In my mind, horse racing has always been a sport that anyone can bet on, but only rich people get excited about.
After spending this past weekend at the Meadowlands Racetrack, all the conversations I had with a variety of people and getting to watch this years Hambletonian in person my perception has changed. (at least a little)
The Hambletonian is “the Superbowl of harness racing”, I was told over and over. It is the single biggest race for the sport in the United States and draws people around the globe to the racetrack on the first Saturday in August every year.
I chatted with drivers, owners and fans and all of them are passionate about the sport. They can tell you stories of their favorite races and will recite the names of horses with the same vigor that other people talk about their favorite quarterbacks or pitchers.
Riding around the track in a sulky (the harness a driver rides in behind the horse) I could see why this is a fun sport. But, most fans never get the chance to ever do that. Whenever I told someone that I not only got to ride, but was allowed to do the driving for two whole laps their eyes grew large with envy.
Race day started in the rain and numbers seemed down compared to the expectations I was told.
With only a $5 entry price it is priced so that any family can come out and enjoy a day at the track. They obviously want more families to come out as there were rides, games and a carnival like atmosphere going on along side the track.
It seemed like a miss opportunity to have all these colorful drivers and their beautiful horses there without allowing the family to have any access to them outside of a single autograph table. While we got to tour the paddock (stables on site for the horses), no one else was given this sort of access.
If more people got the exposure and education on the sport that I did over the two days I think the sport would begin to attract new fans.
You can not fully appreciate the sport through your television. While it may be a better viewing experience, feeling the energy and hearing the cheers as the horses turn the final corner is where it is at. The only way to do that is to be at the racetrack.
For one race I stood at the finish line in the winner’s circle. Behind me I could hear the roar of the crowd mingled with the cheers of owners as their horse pushed down the final stretch in the hopes of victory. The swing of emotions that happens over the course of any of the two minute races is something to behold.
I was given a mini education on how to look over a race sheet and place bets my horse(s) of choice. As with any sort of gambling, you can understand the basics rather quickly, but there is a whole line of finer points that I’m assuming take years to fully comprehend. When phrases such as “trifecta box” start getting thrown around, anyone can become confused.
Being a newbie, I was trying to soak up as much as I could from the whole experience.
You can view my photos or watch my video to see what I saw.
Many fans told me that this is a yearly outing for them. They come early to set up their tents, chairs and coolers to get their favorite spots before someone else arrives. While the grills were missing, it had a familiar feeling as a cousin to tailgating before a big game. There was music, food, drink and smiles all around.
It is going to be interesting to watch what happens to this race next year. With a major renovation happening at The Meadowlands they have the perfect opportunity to create thousands of new fans and take the entire Hambletonian experience to a new level.
Some suggestions I’d give them if they were to ask would include:
I’m thankful that Converseon brought me down to take part in The Hambletonian. They’ve begun to roll the rock up the hill setting up a social media foundation for the race. Hopefully they get to push it over the top so that real momentum can begin.
It is an exciting sporting event that has tons of potential to grow and prosper.
If in under 48 hours at the track I can be converted to a fan who is cheering for them to succeed, I’m sure they can do this for others out there. I wish them the best of luck!
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When asked what I do my current answer is, “I create, teach and motivate people to do more good in the world.”
Of course, that doesn’t cover all that I work on professionally and personally, so that is why I created this page.
Official bios and headshots can be found below.
Who is C.C. Chapman? I’m a…
Freelance writing or citizen reporting assignments excite me.
If I had to choose a style, I’d say my photos are a mix of documentary, travel and lifestyle photography. While I may not enjoy taking head shots, I love to shoot faces. I rarely go anywhere without a camera in my hand and I’ve been fortunate to see my photos on the pages of Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal.
I’m currently shooting with a Canon 80D, an iPhone 7+ and a Chroma 4k Drone.
With over twenty years of marketing, online media and community building experience I have the skills and experience to help your organization no matter the size. Previous clients have included The Coca-Cola Company, American Eagle Outfitters and HBO.
I focus on social good/impact marketing, content marketing and brand strategy. My favorite clients are NGOs, nonprofits or brands looking to make a difference in the world.
Feel free to double check my credentials on LinkedIn.
I’m happiest when on stage educating and inspiring an audience of any size, anywhere in the world.
I have spoken at everything from large international events, corporate retreats and at special gatherings of unique individuals. If you need someone who will inspire, educate and entertain your audience I’d love to chat.
I believe in using my skills, time and voice to champion causes that are important to me. I’m especially interested in anything military, dogs or children focused.
On top of all that I’m a proud life long New Englander who was born and raised in New Hampshire, but now resides outside of Boston.
I married my high school sweetheart, have two amazing kids and love being a dad.
I’ve been online since 1989, began blogging in 2002 and podcasting in 2004.
Previous endeavors I created include Accident Hash, Passion Hit TV, Digital Dads and The Advance Guard.
Tattoos, travel and the outdoors turn me on. There are fewer things more perfect than a well-done cocktail, a delicious meal or live art of any sort. I love my GORUCK, Field Notes and am a proud Misfit.
To understand me is to understand that I try to live a purposeful life every day that is full of adventure, love and making the world around me a better place for all.
C.C. Chapman describes himself as a New England raised storyteller, explorer, and humanitarian. Others have described him as a thought leader in the online marketing space, a grounded futurist and one the nicest guy on the Internet. Over the years of his career, he has worked with a variety of clients including Nike, HBO, American Eagle Outfitters, ONE, Verizon FiOS and The Coca-Cola Company.
He is the co-author of the International bestseller Content Rules and is also the author of Amazing Things Will Happen. He travels the world speaking in front of audiences to do more in the world and how to understand content marketing better. C.C. has taught classes for Lynda.com, CreativeLive and now as an adjunct professor at Bentley University (where he also graduated from).
C.C. is an advocate who speaks about building passionate communities and the strategic values of content-based marketing. He is a Samsung Imagelogger, the original ONE Dad and a UN Foundation Social Good Fellow. As a storyteller for hire, his work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal.
C.C. is the past Chairman of the Board at Wediko and currently serves on the board of The Hockey Foundation. He happily lives in the woods outside of Boston with his loving family. Find out more at CC-Chapman.com
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more multi-faceted or enthusiastic creative/strategic partner in the marketing and content creation fields. This greatly hails from C.C.’s unstoppable combination of marketing experience and savvy (which a great many professionals claim to have), and incalculably valuable “on the ground” knowledge and insight as an influential content creator himself (which a great many professionals do not). The result is a best-of-both-worlds mashup of marketing expertise.
C.C. Chapman sports the pro cred to be a talker (working closely with such clients as American Eagle Outfitters, Coca-Cola, HBO and Warner Bros.), and the passion and gumption to be a doer (creating content for the emerging Online Dad market, marketing professionals, music fans and more). He’s helped create, manage and execute ambitious online and offline marketing campaigns for startups and multinationals — and has the invaluable good sense to know which outreach strategies work with audiences, and which ones fall flat.
He authoritatively speaks your language. He speaks your CMO’s language. Most important, he’s fluent in your market’s language. It’s a killer double-chocolate-and-peanut-butter combination. Contact C.C. to learn how he can help your organization achieve its business goals. There’s, even more, to know about C.C. Chapman if you want to read it — and you should. C.C.’s skills are an embarrassment of riches.
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