In my public speaking class, we put together customized audience analysis surveys to gather public opinion about the topic we would be speaking about. I distributed mine not only for the intention of gathering information for my upcoming speech about the wonderful writer Steve Haskin, but also to see what my small class of 24 thought about horse racing. Granted, the sample size is tiny, but the results were a little sad, if not surprising.
Out of 24, 11 had never seen racing on television. 18 of them had never read about the sport in a newspaper, a fact that I think also illustrates my generation’s preference to Internet news over print sources.
Of the 13 that had seen a horse race on TV, 8 had only seen the sport once or twice. 3 had seen it three or four times, and just 2 had seen it five or more times.
All of the 6 that had read about the sport in the newspaper had only read about it once or twice.
Favorite sports in the class included swimming, baseball, gymnastics, cheerleading, softball, basketball, football, golf, soccer, tae kwon do, bowling, trapshooting, tennis, lacrosse, surfing, skateboarding, BMX, biking…the list goes on and on. None of the students answered horse racing.
When I asked if they had heard of any horses or people involved in the sport, 14 answered “none.” One answer elaborated, saying, “Nothing, I don’t really care about horseracing.”
Those who did answer said stuff like this:
“My aunt’s friend is a professional horse racer.”
“Kentucky Derby. Very important race.”
“Hear of horses through sister.”
“The track that Omaha has.”
“That Disney movie horse.”
“Sea Biscuit? I think”
“Only heard about the Kentucky Derby in the news.”
“I only hear about racehorses if I go to the races. Seabiscuit, because I saw the movie.”
“Seabiscuit the movie.”
“My parents bet on them.”
Keep pressing on, horse racing. Educate, inform, entertain, INSPIRE.