Blog Spotlight: Steve Schiferl

SteveSchiferl

If there is one thing we can all agree on it is that greyhounds are FAST, 45 mph fast to be exact. That means, capturing photos of greyhounds can be a difficult task and takes a keen eye. That is something that Steve Schiferl has, snapping amazing shots of greyhounds both during their racing careers and after. Speaking with Steve, it is clear that he truly loves greyhounds. Whether acting as Vice President of Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) or capturing gorgeous photos of greyhounds, Steve’s life seems to revolve around the hounds that we all love.

Steve’s love for greyhounds started 23 years ago when his roommate had adopted a greyhound. Steve was able to get a firsthand experience with a greyhound and fell in love with the amazing breed. About one year later, Steve adopted his first greyhound, Tom Tom. Being so smitten with greyhounds, it wasn’t long before Steve joined the GPA Wisconsin board to help find homes for retired racers.

 

“These people are just amazing…I fell in love with the industry and the people.”

Working with GPA over the years, Steve participated in many greyhound adoption events. It was at one event that a photographer was brought in to get pictures of the hounds. This was before digital cameras, so it was special to have a photographer capture wonderful pictures of the greyhounds at the event. That experience gave Steve a bit of an itch for photography. Once digital cameras and camera phones made an appearance, Steve and his colleagues had a lot of fun taking pictures of the pups. This, ultimately, led Steve into getting his first digital camera. As he gained experience snapping photos of the greyhounds and trying out various camera lenses, Steve realized that he wanted to take a shot at capturing pictures of the greyhounds while they raced. This opportunity opened up last year for Steve when he was able to get great photos of the hounds racing at Iowa Greyhound Park. Having such a wonderful experience at Iowa Greyhound Park, Steve also visited Wheeling Island where he was able to get action shots of the hounds racing.

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When taking photos at the track, first thing Steve does is make sure that he has a program on hand so that he can note who he is taking photos of that day. He then sets up his camera and takes various pictures of the greyhounds before, during, and after they race. While Steve enjoys watching greyhounds race, he is not able to actually see the races while he’s taking photos because he is looking through a lens and is focusing on a certain point of the track or a specific greyhound. Once Steve is finished capturing photos for the day, he then goes through them to find the ones that turned out well. With Steve taking photos for up to twelve races, he can end up with 1,000 pictures from each visit, so this last step can take awhile. Seeing the photos is always fun for Steve, though, because he loves capturing the beauty and passion of a greyhound.

“To see the look in their eyes, the intensity, the love that they have… You can see it in the pictures.”

Being involved in the greyhound racing industry for so long, Steve has many memories that he treasures, but the very first greyhound he adopted would have to be his favorite. That decision and experience made Steve fall deeper in love with greyhounds, leading him to adopt 14 greyhounds over the years. In terms of memories taking pictures at the track, Steve’s favorite was a rainy visit to Iowa Greyhound Park on September 2nd of last year. Steve ended up capturing one of his favorite photos so far, an amazing shot of DS Rudolph running around the turn.

DSRudolph
DS Rudolph in race 12 at Iowa Greyhound Park on 9/2/18

Steve loves capturing the greyhounds in their racing element. Not only does he enjoy the experience of taking the photos and seeing the results for himself, but he loves giving the photos to those that will enjoy them too. For Steve, the best part of his photography hobby is giving the photos to those who share his love for greyhounds. Having a greyhound’s adopted family get to see their pup in action during their racing career through Steve’s photos is something special because it gives the adopters a peak at the previous years of their greyhound’s life that they did not get to see or experience. On the flip side of that, greyhound racing owners and trainers get to see the hounds they worked with and loved in their retired life via Steve’s photos of adoption events. Steve also hopes that his pictures will bring awareness to the public so that they can see the owners, trainers, and handlers walking the dogs out and loving on them. Perhaps it will pique people’s interest in the greyhound racing industry so that they visit a track or kennel and check it out, see it through their own eyes, and enjoy themselves.

“There’s a lot of big hearts in the industry.”

 

We would like to thank Steve Schiferl for taking the time to speak with us and share his wonderful involvement with greyhounds. Greyhound Pets of America is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation founded in 1987, and is the largest single non-profit Greyhound adoption group worldwide. Since opening its doors in 1987, Greyhound Pets of America Chapters have worked together to adopt over 80,000 Greyhounds into loving homes. 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 custserv@greyhoundchannel.com.

This Week With The Professor: Hot Kennels

HotKennels

One handicapping factor that is sometimes overlooked is the “hot kennel” factor. It is  a know fact that kennels get hot and of course vice versa. There can be many reasons that a kennel may get hot and it seems like all the greyhounds in that kennel run to their peak performance.

One reason may be that the trainer has wormed the kennel. This is done periodically (more frequently in warm climates) to rid the dogs of parasites that they may have picked up. A lot of times this leads to the greyhounds feeling better and running well. If the kennel had gone flat and then picks up, a lot of the dogs had gone down in grade and when feeling well again, quickly go back to their proper grade.

Another reason could be a change in feed, or training routine. This will often lead to the greyhounds uptick in performance. I can give you an example of this. I once had a kennel owner running a kennel in Florida ask me to take over his kennel because the greyhounds performances had fallen off dramatically. When I went into the kennel, I discovered that the trainer had been giving the greyhounds too many supplements in their feed. The kennel was quiet and the dogs listless. I immediately changed the feed to strickly meat and meal. Within a week, the dogs were more lively and noisy in the kennel. The greyhounds were all down in grade and immediately started winning and running at their top level. We were the leading kennel, by far, for a few weeks and I had several trainers come and ask me what we were doing to get the dogs to run so well. I said, “nothing, just went back to basics.” The dogs had been given so many vitmains that their body chemistry had become toxic. In conclusion, watch out when kennels get hot and use that knowledge to improve your chances of picking winners.

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