George Woodill was meant to announce. Speaking with George, it is clear that his passion has always been announcing, and he has the resume to prove it. As Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club’s announcer, our track announcer series continues with George, talking about his start in the greyhound racing industry, his announcing history, and his favorite aspects of the industry.
George started announcing in high school at any event he could, including pageants and sports events like basketball, volleyball, and football. During this time, George had been bitten by the announcing bug and knew that it was something he wanted to continue as a career. After his high school graduation, George was hired on as an announcer for jai alai. Within a few years, George was made Communications Director.
While George enjoyed announcing the sport that he also loved to play himself, it was only a part-time gig, so it wasn’t long before George started announcing at Seminole Greyhound Park where he could announce full-time. George worked at Seminole 3 seasons before calling their last race in 1999 when live racing would end at the greyhound racing location. During this time, George also worked at Melbourne in 1997 for a season. After Seminole Greyhound Park, George returned to announcing jai alai and, in 2013, George started announcing for Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club.
As you have probably noticed, one of the things really neat about George is that he has called all sorts of different events, including jai alai, wrestling, mixed martial arts (MMA), and greyhound racing. George mentions that the prices and gambling aspects of jai alai and greyhound racing are similar, but other than that, they are completely different worlds. Calling wrestling and MMA events is almost a different skill. With wrestling, you become a storyteller, giving the audience backstory and having more time to be as descriptive as possible.
“I truly feel all of these titles require an altered skill set. Calling the ring action, doing play by play, and telling a story is much different than just vividly describing the raw action being seen during a race or jai alai game.”
Working at Daytona Beach Kennel Club for five years now, George has experienced quite a bit at the track. One of the most memorable moments for him was when Here Comes Danny broke the track record. Not only did Here Comes Danny run an impressive race, but this was George’s first time calling a 550 track record. George has also loved announcing three of the Daytona 550 National Championships. Daytona’s 550 National Championships were an exciting annual event that George is very happy that he got to be a part of.
“Doing the race calling, on-track presentations, the pomp and pageantry, and especially the studio analysis were the experiences of a lifetime! It is always electric when there is that much riding on a 30 second event and the WORLD is watching.”
Some favorite greyhounds that George has seen race over the years have been St. Petersburg Derby Lane’s Scott Free and Daytona Beach’s Here Comes Danny, Senator Hukill, Caught A Whale, and Dreaminof Bootsy. Currently, George is keeping his eye on Canaan Bengal.
“We have a youngster here, Canaan Bengal. [He’s a] on an impressive win streak and a ton of fun to watch so far.”
George’s favorite aspect of greyhound racing is the people involved in the sport, from the bettors to greyhound enthusiasts. He loves seeing the bettors reactions to each race and enjoys talking with people in the sport who truly understand greyhound racing and the amazing athletes who love to run. Of course, like anyone else involved in the industry, George dislikes seeing the few injuries that can occur and is upset with the negative attention greyhound racing receives from anti-racing groups. These frustrations arise from the fact that most of these anti-racing groups come from a perspective that lacks knowledge of the sport and the people involved in it. There has been a large push to encourage people to attend their local track kennels to gain their own opinions and behind-the-scenes look at greyhound racing to help extinguish the existing myths.
“[There is a] lack of education and understanding of the industry by the public and general media.”
While these aspects of the sport are unpleasant to deal with, the positive sides outweigh them. Nothing beats the great people involved in the greyhound racing industry, the experience of a race, and, of course, the amazing and loving greyhound athletes.
We would like to thank George Woodill for speaking with us about his announcing career and greyhound racing. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at email@example.com.