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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Blog Spotlight: Jim Gartland
Posted on May 26, 2018

We spoke with the National Greyhound Association’s (NGA) Executive Director, Jim Gartland, to gain further insight into the current news surrounding greyhound racing and Jim’s experiences in the industry.

Jim began a summer job in 1973 at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Over the years, at one time or another, Jim ended up working at all tracks throughout Colorado. He also worked at Woodlands, Victory Land, Wheeling, and Shoreline Star. These locations included jobs that varied from leadout to manager, which has helped Jim to know the ins and outs of each job and the issues that those workers face.

Jim and his wife Molli

Throughout the years, Jim owned a few litters and raced greyhounds himself. He had taken some breaks from working at the track to work at the farms and kennels, and has fostered greyhounds as well. Talking with Jim, it was clear that he really loves the dogs, which is his favorite part of working in the greyhound racing industry. He mentioned that some of his favorite times were while he was working with the puppies on a farm. Another thing Jim loves about greyhound racing is the people involved and the passion they have.

“Although everybody is very competitive and everybody wants to win, at the end of the day, they all know that they are in the game for each other.”

Jim started to become interested in taking the place of Gary Guccione at the NGA when others began telling him that he would be a great candidate for the job. Factors that helped Jim to accept the NGA Executive Director position was that he wanted to be involved in the greyhound racing industry without having to work the difficult schedules that can come from working at the track, farms, and kennels.

Currently, Jim and the NGA are working on getting everything modernized and upgraded. Another goal of the NGA is to incorporate more members, which they are hoping to do so through added options such as ambassador members for trainers, helpers, fans and adoption advocates; essentially, those that are invested in greyhound racing, but do not own greyhound racers themselves.

NGA Hall of Fame event honoring John Boyd

With the scrutiny of the greyhound racing industry that has been brought on further by the Florida bill to end greyhound racing in the state, Jim said that there are certainly challenges with his position in the NGA. While the NGA itself was intended simply as a registry for greyhounds, they are becoming involved in the issues that arise around greyhound racing, such as the Florida bill. With it no longer being a legislative issue and something that will be decided upon by the voters, the NGA is trying to be more vocal about the realities of greyhound racing, busting the myths surrounding the sport and opening up about the actual activities that occur. The NGA is working on spreading these messages to Floridians as well as promoting them on their social media via Facebook and Twitter. The hope is that these efforts will help provide individuals with new insights into the greyhound racing industry that they previously did not have.

If the Florida bill to ban greyhound racing passes, Jim mentioned that a good portion of the tracks would probably continue through 2020, slowly phasing out racing to help with greyhound adoption and placement of the racers. Though the ban would be a very sad situation, where many jobs in the industry would be lost and many greyhounds would need to find homes, Jim said that they would continue encouraging racing elsewhere and huge efforts would be made towards ensuring all greyhounds are rehomed. A sad factor for Jim in regards to the possibility of greyhound racing declining is that greyhounds would probably no longer be bred, which would leave out a wonderful breed of dogs for people to own and love. As it stands, Jim discussed how the NGA receives calls from greyhound adoption organizations requesting more retired racers because they will have a waitlist of potential families waiting to adopt a greyhound. This is with about 95% of retired racers currently being adopted out. The remaining 5% are greyhounds that go back to the farms for breeding or retirement.

In terms of greyhound racing returning to Kansas, Jim is optimistic about the possibility. Jim said that this last legislative session was really close in votes, so he believes that they could get somewhere next time.

“There are enough people committed to it now both in the legislature and people around the state that we could probably get it done, so I’m still hopeful”

Reprinted with permission: Greyhound Channel.  (We would like to thank Jim Gartland for speaking with us about the NGA, greyhound racing, and his experiences in the industry. Make sure to follow the NGA on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the accurate news around greyhound racing. Do you work in it or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog? Contact us at