Everyone knows that events could never run without the many volunteers that graciously offer their time and labor. Most people have their list of reasons as to why they don’t volunteer more often. Either they don’t know enough about events, or they don’t have enough time, or they are too busy competing themselves. However, there are some pretty nice benefits to volunteering that you should think about before you make your decision.
1. Free food
Is there anything more to say? Most events that I’ve volunteered at have really good food, too. This past weekend, we were offered a variety of sandwiches, from chicken salad to caprese, as well as bins full of chips, cookies, drinks, and candy. Another time we volunteered everyone got a paper-bag lunch with homemade sandwiches and cookies, which was very generous of the event. The food is usually unlimited, AND it’s an excuse to eat junk food all day!
2. Free stuff
Yet another chance to build up your ever-growing collection of hats and t-shirts. Everyone loves free stuff!
3. Seeing the rides up close and in person
Live streams are great and convenient, but watching the horses fly by a few feet away from you is just a whole other level that will take your breath away. You get to be inside the ring and are able to notice things that you would never notice from the live stream or from a distance. You can feel the anxiety, excitement, tension, and restlessness in the air, and it’s one of the few places where there are people simultaneously having the best days and the worst days of their lives. There will be the rider who is sitting in first after cross country and produces a clear round in the ring that is brimming with tension, and there will be the rider who is schooling one of his lower level horses and has a silly fall in the show jumping.
4. Talking to/meeting the riders
You are in the same place as lots of upper level riders. Take advantage of that, and get pictures and talk to the riders. You can find the riders almost anywhere, from around the VIP tent to the Porta-Potties. There really aren’t many other places where you can get the behind-the-scenes access that you can get as a volunteer.
5. Being a part of a great event and helping it run smoothly
Best of all, you get to be part of a great event, and help it run smoothly for all the riders. It’s usually a long day, but you get to spend it with friends, watching some great rides in an exciting atmosphere. Why wouldn’t you want to volunteer?