NORWOOD – After 25 years, Norwood's annual horse racing event has stalled at the starting gates.
“The marketing crew just couldn't get it to come together in time,” said Tamara K. Dargavel, president of the San Juan Horse Racing Association. “There is no blame, no shame. We'll just come back bigger and better next year.”
In April, the association announced that it might cancel the races, due to a lack of sponsorships and funding. Dargavel was still hoping that someone would step up to the plate, but the deadline for financial support came and went. The association had to make a decision so to allow racers and vendors enough time to make other plans, she said.
“We decided to put it out to pasture for one year,” Dargavel said.
The last-ditch effort, however, didn't go unrecognized.
Kevin Kell, owner of CoWest Insurance of Telluride, stepped up to the plate to help, Dargavel said.
“I got involved when I saw the story in The Watch,” on April 7, Kell said. “I have 30 years of business experience so, I thought I might be able to help [Dargavel] with corporate sponsors. At that time, she hadn't gotten any calls for help.”
Kell started contacting corporations with ties in the area.
“Unfortunately, trying to do something like that at the last minute with corporations is difficult,” he said. “You have to ask in October for the next calendar year.”
So, that’s what the association will do.
“We'll reorganize for next year, get a group together and send out letters to corporate sponsors this October so we can get on their list for next year,” Kell added.
Kell, who also is running for the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners, said he was disappointed to hear that the county couldn't do more to help, as the races are a benefit to county.
“The way the economy is, we can't afford to give up any of these events that can bring money into these communities, especially Norwood, which doesn't get the tourists that Telluride does,” he said. “It would benefit them through tax revenues and bring people in from out of town. You'd think they'd do anything they could to encourage that.”
Dargavel said the association currently is accepting donations and other support to gear up for a strong event next year. The association can be reached at 970/428-4100.