Four-and-a-half years ago, I couldn't have told you what a furlong was and had never heard the name Ray Paulick. This month I leave my position as President of the Paulick Report a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and counting this future Hall of Famer as one of my closest friends.
I've learned so much from Ray over these years and am blessed to hold some great memories with him. We've traveled around the country together and raised $300,000 for Breeders' Cup Charities. We've created five full time jobs in a terrible economy and built a following few believed we could. We worked 16-hour days every day for 2 years before we hired even our first employee. In the early days of the Paulick Report, our readers received news updates from a Walmart shopping cart, the side of every major highway in the Midwest and from a fast food restaurant inside the Magic Kingdom.
We kept up that stamina because a) we had no other choice and b) we knew something was happening. We saw traffic steadily increase. Significant money flowed in from two charity fund drives we held early on. And over time, the advertising community showed enough belief in what we were doing to invest their dollars in our product.
While I am proud of the contributions I have made on the business side, there is no Paulick Report without the superhuman dedication my close friend and Kevin Bacon look alike possesses. I have never seen anyone work harder and have more passion for his or her craft than Ray. There's a reason he's the best in the world at what he does. Ray Paulick never quits. And above all, Ray has proved to me and everyone else in the Thoroughbred industry the opportunity that lives in second chances.
But it was never my intention to run a Thoroughbred website long term. Publishing is not my passion and while there have been thrills along the way, I eventually became an ad salesman with a fancy title.
There are worse fates for sure, but I was fortunate to have a new opportunity come about. I now find myself on the marketing side of this business and have a newfound passion for my professional life.
There are so many people to thank for this wild and fantastic ride. Any list must start with Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm. Rob's advertising support and belief in what we were doing made our early years possible. Those who enjoy the Paulick Report today should take a moment to thank him for his vision.
If you look at the site today, there's hardly a stallion farm not currently advertising with us and judging from the early returns on our recent demographics study, this is a wise investment. But it wasn't always that way. A big thanks goes to Airdrie Stud and Walmac Farm for being the first to jump into our waters with both feet.
So many other advertisers contributed to where we are today, but I'm wise enough to not start naming names as I'll certainly forget someone. You know who you are. Know that I am forever grateful for you believing in what we have created.
To our readers, you are the lifeblood of the Paulick Report. There have been times we have butted heads, but know that we have a great affinity for your contributions and feedback. We are humbled the site we have created has become a daily destination for so many. Simply put, thank you.
We also wouldn't be here today without the contributions of Scott Jagow, Mary Schweitzer contributing writer Frank Mitchell and others who have served as some of the best and most reliable colleagues we could have ever asked for. You are a big reason why I feel okay about leaving at this time. Know this is hardly goodbye (although you may wish it was…)
To my wife Nikki, thank you for understanding when I'd have to pop out of bed at 1 in the morning to post a story Ray just wrote or check my phone every five minutes for breaking stories or respond to a reader's email while walking hand-in-hand in the mall. Should every man be so lucky to love his wife the way I love you.
Thank you to Carol, Chris and Meg Paulick for welcoming me into their home daily and not hating me as the guy who always was interrupting dad during dinner. You are forever part of our extended family.
I leave the Paulick Report at its strongest point ever. If you wanted to buy a banner ad today, we couldn't sell one to you (but please keep checking back; we'll find room for you). And that's ultimately the reason for my exit. It's time for the next challenge. It's time for someone else to build on the foundation I have laid.
As Shakespearee once wrote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Couldn't have said it better myself…so I won't.
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