Lawn Jockey Competition Heats Up in ‘Spa City’
By Cecily Bapp
Published July 10th, 2016
SARATOGA SPRINGS —Summertime in Saratoga: the track, crowded city streets, Dave Matthews, and, of course, the city’s annual ‘Lawn Jock’ competition.
Long a Saratoga mainstay, the gay and colorful cement jockey statues are synonymous with the historic Spa City, residents have entered hundreds of photos depicting their favorite cement jock in this year’s competition.
“Everyone in this town’s got at least one lawn jock somewhere — they’re a tradition here,” said J. Wyatt Wendtworth III, spokesperson for this year’s event. “I know cement jocks aren’t as popular as they once were, except in Saratoga. Tradition is alive in this city. It even sometimes seems as though time has stood still. We still like to think we need someone to hold our horses.”
Indeed, one only needs to traipse just a few city blocks to see there’s no shortage of boot-clad jockeys outside homes and businesses holding aloft hitching post rings. But take a look closer and you’ll notice no two jocks are the same, as each is painted in different colors and complexion depending on the owner’s own personal style and choice.
Consider for instance, last year’s winner: a sombrero-clad ‘Bandito Jock’, a nod to the hard-working semi-enslaved track workers that make Saratoga hum.
“We’re just so darned excited for this year’s competition,” Wendtworth said. “People will see very traditional jocks, and some newer ones, too, including a little feller we’ve nicknamed, ‘Andy’ — you know, for the governor.”
This year’s contest also will feature several new categories, including: Most Colorful Jockey, Most Original, and the Most Strained Facial Expression. Winners will be announced trackside on opening day of race season by esteemed and nearly embalmed Saratoga benefactress, MaryLou Whitney.
A Lawn Jocks Pub Crawl Tour also will be held to raise revenue for the city, combined with the inevitable boom in DUI, and drunk and disorderly tickets expected to be issued that day.