of his youth with his grandfather - a former champion rodeo cowboy. To save a dying young girl, he must make the ride of a lifetime."

Filmed on location at All-American and Rawhide Rodeo Company events in the United States, including some great picturesque backdrops, this film features a number of our rodeo family throughout.

Check out the trailer... but you're probably going to want to rent or buy it to watch it in its entirety... over and over again!

Starring: Jenna Laurenzo, Rich Manley and Ayla Brown, Cowboy Spirit is the story of One Man, One Child, and Once Chance.



More Cowboy Spirit:

Official Website
Buy the DVD on Amazon

 

Settled on Ad Design for Rodeo Announcer Advertorial

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 03:12

Hybrid Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully - Sole Tweet and Advertorial - Black and White Hybrid Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully - Sole Tweet and Advertorial - Black and White

I completed the Advertorial project.  The final piece ended up being black and white, and the final design was a hybrid of Ad #1 - The Sole Tweet and Ad #2 - The Advertorial.  My fav of the series is the infographic one, but it didn't pop in black and white.

I'm still pretty stoked over how it turned out... even in black and white it seems pretty crisp.

The text content is from an article by Karen Dallimore that ran in Country Roots and a few other magazines and newspapers, however I shortened the article and reworked and refocused a few areas.

In addition to my Announcing and Sound offerings, I also am consulting on Social Media for Events and Brands.  This has been with great success: 50-75% increases of followers of event fan pages, and 70% of tweets stemming from the day I announced at a 3 day event and the before and after tweets... (over 7 days... 70% came from the night I hosted).  

It is always the most difficult to work on your own promotional pieces.  And if design is one of your offered skills... well it's more important than anything to showcase your skills in your own promo pieces.

Which of the four ads do you like best?  Please answer in the comments section.

 

 

Ad #1 - The Sole Tweet

Twitter Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC Twitter Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC

I like this one because it's kind of "artsy" and all encompassing of what I do in 140 characters.  Plus Twitter is my platform of choice.

 

Ad #2 - The Advertorial

Advertorial for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC Advertorial for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC

This one is good because it's a third-person written article that focuses on my announcing career.

 

Ad #3 - The Infographic

Infographic on Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC for Events and Brands Infographic on Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC for Events and Brands

Infographics are the "thing of the day"... this was my first stab at doing one.  I think it's kind of trendy, and it really drives home the additional services I provide.

 

Ad #4 - Hybrid

Hybrid Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully - Sole Tweet and Advertorial - Black and White Hybrid Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully - Sole Tweet and Advertorial - Black and White

This one won... and is a mix of two.  

Which one is your fav?  Answer below... 

 

 

New in Theatres and Favourite Movie Player: Cowboy Spirit - The Movie

Tuesday, 08 January 2013 02:25

Cowboy Spirit: The Movie"Ted has it all, a great job, a beautiful fiance, and a wonderful life ahead of him, but a twist of fate leads him to rely on the lessons he learned in the summers of his youth with his grandfather - a former champion rodeo cowboy. To save a dying young girl, he must make the ride of a lifetime."

Filmed on location at All-American and Rawhide Rodeo Company events in the United States, including some great picturesque backdrops, this film features a number of our rodeo family throughout.

Check out the trailer... but you're probably going to want to rent or buy it to watch it in its entirety... over and over again!

Starring: Jenna Laurenzo, Rich Manley and Ayla Brown, Cowboy Spirit is the story of One Man, One Child, and Once Chance.



More Cowboy Spirit:

Official Website
Buy the DVD on Amazon

   

A lil' Self Promotion

Monday, 07 January 2013 03:12

Three Ad Machs for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MCRecently I was tasked in designing an ad for myself in a magazine.  It would be much easier to fill out a form on a dating site... 

Marketing 101 dictates to understand your market, the platform, and join the two together... or something like that.  I slept through most of my Marketing courses, but I learned something like that through osmosis, I guess.

Which of the three ads do you like best?  Please answer in the comments section.

Ad #1 - The Sole Tweet

Twitter Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC Twitter Ad for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC

I like this one because it's kind of "artsy" and all encompassing of what I do in 140 characters.  Plus Twitter is my platform of choice.

 

Ad #2 - The Advertorial

Advertorial for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC Advertorial for Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC

This one is good because it's a third-person written article that focuses on my announcing career.

 

Ad #3 - The Infographic

Infographic on Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC for Events and Brands Infographic on Professional Rodeo Announcer: Joe Scully, ProRodeo MC for Events and Brands

Infographics are the "thing of the day"... this was my first stab at doing one.  I think it's kind of trendy, and it really drives home the additional services I provide.

With all of the design I do, it's always my own stuff that is the most difficult.  Gotta run... gotta snap a self-portrait in the washroom mirror.... nay.