There's this Canadian guy named Dave Erickson, and he lives within earshot of the pounding waters of the famous Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Dave has been around harness horses for most of his life, but Tuesday night, he decided to take the ultimate plunge. No, he did not go over the falls in a barrel, he entered the mega-awesome Team Allard Yearling Yearling Giveaway -- and he won the grand prize! Now, as a result of the contest that seemed to good to be true, Team Allard has acquired a brand new team member.
Get out! Really? Someone actually won? YES! We told you a thousand times that someone would.
The best part of it all is that Dave Erickon has always wanted to be a part of Team Allard, but as far as the contest was concerned, he waited until the last few minutes before the drawing deadline to win the opportunity to own 5% interest in one of two yearlings. He had to choose. Which yearling did he choose? Hold on there, folks. We'll get to that in a few minutes. Keep reading.....
"I entered by fluke," said David Erickson, a native of Oshawa who owns and operates a deck and fencing business in the Niagara Falls area.
"I was probably the last person to join. I had read about the contest for weeks because I follow Rene Allard and Simon in all of their races. For some reason that I can't explain, I entered the contest at about 6:30 pm which was right before the seven o'clock cutoff. When my name was announced, I almost....well let's just say that was really, really surprised. It was unreal. I've known about the contest all along and enjoyed reading about it on the Team Allard website. I follow the Allards. They're a blast to watch and they're great for the business. I decided at the last minute to enter my name and email. I think Rene is great and I also think he's great for harness racing...and he's a proven winner too."
How about that, folks? We told you the contest was insanely for real, and while thousands listened and read our stories about it, there were only about 700 of you who entered. The reason why we didn't get an entry from EVERYONE is quite obvious -- it all seemed too good to be true, right? But, like we told you, it was 100% true, and now Dave Erickson is the beneficiary of his gut instinct -- even though his gut instinct waited until the last minute to enter.
The drawing was exciting too. Prior to the Grand Prize -- presented to you by Team Allard's Director of Publicity, Ryan Macedonio on live streaming video -- several other super prizes were drawn by people like Simon Allard and his mom Danielle. Even Marcus Miller joined in and picked the random ticket that won some lucky contestant an awesome gift bag from Blog Talk Radio's "POST TIME WITH MIKE AND MIKE."
There were also 8 Consolation prizes offered up to anyone who signed up.
Brian Sears Hall Of Fame Memoribilia - Nicole Thayer
Set of Tim Tetrick Racing colors - Trevor Frizzell
New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Gift Bag - Kathy Edwards
SLS Equine Custom Halter & Browband - Jamie Secrist
Post Time with Mike and Mike Gift Bag - Shannon Stordy
Set of Louis-Philippe Roy driving colors - Arlene Hess
Team Allard Custom Winter Jacket - Gary Zinderman
Rosecroft Potomac Pace Memoribilia - Simon Simard
Finally, when it was time for the Grand Prize drawing, George Napolitano Jr, the leading driver at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, fresh from the Winner's Circle, reached into a bag of tickets and pulled out the winning ticket. The number on the ticket corresponded with the number assigned to Dave Erickson. Instantly, Dave became part of the team -- BUT -- he still had to choose between 5% ownership in a yearling filly by Sweet Lou or a yearling colt by Bettor's Delight. So....which did he choose? We already told you to wait a few minutes, so hold on.
Naturally, the yearling contest attracted a lot of harness fans and horsemen alike, and if Team Allard's goal with this contest was to generate some publicity, they couldn't have stumbled up a more suitable winner. Dave is not only a fan, he's a horseman too. Seems as though Dave Erickson has harness racing roots, and he has worked in the past as groom and a trainer...and a fan.
"I grew up as a kid with Paul MacDonell and I worked for his father," Dave said.
" When Paul went out on his own I worked for him too. I got out of the harness business for a few years and then got back in again with Tom Rankin under his head trainer Pat Hunt. I was a groom and then a trainer. Now I own a fencing company because it pays better. I build decks and fences for a living, but every night and day I watch harness racing via computer which is why I am a huge fan of Rene Allard.
"Not in any particular order, my three favorite horses of all time are a horse I groomed named Cavans Jovial and then of course, Somebeachsomewhere, and Foiled Again."
Dave Erickson continued:
"I have actually been hemming and hawing over fractional ownership for two years. I talked to a few people but I sat on the fence about making a decision. I looked at other partnerships, but it was Rene Allard's team that interested me the most. I was even going to email Rene about buying in on a horse, and now I won one."
So, which yearling did Dave choose? Did he choose the filly or the colt? We thought you'd never ask.
"I took the Bettor's Delight colt Bettor's Account," said Dave. "I have no doubt that Sweet Lou will have an impact as a sire and that's a nice filly, but I just couldn't get away from the colt's pedigree. I remember Bettor's Delight, Delinquent Account, Artiscape, and now there's Big Town Hero and other foals. I also figure that the colt will probably race in Ontario, so we can get out to watch him and enjoy the ride."
Okay. so there you go, folks. The new team member is not only knowledgeable about horses and horsemanship, he's also a humongous harness racing fan.
Before we ended our interview, Dave Erickson said that he wanted to add one last thing. This is what he said.
"I want people to know that....well it's just a huge thank you to Rene and all of Team Allard. Those boys are a blast to watch, great for the business, and easy to follow because they are ALWAYS IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE!"
Yes, Dave Erickson was THAT enthusiastic, and it's that kind of enthusiasm that got him to enter the contest. Let that be a lesson to all you folks who didn't enter. That's just a joke. Team Allard appreciates everyone who appreciates great harness racing -- win or lose. But, for all of you who did enter - to the prize winners and to those who didn't win a prize -- your continued support is always appreciated by Team Allard.
Thank you, and good luck next time.