They say in life you win some; you lose some.
It turns out both are worth the experience. It’s all about taking risks. It’s about living in the moment.
That’s the beauty of harness racing at Grand River Raceway, especially if you have Bob McClure beside you.
Last June, McClure and I met for the first time. We were paired for the inaugural media race, where other journalist-type fools like myself braved our first ride in a sulky and held on for dear life while an experienced driver and horse (going way faster than I wanted to believe possible) took us around the track to the finish line.
We were hell bent for leather to win – and we did, the first time we raced together (and by racing together I mean he did all the work: I got all the credit). It was a life changing moment, to be sure.
Strike that off my bucket list.
Well, last Friday night McClure and I defended our title and lost. We held on to the bitter end and then it all fell apart. But losing should not be that much fun. And I promise you I had a way better time than anyone else on that track. McClure is the reason.
Sometimes you meet someone and you just click. I can’t explain the connection; I can only say that McClure and I have the kind of chemistry that won’t get us divorced, but could certainly get us kicked out of a bar.
Our dynamic duo repeat almost didn’t happen for this race. Unbeknownst to the organizers, they had split up the dream team. Someone in charge was simply unaware of how vital this partnership was to my racing future (cough).
The drama unfolded on social media, as I broke the news to my racing partner that we were not to repeat our victory.
Well, McClure wasn’t about to let me down. It’s best we don’t know what reins he pulled to make it happen, but suffice it to say, we ended up in matching suits, side by side in the sulky, destined to repeat our race. And while the footage shows us last to cross the finish line, I assure you I won in all the ways that matter. I have the goofiest photos to prove it.
Thanks to the beauty horse “Echos Black Dress,” I now fully appreciate the expression “eat my dust,” because I am still chewing on bits of gravel from wearing a ridiculous grin as we ripped around the track.
If this is what losing feels like, I’m good with it. No, I’m great with it.
Right at this moment, McClure is likely in a barn surrounded by his racing peers, no doubt being tormented for all that I’ve just said about him, but I’m confident he can take it. You see, what I’ve come to learn in our brief encounters is that McClure is a rebel’s rebel.
Fearless, charmingly confident, and nothing short of unpredictable: in other words, really good at what he does. It takes a certain kind of person to harness race (read: daredevil). You may not understand the sport, but if you’ve braved it, you most definitely respect those who live it.
You’re a class act, McClure. Good things are coming your way. Bet on it.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.