Presented by the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance 

The Contests 

The Youth Literary Derby and Youth Art Derby are horse-themed contests designed to engage Ontario-resident students in Grades 3 through 8 (for Literary) and 3 through 12 (for Art) with separate divisions for juniors, intermediates, and seniors. The contests are projects of the non-profit Bill Galvin Racing Alliance (BGRA) with support from many sponsors including Equine Guelph (University of Guelph). 

The Youth Literary Derby has divisions for both poems and short stories with content to be based upon anything Standardbred related — mares and foals, racehorses, drivers, etc. We hope that schools will consider organizing a field trip to take the students out to a local Standardbred farm if there is one available in their area. Our organization would be glad to work with the school to try to find a breeding farm in their area that can host them. Videos, photos, and educational material to showcase the subject matter are also posted in the Resources section of the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance website.

The Youth Art Derby is an opportunity for students to showcase their artistic ability by submitting a drawing or sketch (no paintings) with a Standardbred theme. Starting in 2024, this contest has been opened up to students in Grades 9 to 12 as well as elementary school students. 

The three prize winners in each of the divisions will receive $250, $150, and $100 respectively. Prize money has been donated by one of Ontario’s prominent Standardbred breeders, Tom Rankin from St. Catharines. 

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All contest finalists will be invited for the Awards Night where they will get a behind-the-scenes harness racing experience and find out which prize they won. Last year’s Awards Night was a great success with the kids and parents alike. A collage of the evening is shown above.  

What’s the Purpose?  

The BGRA’s goal is to inspire children to continue reading, writing, and drawing as well as giving them an opportunity to develop a love of horses. We hope that teachers will use these contests in the classroom as a project in coordination with the English and Art curriculum. Participants will express their impressions in prose, verse, or art. 

Who’s Organizing the Contests?  

These contests are organized by the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance, a registered non-profit organization named after the late long-time horseman, author, poet, and publisher, Bill Galvin. Bill was a life-long promoter of the equine industry and took great pleasure in connecting children with horses. 

The organization consists of five directors who are volunteering their time and efforts to connect children with the equine world. The Alliance is also receiving assistance from many partners and sponsors. 

Contest Dates  

All entries must be received by August 31, 2024 and finalists will be announced by mid-September. 

How Will the Contests be Judged?  

Entries will be adjudicated strictly on academic merit, creativity, and by qualified individuals. 

More information can be found on the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance website, or contact Karen Hauver at 519-369-8850 if you have any questions. 

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