The one advantage of heading over to SXSW relatively early in the morning is that you can circumvent that whole can’t-find-a-cab problem that I was talking about in yesterday’s blog. I was delighted when I called for a taxi and, miraculously, it arrived in the promised 20 minutes. Unfortunately, I was also massively unprepared to leave since I was, after three days of South By, conditioned to expect cabs to be 30 minutes late or just not come at all. So I had to quickly chuck all of my tech toys into my carrier bag, throw on some sunscreen and run downstairs so that my precious taxi wouldn’t be poached by another person heading downtown.
Once on the road, I got a text from one of our Ambassadors requesting string or twine; it was super windy down at Auditorium Shores, and some of our signs and tents were apparently threatening to make a rather dramatic exit. So my extremely nice and accommodating cab driver whisked me away to the Dollar Store where I picked up a few variations of twine, and then away we went to the venue for another great day of teaching new fans about the best sport ever.
Before the gates opened, we had some time for just a little bit of fun. Ambassador John Cox had a turn on our trusty Equicizer.
I couldn’t help it; I had to climb on, too. It’s really, really fun – I am now considering how insane it would be to keep an Equicizer in my shoebox of a studio apartment back in NYC.
Then it was time for the gates to open! While there wasn’t a huge line queued up like Friday’s crowd, there was a steady stream of people coming out to enjoy a beautiful day of music and fun. And so many of those concertgoers had a blast talking to our ambassadors, donning jockey goggles, posing for photos with our props and learning about racing and all of the awesomeness surrounding it.
At one point in the afternoon, this guy on stilts came by to see what all the commotion surrounding the ABRV was about. He was a huge hit and delighted to pose for a few photos with the Ambassadors. It was so much fun!
And, as always, the horse-head mask was hugely popular.
I mean, people in Texas really do love horses:
And so many people were excited to sign up for our Kentucky Derby giveaway contest as well as just have some fun and learn a few things about horse racing.
Once again, as you can see, we were really, really busy all day; but at 4:45 I had to sneak out for one second to go see one of my favorite bands, Mofro, take the stage. They’re a Jacksonville-based band and they are so, so good. North Florida represent! (That felt good – I honestly get so few opportunities to say that.)
It was very cool to see them in person!
As the night wore on and the shows wrapped up, we tore down all of our equipment, put it back in the ABRV and got ready to leave Austin the next day. It had been an amazing weekend– a very busy one, but also a fantastic one.
The really great thing that I’ve seen these last few days at SXSW is that a huge group of people, most of whom have never been to a horse race, were super stoked to take time out of their concert schedule to stop, talk to the Ambassadors, ask questions about racing and have a little fun while they were at the ABRV. And after all, isn’t that what the new fans’ takeaway should be? Racing IS fun – it’s one of the best ways to spend a weekend afternoon with your friends: you get to be outside, you can dress up, you can bet, you can have a beer and a hot dog and have yourself a great time. I think a lot of people found that out this weekend, and I’m excited to see what comes next as the tour continues.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by, and I’ll be back with more Diaries when we hit Miami to spread the word about the Florida Derby!