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A Night at Churchill Downs

This year's competitor dinner function involved a lot of horsing around! By Brenna Fender

Over the years, USDAA has offered a variety of exciting evening functions at national events, including visits to the Alamo and the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame. Wednesday night's visit to Churchill Downs proved to be one of the most fun events yet.
Competitors started their evening with a brief tour of the grounds, including a stop in the Winner's Circle. Then they had time to check out the Kentucky Derby Museum to play with interactive exhibits and check out interesting displays.

A horse race game in the museum (the gray horse always loses, they say!).

Dinner was served at various stations, including a bar where you could pile your choice of toppings on mashed potatoes served in a glass. Delicious! While eating, diners were treated to a movie called The Greatest Race, which was shown "in the round" above the tables. This beautiful film treated the maximum-capacity crowd to an artsy behind-the-scenes look at the Kentucky Derby.
After the film, competitors participated in a fun game called "Place Your Bets" in which they were given play money to bet on real, recorded races.  

After the bets were placed, the race was shown and the crowded cheered for their horses just as though they were at a real race!  After three races, those with the most money were able to choose from an awesome selection of prizes including a Flip camera, a portable DVD player, an iPod, a Blu-ray player, and more. Those who weren't "in the money," cheered on their friends, sipped coffee, and enjoyed other parts of the museum. 

At the betting windows.

Go! Go! Go!

Competitors seemed to have a great time at the event, calling it one of the best competitor dinner functions in the history of Cynosport. Jane Burlison, who traveled from Arizona to this year's event, said, "This was the most fun I've had at a competitor dinner (although the comedian [in Arizona two years ago] was good too.) It was neat to see something new!" Indeed, it was great to get a taste of Kentucky's racing industry and enjoy the company of fellow USDAA competitors in a fun and relaxed environment. 

Jeri Berg dressed the part and enjoyed the evening.

All photos by Karen Moureaux,

Brenna Fender is the editor for the USDAA's subscriber services portion of the website.  She is also a freelance writer, wife, and parent of two dogs, two rabbits, and two children.  Please contact Brenna at with comments, questions, or submissions.


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