You may have remembered reading a piece of his in our Inside Lure newsletter, or perhaps you’ve read his blog or listened to his podcast. Among other things, Telegraph Herald Copy Editor in the Features Department, Gary Dura provides great greyhound racing news and information for Iowa Greyhound Park. We recently spoke with Gary to find out his story and how he became interested in the greyhound racing industry.
Dubuque, Iowa, is the only place Gary has called home, having lived there since he was born. Gary’s career at the Telegraph Herald began when he needed to pay for his college education. During this time, Gary answered calls and prepared the scoreboard page copy at the Telegraph Herald. Gary, however, didn’t stop there, moving his way up through the ranks until he became a full-time sports writer. He became a copy editor for news before moving on to features, which is what Gary currently does.
“Today, I coordinate editorial material for our business magazine, work on a couple of other monthly magazines, write and edit stories, edit, proof and design feature pages for the daily paper and special projects. I also blog and record a podcast about pari-mutuel racing, and participate in other podcasts, and other duties.”
Being in the sports industry, Gary became interested in greyhound racing when Dubuque Greyhound Track was opening in 1985.
“I had a chance to look at the program. All the names and numbers were fascinating. My boss explained some of the information. I became fascinated.”
From that moment, Gary became hooked on the greyhound racing industry. One of his favorite things about covering the sport is that everyone in the industry is truly friendly and genuine. Gary explains that being around everyone, you can tell that they all love the greyhounds.
Being interested in the dogs himself, it’s no surprise that Gary’s sons have also sparked interest in the sport. Gary would often take them to the track to watch the dogs. While they were at the track, Gary would show his sons how to read the racing program and would share handicapping tips with them. When his sons were older, they got a job at the track and have worked “nearly every job at the track.” Gary’s sons’ work experiences at the track have helped launch them into other careers as well.
“Our older two [sons] were state judges. This season, our youngest is in college and is a racing secretary. Our oldest is a state judge again this year. He also has a full-time job, which he got partly because of the workplace lessons he learned at the track. Our middle son’s job won’t allow him to work at the track. Again, his time at the track taught him valuable lessons about working with people.”
Over the years, Gary has seen quite a bit of amazing greyhound races that all have been quite memorable. There are two greyhounds, however, that seem to stand out the most for Gary: P’s Rambling and AJ’s Callie. P’s Rambling, being quite exceptional, was the first pup that Gary followed.
“Rambling dominated the long course, setting a track record in 1986. He moved on to continued success at other tracks. I remember one race where he had trouble at the start and basically circled the field and won going away.”
AJ’s Callie also has significance for Gary because she loved the sport and was always excited to race.
“She ran during a time when there were many great dogs at the track. Even if she didn’t draw her preferred box, she always gave it her all. I remember how friendly she was when I photographed her after winning the 2015 Iowa Breeders’ Cup.”
Some other greyhounds that have left a mark for Gary include Rock A By Msmolly, Superior Product, Ms Makenna, Slatex Elvis, RF River, Mystic Winds, Do Rocky Do, Sunset Swale, Fuel’s Stargazer, and Earl of Stafford.
Thinking about his favorite greyhounds, Gary also discussed his favorite greyhound racing memory. This, however, is not an easy decision to make because there are so many aspects that Gary has enjoyed and loved. One thing that always stands out for Gary, though, is the sounds of the spectators.
“The anticipation of the race, with the noise level slowly rising. Then, the dogs burst from the starting box and the cheering starts. As they circle the track, the noise builds, then reaches a crescendo at the finish line. Moments later, there are some cheers, and some words not fit for print, as the results are posted.”
We completely understand the amazing experience that Gary describes. Not much can beat the excitement, camaraderie, and fun that comes with watching a greyhound race.
We would like to thank Gary Dura for speaking with us about his experience with the greyhound racing industry. Be sure to tune into Gary’s Off The Track podcast and blog via The Telegraph Herald for greyhound racing news. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.