Equestricon Organizers Walk The Barns To Encourage Attendance From Backstretch Workers

Organizers of Equestricon hit the Saratoga backstretch this week to encourage backstretch workers and Spanish speakers to attend the upcoming convention, which will be hosted at the Saratoga Springs City Center Aug. 13-15. The convention features two events specifically aimed at backstretch workers: a seminar from the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.) detailing services available to barn workers, and a panel titled ‘Perspectives: Hispanic Leaders In Racing.'

The panel, featuring Fasig-Tipton's Ramiro Restrepo, retired jockey Ramon Dominguez, NYRA Spanish language race caller Luis Grandison, reporter Roberto Rodriguez, and chaplain Humberto Chavez, is sponsored by the Paulick Report en Espanol.

Dan Tordjman, co-founder of Equestricon, said the panel will likely be conducted in a mix of Spanish and English and video content from the seminar will also be available to Spanish speakers via B.E.S.T employees, many of whom speak Spanish.

“Our thought from the beginning with this event in general, we wanted to do two things: we wanted to shine a light on issues that don't often get talked about (and when they are talked about, they're talked about in closed rooms),” said Tordjman. “Our second objective was to keep our price point low enough to where everyone had access to the space.

“We still realize there are people who might have $25 but it might not be feasible for them to spend it on this. We wanted to make sure people were not shut out because of pricing, specifically backstretch workers, because we have a portion of our program that's dedicated to backstretch workers.”

Tordjman, Dominguez, Chavez, and B.E.S.T. program representatives hit the barn area Tuesday distributing tickets to Spanish speakers, encouraging them to attend the event. The response was positive, and feedback suggested many barn workers were making plans to come to Equestricon. Interested workers received general admission passes or special passes giving them access to the panel and seminar.

“There were people who hadn't even heard of Equestricon, and I guess we weren't surprised by that,” said Tordjman. “I mean, they spend most of their day back there with very little time to look on Twitter and follow up on chatter about what people do with their leisure time.”

Tordjman said he hopes Equestricon's panel events, including the Spanish language events, will be freeform in structure, designed to spark a two-way conversation about industry issues. For Equestricon organizers, language accessibility is crucial both to the reach of the event and the validity of such a conversation for backstretch workers.

“Without getting too controversial about it, I think if we want to genuinely start a dialogue with people on the backstretch then we need to start in a setting that they are comfortable entering and in a language they are comfortable communicating in,” Tordjman said. “I think it only makes sense to ask them – what issues matter to you?”

Generally speaking, Tordjman said ticket sales are going well. To his surprise, $450 VIP passes and $125 panel passes have sold better than $25 general admission tickets thus far. Tickets are still available on the event's website.

The post Equestricon Organizers Walk The Barns To Encourage Attendance From Backstretch Workers appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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