Friday afternoon, the sun was beaming down on the dirt track and green infield. Hooves stomped the ground in anticipation. The crisp March air blew through the nostrils of eager horses, ready to race.
Above the barns, people gathered with family and friends, food, drinks and track schedules in hand. The track was ready. Jockies were assembling their gear and horse owners chatted their predictions with loved ones about the anticipated results. Race day at Fonner Park would start at 3:30 p.m. and the excitement was about to begin.
I attended Fonner Park races three times in 2015. For my first race of 2016, one of my customers sponsored the winning blanket and reserved the executive suite for about 30 customers and friends to join. Not only was this a new experience for me, but my seed advisor Roger had also never experienced the suite. He is a part owner of a few mares with some of his customers, so he has attended many races. This race was one for the books.
Roger’s horse would race in the 9th and final race that day. Odds were decent for her to place. But she was not necessarily expected to win. Nonetheless, the rounds went on, beverages and food were flowing and conversation was plentiful. There were still many reasons to have fun and make a win out of the day.
When odds are against you, you must face adversity to have the chance to succeed.
The rounds of races led to many bets placed, horses favored and disparity among selections. This was not just a discussion about the horses. It developed into more conversations about agriculture. Many farmers are feeling a negative, depressed attitude with the low market conditions. I had to help encourage them through what they can control, what changes and positive variables have taken affect and overall, that sometimes, we have to face adversity to overcome it.
Demonstrate to others you can have fun among competition and not just talk business.
The conversations continued and I discovered that not all the spectators in the executive suite were currently using our products. The growers who did not currently plant Syngenta seed put a little bit of pressure on me regarding current market conditions, performance and future developments in our portfolio. Some of these moments were great to dive in to the futurist outlook of Syngenta. It also granted me a chance to ask these growers questions about needs on their farms. We had to agree to disagree a few times. However, we enjoyed the remaining races together, building a better relationship in the process.
When the tough race is over, the winners’ circle is much more gratifying.
Not only are growers experiencing a tough year, but also are my seed advisors. They have seen much pressure from their customers, from me, and from others to do better and become better. Just like in horse racing, at some point, if you drive the horse too hard, it will run out of steam. I am working to better balance giving my customers [and myself] some slack on the reins and knowing went to drive hard or hold off. When you rush around the last curve, the finish line will become worth it after pushing hard for the win.
When we got to race 9, I finally placed my bet. Five dollars, on the head, horse “Who is Lido”. Our group went down to the ground level to watch the race. Whichever horse wins, we would get to stand with the horse and jockey for a picture as the blanket sponsor.
The bell rang and the horses sprang from the gates. “Who is Lido” was pacing in third. About halfway through, her jockey pushed her a bit harder and she quickened. Around the last corner, she took the lead, held it, and pulled away for the finish line!
The excitement spread like a flood among Roger’s crew. The look of pure joy spread across his face and in the moment, I saw a tremendous pride radiant from him. In that moment, I understood what it meant to have fun winning.
We got our photo taken, they announced over the loud speaker, “Sponsored by Roger Morse, Morse Seed, who has been a Golden Harvest dealer for over 25 years.” His long tenure with the seed business not only reflects commitment to his customers, including ones who attended the race. It also reminded me that it takes time to see results. To get the best results, you need to make time for fun, see value from the process and enjoy victory at the end.
It never hurts to make profit at the end of the day either. 🙂