The absolute of South by Southwest (SXSW) is that the one thing you can count on is that you are never going to get a taxi, even when you’ve called ahead for one. I in no way blame this on the cabbies of Austin; it’s just that with an extra bajillion revelers in town, it’s almost impossible to land a ride. So when I had to get from my hotel to meet up with the Brand Ambassadors at Auditorium Shores before yesterday’s concerts began, the taxi I had ordered was nowhere to be found.
Forty minutes later, there was still no cab. Hmm, okay, no cab; but a pizza delivery guy? Yeah, he was at the hotel. So after a brief negotiation period, I and four other SXSW-ers piled into the pizza guy’s van and hopped a ride downtown. Safe? Probably not. Random awesome adventure? Definitely! I was going to get a photo of the gang in the pizza van to prove it, but I don’t want to get the driver in trouble, especially when he was so nice to help some stranded concertgoers out.
So, anyhoodle, the awesome pizza dude dropped us off on Congress Ave., and I hoofed it on over to Auditorium Shores to help the ambassadors get the ABRV set up for the big day. Gates opened at 3 p.m., but by 2 p.m. this is what the line to get in looked like.
And people were still streaming toward the venue – Friday’s crowd was definitely going to be huge and lively.
Clearly, we were going to have to be on our A-game today. So one of our ambassadors, Jose Contreras, warmed up on the Equicizer while I decided to, um, check out some of the other equipment.
I like how Jose looks like he’s been galloping horses since childhood while I look like I just escaped the local funny farm.
Finally, it was time for the venue to allow fans in; it kind of reminded me of when the gates open on huge race days in that people sprinted to get the best spots available. But what was truly awesome is that a lot of people – people who had been waiting hours to get into Auditorium Shores – didn’t go straight to the stage to stake out a place. Instead, they headed to the ABRV to see what was going on. To me, that’s pretty incredible!
As people stopped by the ABRV, we told them about horse racing and our amazeballs Kentucky Derby giveaway, which you should definitely sign up for here. The ambassadors had iPads with info for everyone, and we were swamped all day. It got to the point that other ambassadors from other sponsors came to try to poach our crowd; I had to shoo away the folks from the Texas Lotto about four times.
I mean, when I say we were busy, I mean it. People were super interested to find out what we were doing and to learn about the great game of horse racing. It was really, really fun to talk to so many curious people who were really stoked to hear about the sport from fans their own age.
Also, the Miller Lite Ambassadors from yesterday swung by again and brought their friends. They were really excited about horse racing and were OBSESSED with the Equicizer.
Also, I may have learned the greatest secret of life this weekend; and I will share it with you, my loyal readers: He who has a horsey mask shall rule the world. Don’t believe me? Check this action out:
Y’all, we went through a lot of Lysol wipes cleaning the insides of those things out yesterday.
Our ambassador John Cox even got into the spirit of things, donning a mask and posing for photos while telling people about all of the action leading up to and including the Triple Crown.
All in all, it was a seriously great day and the whole team loved talking to people who really hadn’t known much about horse racing before.
I’ll leave you with a couple more photos of the action around the ABRV and I’ll have lots more for you tomorrow. Thanks as always for stopping by, and hope to see you at the ABRV soon!