Yesterday – February 20, 2013, Tucson experienced an apocalypse of sorts on the weather front. This time the weather reporting hype came true. The day started cold then got colder in a very short period of time. Sleet turned to snow and soon entire cars in parking lots in Midtown were covered in snow. Snow hit the ground sticking, slushy, or ponding.
Blizzard! And not just the Dairy Queen kind. And then it stopped and hours later it started back up again all over town.
Around 5:30 p.m. Tucson Tails called Tucson Greyhound Park and of course, it’s after business hours. Press 5 for the mutuels department (they take your bets) so a live person always answers the phone. I asked the perky voice if dogs were still going to be racing. She said yes. She paused. She said, “the state said it was fine to race.”
Aha! At first I thought she meant the Arizona Department of Racing in Phoenix who were sitting in their sterile cubicles said it was fine to race but in afterthought, I realized there are state employees at the track like the stewards and other personnel. That makes it a worse judgment call as they are from Tucson and had seen the horrible weather all day long.
Accenture Match Play golf in Dove Mountain cancelled because of the weather. Okay, so rich pampered golfers and their followers don’t want to walk around in the snow. Then it was pointed out to me that the Tucson Rodeo also cancelled their schedule on the south side so I guess rough and tumble cowboys don’t want to buck around in the snow and neither do the people who paid the price to watch them.
However, the greyhounds still race; they don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s not like these greyhounds know what snow is and have ever raced in it before (much like many Tucson drivers). It doesn’t matter that it was a blustery 32 degrees. Somebody somewhere and probably not in South Tucson wanted to make a two dollar bet on these hounds so the dogs must race.
A Facebook friend called the dog track and was told that the storm sort of missed TGP. Yeah, right. There’s some imaginary magnetic DOME over 4th Avenue @ 36th Street and the track surface was dry as pie.
You might say your dog likes running in the snow – sure, why not? Running for pleasure on a fluffy blanket of snow is one thing but racing with seven other dogs around a tight oval is quite another.
One day out of the year or decade with extraordinary weather conditions where flights to Tucson were diverted to Phoenix and people were told to stay off the roads if they didn’t have to be on them – and still the dogs must race.
Obviously it was a bad decision to do so because races 6, 10, 11, 12, and 13 were cancelled. Yes, animal lovers of Tucson and beyond – they still had planned on 13 races with 8 dogs per race. Disgusting.
(Billboard is courtesy of friends of the greyhounds in Oracle, Arizona)