Back in 2008 we warned you that Preakness Tailgating Was Not For The Timid. The Pimlico Infield during The Preakness Stakes was getting so rowdy with beer cans flying through the air, alcohol soaked fist fights and kids running foot races on top of the banks of portable toilets that it was just a matter of time before management clamped down on the debauchery.
Sure enough, Pimlico put the kibosh on traditional horse racing tailgating by Banning Outside Beverages in 2009. Anyone else shocked that at the 2009 race there was a Sobering Attendance Drop of 30 percent? Yeah, me neither.
But now it seems as though the marketers promoting this year’s Preakness are returning to their roots and encouraging the rowdy behavior to once again return to the Pimlico Infield. This year the marketing geniuses at Pimlico have rolled out an ad campaign complete with social media aspects promoting InfieldFest, an all day party atmosphere that will be hosting a cornhole tournament, bikini contest, live music and even bottomless mugs of beer. The mascot to promote this year’s event and give it a face? Kegasus, a drunken centaur, sporting a nipple ring, body hair, mullett and a beer belly. Picture Kenny Powers on top of a horse’s body and then you are close.
The message is pretty clear this year. Pimlico wants to bring the tailgate party back in a big way and it doesn’t care if it offends the sundress wearing, big hat sporting ladies that are traditionally attending Triple Crown Horse races. Check out one of Kegasus’ TV spots.
The campaign is not without its critics who claim Kegasus promotes binge drinking and irresponsibility. Jason Loviglio, a University of Maryland media professor says race fans will be invited “to pursue sunstroke and alcohol poisoning.”
Apparently the promotion is working. Pimlico infield ticket sales are up 17 percent over last year according to one local TV report.