Joe Nevills Interview: A Long Goodbye To Mount Pleasant Meadows


Joe put together a piece titled Biting the Dust Along Goodbye to mount pleasant meadows. And you can go back and Google it on the pollock report now. It was published on June July twenty second of last year and that is now and eclipse award winning feature and congratulations to Joe Honor. Joe Good morning my friend. Happy to have you onboard here man. Where'd you find that clip throwback I so I started google? I I wanted to come up with something to welcome you to the program. Something Mount Pleasant Meadows related and I started googling race calls at Mount Pleasant Meadows and that was is the only piece that I could find. I'm thankful that you put that together all those years ago. Yeah that was that was Scott Sirnak who actually wrote about in the stories won the eclipse award. The man did everything. He was the announcer. He was the bartender programs from marketing. Director Janitor Even puncher tickets on a slow today the secretary we had to do everything there yet. You know I said this is the top of the show you the peace article that you wrote was so good. It struck a chord for me. Personally I think it did for so many racing fans that have ever fallen in love with the race track. That is no longer there and correct me if I'm wrong. was that kind of the crux in the inspiration for you put this together. It's something that you know. The story took me probably Raleigh about five years to put together from first thoughts to hitting send on it. Just because I knew that I wanted to write something about my pleasant. That was when I closed. Because you know the demand for writing about forces. I mean the the the demand for writing about horse racing in Michigan so low that it's you know someone's going to do something wrong it's pretty much gotTa be me and I knew that I was only got got one shot at this and I needed to make it out so it's something that I've been trying to piece together for a long long time and get the right people to talk to the people that I associated with most with the track who are three people. I talked to for the story and you know. Try to stick the landing because I was only GonNa get one shot at this thing. You know miskin Michigan race tracks have been closing for a very long time. And you're a Michigan native. Why was Mount Pleasant Meadows? The one that was so personal for you. Well there are two reasons one is it was the closest track to me I grew up in town called Edmore Michigan about thirty five minutes from my pleasant. So usually the thoroughbred outposts were either in Detroit or the Detroit area or in Muskegon which is on the coast of Lake Michigan. So this is Kinda my local option. If I just wanted to go play the simulcast or you know just go watch live racing without having to take up. Most of my day month wasn't meadows was my option and you the other one was that it was just very accepting community. It's where my Grandpa taught me to read the racist. Learn the races and you know it was small enough that you got to know everybody because it had to because you know you could. I used to have a joke on twitter that I could go round and high five everyone on the tracks grounds if if I hit a good ticket and so you had to figure out who everybody was you know everybody. And that's something that stuck with me for years after the track is close when you stand stand there and you look at what is the old mount pleasant meadows location. What are some of the things that immediately hit you? I mean you think about some of the people and horses that were out there competing You know mount pleasant was the place where you know. There weren't a whole lot of professional jockeys professional trainers in the sense that this was their job. This was their ways to make a living You know a lot of them were a lot of the jockeys were factory workers or they worked as mechanics next. Had you know the country businesses. What have you you know a lot of other trainers? This was something that you know. They ran their horses on the weekends. Here and if they had a good one they'd go to Pinnacle Race Course a Great Lakes down there but like this. Was You know this. This was the base for them. So I think of those people and it was you know since it's such a small core. The same jockeys are the same group of eight ten jockeys or writing every race. The Same Group of you know twenty or so trainers are sending every horse through everything so I think that and I think the south you know. You played the clip of Scott announcing the races earlier. I think of all the different announcers that they had. I think of you know very specific people in the crowd yelling because you you know you get into a crowd of people have very distinctive voices especially when they're being very loud and you think of you know I think that's the jockeys wife and that's you know certain fan who just lost her. You lost a bet or something and just think of the sights and sounds and you know for me. I think of the smells. There's something that I wrote about in the story how you know. The track had a very particular particular smell when it was going I believe I said it was Plastic seats in the sun cigarettes in the open air and the stuff you find under a chairs. There's boot and it's just you know it's something very particular track that I've always associated with it whether it was actually a good smell or not is to be determined urban but I knew where I was when I was there and that was something that you know. It's association you know that I'm at a place I like and things are going to be all right. There are a few individuals that if you spend time talking with in this in this article and trainer nate funnel is one jockey. Lee Gates is another now many people when I say those names are not gonna any clue who were talking about so tell me a little bit more about those guys. So nate funnel He was born in Colorado. Moved to Oh Michigan when he was teen and he was The came up under trainer named Tony Cunningham. Who was a quarter horse trainer? WHO's actually gone on to do? Very well in Indiana China has been the meat leading trainer there several times and he went out his own in the last few years of track and did pretty well for himself both in the quarter. Horses this is N.. Thoroughbreds and Arabians not plus it had racist for all sorts of different breeds. They also round paints there too and you know it was just a very he. He came to the life of the party. Kinda guy when You know you go over to attract simulcasts at the bar there. As well. He'd always be at the at the bar. You know cracking wise. The people making jokes and just kind of you know he's he'd be the loudest voice in the room and you know he'd do the same out of the race track. It'd be he's the one that would always associate. Let's being somebody who would almost be like a wrestling bill and to the crowd and just sort of like you know John Jacking with people you know like Oh we got. The horse is going to be the favorite right right here. I've got the odd odd that you can do it. He'd always they only got the killer right here and you know he was. He was a big character. He was a big hairdryer. Small track and that really stood stood out pearly gates leave road for his parents primarily Dave and Shirley Gates They wrote on this parents would run on the fair circuit before my pleasant meadows opened and Lee had two riders build so he was the one that got up on the horses when he was in his teens and that just sort of became his thing after that I spent the weeks working at a factory nearby and the entire family lives on. Basically the same stretch of road around Blanchard Michigan. And we're right up on the weekends cans Something kind of interesting about the writing contingent is that the racist would go very quickly on Saturdays and Sundays. It started one. That'd be done by about four so everybody would ride their cards there. And then Grew up with them. We're getting a car together. And drive down to Indiana downs. which is a good five hour drive at least from my blood and they would ride the quarterhorse card there because it would always be the last two or three races on a night card so they leave my pleasant at about four? Drive down to Indiana Indiana downs and ride the horse races. There you know. What ten o'clock at night? Then turn around and come back and ride the Sunday racism applause so now these are people who made their living doing this but it was a hard living doing it to do it all they needed to

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