The 2005 McChump ??/365 Racing Tour

"The Summer of Some Discontent"

Evangeline Downs, Opelousas, Louisiana

14 Exciting Tracks! 10 Exotic States and Provinces! 11 Thrilling Stories!

  • Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ, Jan 7-8, 2005
  • Various Phoenix OTB's, Jan 6-12

Betcha didn't think the old Tour would be back in Phoenix in January again only a year after the end of an era, didya? Well, neither did I.

But, as it turns out, McChump #2 homed in on Arizona like a jet-powered snowbird with radar just as soon as the weather started coming up cold in the rest of these United States, and there he was, waiting out the winter. Sweet deal, too, staying free, house sitting for a friend who'd moved but not yet sold. And I had this free flight from SouthWest that had to get used up before Jan. 25 ...

  • Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, IL, Mar 19, 2005

Down in the dumps about having to go to Hawthorne or the OTB's or even heaven forbid Trackside during the dreary winter months? Drooling over those constant press release teases from Arlington all winter long about how it's only 130 more days until opening day and GET YOUT TICKETS NOW!, or whatever? Miss the pageant, the grandeur, and the fresh dairy air of the northwest suburbs? Don't despair! You can get your fix of lovely Arlington and its grandeur and beauty this weekend at the Chicagoland Pet Expo!

  • Oaklawn Park, Hot Springs, AR, Apr 14-16, 2005
  • Louisiana Downs, Bossier City, LA, Apr 17, 2005
  • "New" Evangeline Downs, Opelousas, LA, Apr 19-23, 2005 (Track #130)

1st fireplug in Bossier City

Road trip! Another one, I mean.

From the Arkansas Derby to New Orleans, and everything of importance (to the racing chump) in between. Plus a bonus search for Bigfoot the Monster Truck.

Mostly pictures. With commentary.

  • Sportsman's Park & Hawthorne Race Course, Cicero/Stickney, IL, Spring, 2005

It is hard to believe but the most exciting thing happening at the Hawthorne Spring meet was watching Sportsman's Park get demolished next door. Didn't even get in a hassle this year with the security guy for taking pictures at the Illinois Derby because I didn't even bother bringing the camera. There was real corn tamales at the food court. $1.50. Those were pretty good.

  • Montana State Fair Race Meet, Great Falls, MT, Jul 23 & 29, 2005
  • Sandy Downs, Idaho Falls, ID, Jul 24, 2005 (Track #131)

Pat on the organ, Sip 'n Dip
Pat our organist works out "Burnin Ring of Fire" at the Sip n' Dip

  • Retama Park, Selma, TX, Aug 11, 2005
  • "The Race Barn", Fredericksburg, TX, Aug 12, 2005
  • Gillespie County Fair, Fredericksburg, TX, Aug 13, 2005

The Texas hill country, that is

Just pictures. Commentary in the slideshow.

  • Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, IL, Summer, 2005

The wedding of Bonny the Bugler to Sam the Bugler
Earlie Fires best man; Tony Morgan bridesmaid

  • Elko County Fair, Elko, NV, Labor Day Weekend, 2005

The White King

Remember a few years ago when I slept through my plane reservation to go visit Elko? So you never got to read about it here ... until now? Well, McChump #2 did it, so it's suddenly available. Read on ...

  • Kentucky Downs, Franklin, KY, Sep 24, 2005

The parking lot party gang presents a Trophy

Just pictures. Kentucky Downs, and some iffy Mammoth Cave action.

  • Sportsman's Park & Hawthorne Race Course, Cicero/Stickney, IL, Fall, 2005

Hey hey hey! At least there was a little bit more excitement for the Fall Hawthorne meet.

  • Tampa Bay Downs, Oldsmar, FL, Dec 10, 2005 (Track #132)
  • Calder Race Course, Miami Gardens, FL, Dec 11, 2005 (Track #133)

So it's cold in Chicago. Real cold. And snowy, too. And I have not been on a racetrack adventure in like three months.

But what's this, Chump! $59 to fly to the Tampa area, and another $59 to fly back from Ft. Lauderdale! I'm on it.