Features

Pachyderm Preakness Stakes

... racing elephants, just part of a day's work for a one time local radio news
announcer

by Debbi Collar


Melrose Mirror writers often learn a lot about each other over time spent
together as we sit around our conference table discussing upcoming issues.
Artists, bakers, photographers, travelers and a variety of other talents and
interests, past and present have often crept into our conversations.

Sometimes, there are surprises. Surprises we discover about each other's past
endeavors. Surprises even to ourselves that have long been neglected or
forgotten from our earlier years. These items more than likely come to light,
when baby boomers and those of an age beyond, finally make the decision to
downsize. It appears many of our Melrose Mirror staff have been doing just
that-downsizing recently. Myself included. In my case, the expedition into the
attic led to the discovery of old photographs, trophies and ribbons, along
with many memories of days gone by.


Previous Riding Experience on horseback R-Trophies earned

The residences of these occupants (the trophies) pictured throughout this
article, had addresses of bottom drawer, a Hope Chest and the sweater hung
untouched in the corner unit of a closet. Downsizing, as I have discovered,
along with others who have gone through similar circumstances, takes a long
time as it isn't easy to throw out collections that helped to build those
memories and real life stories from years past.
.
 
L- Letter Sweater - Saugus High School Softball Team  R-Saugus Sachem
Softball Trophies


While packing up boxes of memorabilia and other items of interest, to move on
to relatives who would appreciate them or to Saver's or Salvation Army or
Goodwill is that of a special trophy - one of seven begotten in my days as a
fearless horseback rider (4 trophies), 2 softball trophies and my all time
favorite long forgotten trophy is one earned in one of two radio station
promotions (WNSH). The station was then located on Pickering Wharf, Salem,Ma.


Newswriter/Broadcast announcer WNSH, Pickering Wharf, Salem, Ma

It is a "Pachyderm Preakness" Trophy for racing an elephant for the second
time during a radio station advertising promotion. Trophies were not awarded
at the first race. Interns were able to take part in the first Chi Chi's race
as well. WNSH's "Lori," my intern, would have been the proud owner of the
trophy if one had been given. The first race took place on Route 114 when Chi
Chi's restaurant was one of the places to grab a bite to eat and to see this
advertising promotion for a small, local radio station. Naive at treatment of
circus elephants then, I prepared to race against one of the area politicians
(sorry, can't remember the name of the politician) but off we charged.
Horseback riding had stirrups and reins as part of the equipment to hold us in
our saddles (usually) and the reins gave us control of the 2,000 pound horses
we rode. Not so with elephants provided for news announcers vs. politicians.
No saddle, no reins. The controlling of the pachyderm was done by circus
employees.  


L - R  Prepare to race  -  Off to the gate  - and they're off!

The elephants wore only a criscrossed head band on its head. Fortunately one
of the disc jockeys at the station forewarned me about the coarse hairs of
elephants telling me to wear winter gloves even though the racing took place
in mid summer. I have also appreciated this D.J. many years now, as he also
told me that at the end of this ride, the elephants would stand on their hind
legs. I would be raised high into the air, the only thing to hold onto would be
the headband on the elephant. Asked to ride the elephant again, a second time,
on a rainy gray, dismal day at Beverly Commons is where the Pachyderm
Preakness trophy was awarded - once again - 2nd place.


L-The finale R- Second place in the Pachyderm Preakness Stakes

Therefore, I am having a bit o trouble getting rid of this item and others,
especially as they hold so many memories within them. On the other hand, I
have also discovered that with our digital era of online photographs,
photographers can take photos of these items, they remain with you, yet they
are much easier to stack and move. Plus they are always close at hand when
looking back at a story about some of the accomplishments in your life. Now,
how many of you can proudly lay claim to owning a trophy of the same ilk?
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*** the Melrose Mirror is always looking for writers to share their own
stories of the past or of the present.
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May 5, 2017


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