Greyhound Nation

John Parker and Michael Burns

Greyhound Nation is a podcast for Greyhound enthusiasts, produced by Greyhound enthusiasts. Each episode will feature informative discussions with a diverse variety of people from the Greyhound community. The format will include one-on-one interviews and moderated roundtable discussions. Topics will cover all aspects of the breed, including but not limited to sports, history, adoption, wellness and behavior. Host John Parker and producer Michael Burns invite you to join the “nation.” Learn more about the show at greyhoundnation.dog.
Steve Downs on Open Field Coursing in the U.S.
Episode 25: Recorded November 15, 2021 “I think of you as the Sir Mark Prescott of American coursing...”Host John Parker on Steve Downs and his involvement in coursing in the United States Show Notes Steve Downs is a fourth generation Greyhound man. His father's family hailed from California and became interested in hunting hares, also referred to as as jackrabbits in the United States. Steve caught his first hare around the age of five with the first Greyhound he could call his own, a black brindle named Felix. In 1990, Steve joined a friend for a coursing meeting sanctioned by the National Open Field Coursing Association (NOFCA). On this trip to Wyoming, he experienced coursing under rules for the first time with his Greyhound. Steve's favorite Greyhound at the time -- Sally -- won the hunt on his behalf. NOFCA, founded in the 1960s, established rules for walked-up coursing in the United States for most of the sighthound breeds. Steve would continue his involvement with the organization into the mid-2000s when he became a licensed judge for NOFCA coursing meetings. He also began to breed his own Greyhounds for open field coursing and developed a sense for the traits that made for excellent coursing dogs. In this episode, host John Parker and Steve discuss the history of open field coursing in the United States, including the evolution of NOFCA as a governing body for the sport. Steve shares his experiences as a breeder, a judge, and a competitor during the course of the interview.
2d ago
1 hr 14 mins
Gary Guccione: A Life in Greyhound Racing
Episode 24: Recorded September 23, 2021 “As long as I could reach the window to the ticket seller, I could place a wager…”Gary Guccione, talking about placing his first wagers at the Butte, MT Greyhound racing track Show Notes Gary Guccione’s life in Greyhound racing started in Butte, Montana. His father served as racing secretary and racing kennel owner at the Western Montana Kennel Club. One of his earliest memories was reaching up to the counter at a parimutuel window to place a wager on a Greyhound race. In one particular instance, his 3rd grade teacher, who was working a summer job as a parimutuel teller, happily took his wager. As it turned out, Gary’s wasn’t the only life impacted by Greyhound racing in Butte. In 1964, Gary traveled with his family to the Multnomah Kennel Club in Portland, Oregon where his father was racing some Greyhound puppies he had bred. Gary got to see some up-and-coming Greyhounds at the "puppy derby" that year — an event that served as the catalyst for the rest of his career. He enjoyed guessing the sire standings before they were published, upon which his father made a suggestion. “Why don’t you start tracking blood matron standings?” Gary took his father’s advice and started publishing brood matron standings for Racing Record in 1965. He left for college to earn a degree in journalism, during which time he also started writing articles for The Coursing News. His college summers were spent in various roles at the Black Hills Greyhound Track where his father had another racing kennel. In 1971, Gary went to work for the National Coursing Association (NCA), the predecessor the National Greyhound Association (NGA), in Abilene, Kansas. He met his wife shortly thereafter, and they decided to make Abilene their home. Gary continued to work for what had become the NGA. In 1982, he became executive director, secretary-treasurer and keeper of the Greyhound stud book. He would serve the NGA for many more years, eventually earning an induction into the Greyhound Hall of Fame in 2009. In this episode, host John Parker and Gary sit down to discuss his life in Greyhound racing. Gary shares his love of Greyhound racing and pedigrees, his experiences in assuring the integrity of Greyhound pedigrees and naming standards, and his early interactions with Greyhound adoption groups. Links National Greyhound Association (Website)Greyhound Hall of Fame (Website)Gary Guccione at the Greyhound Hall of Fame (Website)
Oct 8 2021
1 hr 10 mins
Greyhound Adoption Author Cynthia Branigan
Episode 23: Recorded August 17, 2021 "Gamal started to gallop, and King said, 'I know this -- I can run!'"Cynthia Branigan, on her first Greyhound's experience with Gamal, America's last diving horse Show Notes Cynthia Branigan took her first Greyhound, King (fka Low Key Two), to visit a very special horse, Gamal. Gamal was the last of the Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horses. When he was "retired" and put up for auction in 1980, Cynthia purchased him. She rescued King from an unhappy adoption situation in 1987. At the time, he was ten years old and quite depressed. However, he and Gamal realized they were kindred spirts and took to running like old friends. Cynthia, like many Greyhound people, is also a horse person. Actually, she's an animal person, having joined forces years ago with Cleveland Amory, the father of the modern animal protection movement and founder of The Fund for Animals. During her time with Cleveland, she ventured to the New Jersey Pine Barrens on a mission to save Gamal from slaughter by purchasing him at auction, an act that set the tone for her life to come. After adopting King in 1987, she was approached by a local shelter to help find a home for another Greyhound. She decided to set out on her own and started to find homes for Greyhounds in the New England area. In 1988, she founded the Greyhound adoption group Make Peace with Animals and has, to this day, rehomed over 5,500 Greyhounds. Her passion is more action than activism -- finding the right homes for animals like Gamal and King. She has also channeled her passion into writing, publishing two books on Greyhounds. One of those books, Adopting the Racing Greyhound, is in its third edition. Cynthia's latest book -- The Last Diving Horse in America -- retells the story of her quest to rescue Gamal from slaughter against the backdrop of her life in animal welfare. The Last Diving Horse in America will be published October 19, 2021. In this episode, Cynthia shares her passion for animal welfare and Greyhound adoption with host John Parker. Her stories include the rescue of Gamal, the founding of Making Peace with Animals, and what inspired her to write about Greyhounds and her very special equine friend. Links The Last Diving Horse in America (Amazon.com, pre-order)Adopting the Racing Greyhound (Amazon.com)Make Peace with Animals (Website)
Sep 23 2021
1 hr 3 mins
Bonus: Mr. Wilby’s Speech to the ChildrenFive Essays with Dennis McKeon
In my mind and memory, she is and always will be the blithest of greyhound spirits...The One Who Got Away, Dennis McKeon Show Notes Greyhound Nation went “on the air” as a brand new podcast for Greyhound enthusiasts on August 11, 2020. Our first guest was Dennis McKeon, a former racing Greyhound trainer and respected essayist on the breed. Since then, we’ve released over twenty episodes covering a variety of topics on the Greyhound breed. In our first year, we've sought to give voice to the Greyhound breed and its fans. We've also sought to educate those who want to learn more about Greyhounds. Our topics and guests have been international in scope and covered the gamut. British coursing. American amateur racing. Greyhound adoption and breed advocacy. Greyhound photography. In honor of our one-year anniversary, we invited Dennis McKeon back to the show to read some of his favorite essays about Greyhounds. Dennis writes about Greyhounds from his years of experience as a racing Greyhound trainer. His essays seek to bridge the gap between the American racing Greyhound experience and their life in retirement. We hope you enjoy Dennis' reading of the essays and continue to follow our podcast. There are many more destinations to explore in the Greyhound Nation. Here's to another year of Greyhound adventure, listeners. Links The Draft Dog and the Racing Gods (Facebook, public)Nobody Likes a Wet Dog (Facebook, public)The Handing Down (Facebook, public)The Top 5 Things that Greyhounds Care About and Don't Care About (Facebook, public)The One Who Got Away (Facebook, public)
Aug 20 2021
1 hr 1 min
Amateur Racing for Your Greyhound
"Track Greyhounds -- too much engine and not enough frame. But I am addicted to that speed."Michele Houghton, amateur Greyhound racing enthusiast Show Notes Michele Houghton had her first lure coursing experience in 1992. At the time, she had a kennel of nearly 40 Greyhounds. Michele loved the sport, but she soon realized that hard New England fields were better suited to smaller breeds than her Greyhounds. In 1998, she discovered amateur racing, and everything changed. Michele began racing her Greyhounds with Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA) clubs in New England. The organization blossomed in the mid 1990s. LGRA races are held on 200 yard flat and straight courses. The format is very user friendly for Greyhound pet owners and new adopters. Dr. Jennifer Ng also has a background in amateur racing. After adopting her first Greyhound in 2007, she sought out activities for her Greyhound in Camden, SC. Little did Jennifer know that one of those activities would set her first Greyhound on the path to a championship. Jennifer's first Greyhound ran in amateur track races with the National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA). NOTRA holds events at large fields and former racing training tracks around the country. Both NOTRA and LGRA races are rooted in fun competition and bragging rights for owners and Greyhounds. Trophies, ribbons, stuffed animals and glory await the winners of these races. In this episode, host John Parker sits down with Dr. Jennifer Ng and Michele Houghton to learn more about amateur racing for your Greyhound. Jennifer and Michele share their unique perspectives on the LGRA and NOTRA formats. They also share tips to help both Greyhounds adopters and puppy owners get their dogs involved in amateur racing. Links National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA)Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA)
Aug 4 2021
1 hr 10 mins
Bringing Famous Greyhound Stories to the Big Screen
"Like Alfred Hitchcock, I'd insist on appearing in a scene myself...the man walking behind the bookmakers."Charlie Blanning Show Notes Some of the best TV series and movies today bring a little known moment or person from history to the big screen. One could argue that author Charlie Blanning is a keeper of such stories from Greyhound history. Author of Please Mister: The Golden Age of Greyhound Racing, Charlie could easily recommend several such stories to a willing screenwriter. Take, for example, the story of Master McGrath, the famous Irish Greyhound that won the Waterloo Cup three times in four years. His coursing meetings regularly drew sixty thousand spectators from all strata of English society. Julian Fellowes, creator Downton Abbey, could very well base his next period piece on the rise of Master McGrath from runt of the litter to Waterloo Cup champion. There's the story of Snowflight, a greyhound raised in the 1880s in one of the poorest parts of England. Snowflight was raised by a poor farmer from the village Guide Post. She shows promise and makes her way to the Waterloo Cup where she wins it all. Her story doesn't end there, as she finds herself next in the hands of gamblers who have their eye on the next Waterloo Cup. Greyhound track racing has its share of famous stories suitable for the big screen. Mission Boy raced everywhere in America in the 1920s, often traveling by train to different venues. He had connections with the founder of the first Greyhound track in the United States, O.P. Smith. However, his real claim to fame was living out his retirement with American boxer Jack Dempsey. What more could you ask for in a miniseries or television series about a Greyhound in early 20th century America? In this episode, host John Parker explores these and other stories with guest Charlie Blanning. Charlie shares some of the most screenplay worthy anecdotes from his books on Greyhound history, coursing and track racing. They also have some good fun speculating about the casting for these moments in Greyhound history. Links Please Mister: The Golden Age of Greyhound Racing (Facebook)Please Mister: The Golden Age of Greyhound Racing (Amazon UK)
Jul 22 2021
1 hr 3 mins
The “Dean” of ASFA Lure Coursing
"I've never heard a Greyhound or any sighthound ever complain about the score the judge gave them."Dean Wright on the joy a Greyhound or sighthound gets from lure coursing Show Notes Dean Wright knows what drives a Greyhound or other sighthound to give chase at a lure coursing meeting. He's been lure coursing with the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) since the 1970s. He currently serves as president of the organization, which will celebrate 50 years of existence in 2022. Dean's love affair with the sport of lure coursing began with Ibizan Hounds in the 1970s. In that same decade, he would field his first Greyhound in ASFA trials -- a dog named after the famous STAR WARS droid, R2-D2. One of his best Greyhounds to participate in the sport was Fantasy, a compact and muscular Greyhound raised to course since she was a puppy. In 2022, Dean will complete his term as ASFA president. Though entries in the sport were waning in recent years, the COVID pandemic has spurred new interest in getting outdoors and participating in lure coursing meetings. AFSA clubs will need to educate new, young volunteers and competitors about the sport so that it may continue to thrive. In this episode, host John Parker and Dean explore the history of ASFA and lure coursing in America. They discuss the format of the meetings and the merits upon which each Greyhound and sighthound breed are judged during competition. They also explore the future of ASFA and the need for clubs to reach out to young competitors and their sighthounds. Links American Sighthound Field Association (Website)How to Get Started in Lure Coursing (Website via the Southeastern Greyhound Club)
Jul 4 2021
1 hr 6 mins
Greyhound Breeding with Michael Strickland
"I swear you could put a coffee cup on his back and he wouldn't spill it. He was a smooth machine."Greyhound breeder Michael Strickland on one of his favorite stud dogs, EJ's Douglas Show Notes Michael Strickland recalls the moment he got to lead EJ's Douglas to the Greyhound Hall of Fame in the early 1990s to accept the National Greyhound Association's Rural Rube Award. EJ's Douglas retired in 1994 and went to stud at Michael's family farm, Strickland Sires. The Greyhound remains one of Michael's favorite and most memorable stud dogs. Michael's family entered the world of Greyhounds in the 1970s. His grandfather, Don Bartley, raced Greyhounds in Arizona and Colorado, and Michael's father married Deb Bartley. Michael's mother and father quickly earned an excellent reputation for training Greyhounds. In 1987, they moved to Abilene from Nebraska and made the switch from cattle to breeding and training Greyhounds. His earliest memories of Greyhounds were of 15 Greyhounds in a kennel and 40 Greyhounds in outdoor long runs. He shredded newspaper for bedding and walked the Greyhounds in the open pasture on the farm. Michael learned early on that good walks made for healthy Greyhound kidneys. He saw his first Greyhound races at the The Woodlands in Wichita, Kansas. Michael and his father would eventually move into the stud business in the 1990s, putting him in close contact with some of the best Greyhounds in the sport. Strickland Sires was an early pioneer in the use of frozen semen and artificial insemination. The stud business grew large enough to warrant two on-site veterinarians. Today, half of Strickland Sires live out their lives on Michael's farm. The rest go back to their owners. In this episode, host John Parker and Michael Strickland discuss the art and science of Greyhound breeding. They discuss the various factors that contribute to breeding a great Greyhound, the rich history of Greyhounds in Abilene, and the future of American Greyhound racing. Links National Greyhound Association (Website)Greyhound Hall of Fame (Website)Hall of Fame Inductee EJ's Douglas (Website)
Jun 18 2021
1 hr 21 mins
Greyhound Rehoming in the UK with Paula Beniston
"I think I might have squealed when I found out that I got the position..." Paula Beniston on landing a position on the Greyhound Board of Great Britain Show Notes Paula Beniston's journey with Greyhounds started more than 30 years ago with a weekend job at a local Greyhound training and breeding center, where she got to work with Greyhound puppies. In the past 20 years, she's fostered over 100 Greyhounds and lurchers. After serving with another Greyhound rehoming group for 18 years, Paula bought her own Greyhound rehoming center with other volunteers in Bristol. In 2020, while COVID raced through the United Kingdom, Paula took her next step in Greyhound adoption. She submitted her CV to the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) for new Rehoming Coordinator position. Her background in Greyhounds and experience as a professional accountant led to a job offer. In late 2020, Paula joined the GBGB as Coordinator for the Greyhound Retirement Scheme. The GBGB's Greyhound Retirement Scheme helps offset the costs of local Greyhound adoption groups and retirement trusts. In just the first 7 months of the program, the GBGB made 1200 disbursements of funds from the Scheme to rehoming centers around the United Kingdom. The disbursements serve as a "pension" fund for each registered Greyhound, helping to fund participating rehoming centers. In this episode, host John Parker and Paula sit down to talk about rehoming Greyhounds in the United Kingdom. Paula shares how she's able to channel her passion for the breed into her role with the GBGB. Paula also discusses the British Greyhound adoption process, international adoption initiatives, and the growing relationships between trainers, rehoming centers and adopters. Links The Greyhound Retirement Scheme (Website - Press Release - 2020)The Greyhound Star Q&A with Paula Beniston (Website - 2021)Greyhound Board of Great Britain (Website)Greyhound Board of Great Britain (Facebook)Greyhound Board of Great Britain (YouTube)
May 27 2021
1 hr 5 mins
The Greyhound Project
"How do we gather information about Greyhound adoption and share it with the rest of the adoption community?"Joan Belle Isle on the original goals of The Greyhound Project Show Notes The Greyhound Project was founded in 1993 by Joan Belle Isle and like minded, New England-based adoption group volunteers. Its mission was to "serve the common interests of greyhound adoption organizations, their volunteers, and others interested in the welfare of retired racing greyhounds on a national basis." The organization was adoption group agnostic and neutral on the topic of Greyhound racing. The 1996 closing of the Waterloo Greyhound Park in Waterloo, Iowa was a litmus test for The Greyhound Project. Could the project and its founders, including Joan, bring together Greyhound adoption groups in the spirit of breed welfare and volunteer coordination? The Waterloo closing proved that national networking could be a powerful force in the Greyhound adoption community. The organization's outreach began with a newsletter, Speaking of Greyhounds, as a means of starting conversations between different adoption groups around the country. The Greyhound Project also sought to raise funds for its operations and those of adoption groups. Its Celebrating Greyhounds Calendar became the centerpiece of this effort. Sarah Norton became involved with The Greyhound Project in the late 1990s. She attended the Dewey Beach, Delaware meeting in 1999, organized by The Greyhound Project. Amongst 1000 Greyhounds and 1000 owners, she met Joan. They would become fast friends and collaborators within The Greyhound Project. With the 2020 closure of Florida Greyhound tracks, The Greyhound Project entered a new era. Susie and John McQuade, of the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas (GALT), reached out and offered to take over the project. Their goal is the preservation of soul of the project, including its vast website content and calendar fundraising program. In this episode, host John Parker sits down with The Greyhound Project's founders and torchbearers to explore the past, present and future of the organization. Links The Greyhound Project (Website)Celebrating Greyhounds Calendar (Facebook)Greyhound Adoption League of Texas (Website)Greyhound Adoption League of Texas (Facebook)
May 7 2021
1 hr 6 mins
British Greyhound Racing with Mark Bird
"Over the last 5 years, I've learned an awful lot ... and really come to appreciate the passion that people have around the sport and the love of Greyhounds." Mark Bird, on his tenure with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain Show Notes Mark Bird traveled a different path into the sport of Greyhound racing than most. He had been around dogs all his life, including his career as a London-area police officer. When he retired in 2015, Mark applied for the role of Director of Regulation with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB). Today, he continues to use his law enforcement background in support of British Greyhound racing welfare programs. Like Greyhound adopters around the world, Mark loves to see his own retired racer perk up at the sound of the mechanical lure on the television. He also gets to see those mechanical lures in person at any one of Great Britain's 19 registered Greyhound tracks on his regular visits as Managing Director of the GBGB. His staff at the GBGB is responsible for site visits and inspections, publishing track injury data, and reporting on retirement data for Greyhounds. The GBGB released the Greyhound Commitment in 2018 to promote Greyhound welfare and demonstrate that regulation is positive for the breed. Mark and his colleagues sought to shift the mindset of racing Greyhounds as commodities to that individual racers who can become future pets. Their welfare activities include regulation of track safety, veterinary care, kennel standards, etc. In this episode, host John Parker and Mark discuss all aspects of the GBGB's mission. Listeners who are passionate about the breed will find a kindred spirit in Mark as he shares how the GBGB regulates British Greyhound racing and promotes education about Greyhounds to the United Kingdom, Ireland and beyond. Links Greyhound Board of Great Britain (Website)Greyhound Board of Great Britain (Facebook)Greyhound Board of Great Britain (YouTube)
Apr 17 2021
1 hr 8 mins
Photographing the Greyhound
"I always find this warming to my heart that I get to do this. I'm not in it for the money. I just do it for the dogs."Steve Schiferl, Greyhound photographer Show Notes Steve Schiferl has traveled the country to capture Greyhounds in motion at Greyhound tracks and National Greyhound Association (NGA) schooling facilities. His fascination with and photography of the breed started with meet and greets. What began with simple photos from his smartphone evolved into a photographic career and love of Greyhounds. Rachel Hogue's path to photographing the Greyhound started in her teens. A budding photographer heading off to college, Rachel sought the ideal canine companion for apartment living. She settled on a Greyhound and adopted in 2005. That same year, she invested in her first dSLR (digital camera). After college, she found work at Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, Arkansas and developed a love for Greyhounds and a passion for photographing them. Cindy Frezon's passion for photographing Greyhounds blossomed at lure coursing fields rather than Greyhound tracks. In 2000, she adopted her first Greyhound from Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta. Shortly thereafter, she discovered the sport of lure coursing in west Georgia at a Southeastern Greyhound Club meeting. Since then, Cindy's become the official "unofficial" club photographer and regularly shoots several thousand photos during a weekend of lure coursing. In this episode, host John Parker and producer Michael Burns explore the art and science of photographing the Greyhound with Steve, Rachel and Cindy. John discusses each photographer's history with the breed. Michael digs in to the technical aspects of Greyhound action and portrait photography. It's an episode that will appeal to photographers of all backgrounds, amateur and pro alike. Links Rachel Hogue Photography (Facebook)Greyt Expressions Photography, Steve Schiferl (Facebook)Cindy Frezon Photography (Facebook) Gallery Example photos from this episode's photographers: Photo by Rachel HoguePhoto by Steve SchiferlPhoto by Cindy Frezon
Apr 2 2021
1 hr 16 mins
The Greatest of CoursingGreyhound Gear
Episode 11: Recorded February 20, 2021 "You see these discussions all the time on Greyhound groups. 'What's the best ______ for my Greyhound?'"John Parker, host of Greyhound Nation Show Notes Use the right tool for the job. This mantra applies to Greyhound ownership as much as it applies to car maintenance. New Greyhound owners often have questions about what "Greyhound gear" they need to care for and manage their new companion: "What's the difference between a buckle collar and Martingale collar?" "My Greyhound pulls on walks. Should I invest in a harness?" "Is this crate too small for my Greyhound?" In this episode, host John Parker and producer Michael Burns tackle these questions and more in the first ever gear show. Topics of interest to both new and veteran Greyhound owners alike include: Select the right collar and leashSizing a crate or exercise penMonitoring your Greyhound with security cameras and GPS collars Links to all of the products and vendors mentioned in the episode are listed below. Listeners are invited to comment on our website and Facebook page with their own "Greyhound gear" recommendations. Links Martingale Collars Shore Dog and Grey Collars (Pensacola, FL)2 Hounds Design (Indian Trail, NC)Houndstown (Gastonia, NC) Leather Fishtail Collars The Trendy Whippet (Taunton, UK via Etsy)JakesPaws (United Kingdom via eBay) Prong Collars Herm Sprenger prong collar (via Amazon.com)Herm Sprenger extra links (via Amazon.com)Fitting a prong collar (via Leerburg.com) Harnesses PetSafe (Manufacturer)PetSafe Sure-Fit Harness (via Amazon.com)Freedom No-Pull Harness (via 2 Hounds Design) e-Collars Garmin (Manufacturer)BarkLimiter Deluxe (via Amazon.com) Leads / Leashes Shore Dog (Pensacola, FL)Houndstown (Gastonia, NC)Adityna Heavy Duty Leather Dog Leash (via Amazon.com) Crates, Ex-Pens and Indoor Kennels MidWest Homes for Pets (Manufacturer)42" Crate (via Amazon.com)48" Crate (via Amazon.com)42" Exercise Pen (via Amazon.com)Primo Pads (Manufacturer)Wire Crate Pads (via Manufacturer)Lucky Dog Kennels (Manufacturer)Welded Wire Kennels (via Manufacturer)PetSafe Cottageview Kennels (via Amazon.com Resellers)Hale Pet Door (Manufacturer)Door Model (via Manufacturer)Wall Model (via Manufacturer) Cameras and GPS Collars Blink for Home (Manufacturer)Outdoor Wireless Camera (via Amazon.com)Indoor Wireless Camera (via Amazon.com)Arlo (Manufacturer)Essential 3-Camera System (via Amazon.com)Pro3 3-Camera System (via Amazon.com)Q Camera System (via Amazon.com Resellers)Whistle (Manufacturer)
Feb 27 2021
1 hr 27 mins
Interview with Author Kiaran O’Brien
Episode 10: Recorded November 1, 2020 "It's very difficult to describe the euphoria of what it's like when the first Greyhound you own wins [a race]..."Kiaran O'Brien describes his first Greyhound's (Pole Rating) first win Show Notes Kiaran O'Brien's love affair with Greyhound racing started in the 1970s, growing up in Bristol, England. His father was involved in the betting industry, and he got his first job at the local track as a busboy. He dreamed of one day owning his own Greyhound. His family moved to Ireland in his late teens, far away from English Greyhound racing. Uprooted from his school and his mates, Kiaran learned to farm in a small village in west Ireland. He found work in finance in the 1980s and moved to the Isle of Man. Kiaran returned to England and fulfilled that promise to himself to buy a Greyhound. It would be the first of many Greyhounds he owned and raced. He and his brother even won an English hurdling championship with a Greyhound in the early 2000s. A few years after returning to England, he took a job writing horse racing reviews. As his writing experience grew, he set out to write a Greyhound racing novel in the style of a Dick Francis. John Francome, an English jockey and author, encouraged Kiran to follow through with the endeavor. In 2014, Kiaran self-published his first novel -- Edge Your Bets. He drew inspiration from his Greyhound racing experiences and his time spent in west Ireland. The Greyhound racing community had its first crime thriller. In this episode, join host John Parker and Kiaran O'Brien as they discuss Kiaran's love of Greyhound racing, the inspiration for Edge Your Bets, and the experience of self-publishing a novel. Links Edge Your Bets (Amazon.com)
Jan 13 2021
1 hr 4 mins
Greyhounds and Coursing with Sir Mark Prescott
Episode 9: Recorded December 5, 2020 "I saw nice people and nice dogs and marvelous hares, and I thought, ‘What a grand spectacle.’"Sir Mark Prescott, on seeing his first coursing meeting in 1967 Show Notes In the 1960s, Sir Mark Prescott found himself on the road back to Newmarket, home of British thoroughbred horse racing, from Cambridge. Along the way, he came across a large number of cars parked along the road. He discovered it was a coursing meeting. He was given a free “card” (program) by the gatekeeper and invited in to see his first coursing meeting. A few months later, Sir Mark saw a television special about English hare coursing that presented the sport in a very negative light, in contrast to his own experiences. It inspired him to become further involved in coursing. In 1970, Sir Mark assumed leadership of a struggling coursing club in Newmarket and cemented his presence in a sport which drew thousands of spectators and blurred English class lines. He quickly discovered that organizing a coursing event involved tremendous attention to detail and perseverance -- traits which he embodied and admired. Sir Mark would later become one of the primary organizers of the Waterloo Cup, England’s longest running and most popular coursing meeting. He held this post until 2005 when the final Waterloo Cup was run and coursing was banned by Parliament. For nearly 40 years, Sir Mark served as an advocate for the sport and Greyhounds. In this episode, host John Parker and Sir Mark share their experiences at the Waterloo Cup, including that famous last meeting. They also discuss the future of Irish coursing, preserving English coursing and Greyhound history, and Sir Mark's favorite Greyhounds over the years. Glossary American listeners may find the following British open coursing terms helpful: An anti is a person who advocates the banning of coursing or racing.Beaters are people who walk through a field inhabited by hares and herd the hares toward the coursing ground. They guide single hares to the coursing field to be pursued by Greyhounds.The beat is a line of beaters spread out across a field.Keepers or gamekeepers help protect and conserve hares and other game living wild on estates and farms.Nominators have the right to "nominate" a Greyhound to run in the Waterloo Cup or other large coursing meeting. They are prominent individuals in the coursing community. They may nominate their own Greyhound or one owned by another individual.A slipper releases two Greyhounds simultaneously onto the coursing field using a special double leather collar-and-leash device. Links Heath House Stables
Dec 8 2020
1 hr 16 mins
Charlie Blanning and His Lastest Greyhound BookAdopter to Racing Owner
Episode 7 - Recorded October 8, 2020 "If any of you are interested, Lucy is racing tonight at Palm Beach Kennel Club -- race 15, box 8. You can watch it live on the feed!"Lynn Bunn, via Facebook Messenger Show Notes It's just before 9pm on Friday, October 9, 2020. From her home in Galveston, Texas, Lynn Bunn (Fast Canines Greyhound Adoption) is glued to Internet live streams. She's not watching news about Hurricane Delta, COVID-19 or the 2020 election. She's waiting for her racing Greyhound to head to the box at the Palm Beach Kennel Club (PBKC). Lynn is one of a growing number of Greyhound adopters to dip their toes in the waters of racing Greyhound ownership. Her Greyhound -- Lucy, aka KB's Lookin Good -- has a good start at PBKC but gets bumped in the first turn. She closes late on the inside and manages a 5th place finish. "She is learning how to navigate -- that was her 20th race," remarks Lynn. Her optimism for the breed is shared with other Greyhound adopters turned racing owners, like Patti Kacer (Greyhounds as Pets of Northeast FL) of Jacksonville, Florida and Dr. Jennifer Ng (Greyhounds Crossroads and Greyhound Adopters for Racing), a veterinarian from Columbia, South Carolina. Each of them has a story to tell about how Greyhound adoption grew into racing Greyhound ownership. Patti comments, "That's the hardest turn on the track. Any track." In this episode of Greyhound Nation, host John Parker joins Lynn, Patti and Jennifer in a roundtable discussion about the ins and outs of racing Greyhound ownership. Topics include finding the right investment partner, the cost of training and kenneling, and that moment when your very own Greyhound takes 1st place at the track. Links Fast Canines Greyhound Adoption (Lynn Bunn, volunteer)Greyhounds as Pets of Northeast FL (Patti Kacer, adoption coordinator)Greyhound Crossroads (Jennifer Ng, volunteer)Greyhound Adopters for Racing (Jennifer Ng, president)KB's Lookin Good - October 9 - 5th Place Finish (Lynn Bunn, owner)KB's Lookin Good - October 13 - 1st Place Finish (Lynn Bunn, owner)
Oct 28 2020
1 hr 6 mins
Rehoming Irish Greyhounds
Episode 6 - Recorded September 24, 2020 "It's kind of in between a kennel and a home...so you really have a feel that they're at home...it's not your typical kennel."Viara Gentchev Show Notes Viara Gentchev is a breeder and operator of a new retired racing Greyhound care center -- a "halfway house" concept pioneered by Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI, formerly the Irish Greyhound Board) and the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT). Greyhound care centers are just one of the innovative ways that the IRGT helps transition retired racers from the track to a new life with a new family. Viara works closely with Barry Coleman and Joanna Murray of GRI, the governing body of Irish Greyhound racing. Barry serves as GRI's racing operations manager, and Joanna serves as GRI's welfare officer. Together, they're raising awareness of Greyhound adoption in Ireland, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Collectively, their mission is to change the perception of the Greyhound as a racer and pet in Ireland. Care centers are just one of the ways that GRI helps to educate the public about Greyhounds as pets. GRI also provides funding for and enforcement of the proper care of Greyhounds in the country. In Greyhound Nation's second roundtable discussion, host John Parker discusses Irish Greyhound rehoming with Barry, Joanna and Viara. How does it compare with adoption groups in the United States? What efforts are made to expose the public to retired racers? How is the IRGT partnering with Greyhounds Pets of America to bring Irish Greyhounds to the United States? Links Greyhound Racing IrelandIrish Racing Greyhound TrustIrish Racing Greyhound Trust (Facebook)
Oct 16 2020
1 hr