Tuesday, May 16, 2017

USET Contest

Back in 1980, Breyer ran a subscription contest for Just About Horses, with different prize levels resulting in different awards. For fifty subscriptions, you got a Test Color!

In retrospect, it seems like a pretty fabulous deal: subscriptions to JAH at the time were a mere dollar. So you could have gotten your own personally designed Test Color for a mere fifty bucks! And at least one person did:

But of course, this was 1980: the average retail price of a Traditional Breyer Horse, according to a Bentley Sales Company flier dated May 1980, was $6.99. (FYI: for Classics, it was $4.99, and Stablemates it was $1.79. I know, I know…)

I didn’t enter this contest since most of my friends who were into live horses or Breyers at the time already had subscriptions, and my friends or relatives who weren’t wouldn’t have appreciated me asking.

Five years later, I managed to make it to Model Horse Congress for the first time, and acquired my first Test Colors. While I didn’t get to design them, they did cost me considerably less than fifty dollars. (Several of them combined, even. Again, I know…)

I have acquired many more Test Colors since then – so many that I’ve even had the luxury to sell a few – so the appeal of this kind of prize is no longer as strong as it used to be.

While I have had some ideas translated or incorporated into Breyer releases over the years, I’ve never had a Test Color designed by me for me. I simply can’t afford the “Design a Test” auction at BreyerFest, and the other opportunities have never really panned out.

But yesterday I got that e-mail from Breyer about the fundraising contest for the United States Equestrian Team Foundation - “to increase awareness of equestrian sports” – with the top fundraiser getting a “a custom Breyer® model” and “a framed Rio Olympic poster signed by the entire 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Team.”

(That “custom Breyer model” being, of course, a self-designed Test Color under another name.)

This time around, I’ll go for it. The cause itself is a worthy one, and it doesn’t involve me annoying my family or coworkers into getting a subscription for a magazine they wouldn’t ready anyway. Even if I don’t “win” this contest (unlikely anyway), it’s still a win for USET.

All this means in the short-term (until the end of the contest in early June) is that I’ll have a link off to the side, and have a few more posts focusing on past and present Breyer USET releases in the interim. I’ve written about Breyer USET models a lot in the past – most recently during my trip to attend the Chasing the Chesapeake event back in October – and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I have even more to say about the subject.

What was funny was that while I was reading through that e-mail I was fixated on the illustration of the prizes:

The picture that they so helpfully labeled “sample model” is actually one of those Sample Valegros that I am slightly obsessed about! I’d be just as happy with one of those as with any Test Color I could design, though I wouldn’t turn down a Test Color, if the opportunity arose.

It’s also worth noting – and most likely, a coincidence – that that first Breyer contest with a Test Color prize took place the same year that Breyer’s USET Gift Set debuted.

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