TROY - Tonight, people will be able to go to the races without ever leaving Troy.

They will be taking part in the Troy Rotary Club's 34th annual "Armchair Races" fundraiser at the Troy Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall.

What are the "Armchair Races?" I was a bit curious when I heard about them myself.

I talked with Bill Smith, Troy Rotary Club treasurer, and another Rotary Club member, Jerry Allen, about the event. Interestingly enough, the races don't involve armchairs.

"Many Troy area people do not know what the Armchair Races are and might be interested in some information concerning them," Bill said. "We show 10 previously-taped horse races which the people attending can bet on their favorite horse; payoff odds are based on the amount bet on each horse, with 50 percent of the betting money returned as prize money. There are also 50/50 drawings, and several door prizes drawn after each race which are donated by local business."

The races are shown on four televisions that are set up in the social hall, and there are even betting windows that look like the ones at the races, to create just the right atmosphere.

After talking with Bill and Jerry, however, I still had to wonder. Why call them "Armchair Races" if there are no armchairs?

It seems that "armchair" is just an expression - kind of like an armchair quarterback.

"That just means you're not at the track," Jerry explained.

Although the races are taped previously, no one knows who the winners are ahead of time.

Jerry said the Armchair Races are popular in Troy.

"You get a lot of repeat customers," he commented.

Bill said people like the races because it's a "big social event," and a good mid-winter break. Plus, he said, people like to support the Rotary Club. There is a meal at 6 p.m. with the horse races beginning around 7 p.m.

A limited number of tickets are available for tonight's Armchair Races. Call Bill at (570) 297-2900 for more information.

He explained that the Armchair Races is one of the two primary fundraisers for the Rotary Club. The other is the Pennsylvania Heritage Festival at Alparon Park in September in Troy.

The Rotary Club uses the proceeds to support various local funding needs in the community, such as the Troy Food Pantry and the Helping Hands charity, just to name a few.

Western Bradford Notebook is an occasional feature focusing on the Troy-Canton area and surrounding communities in western Bradford County. If you have a story idea for this feature, contact staff writer Eric Hrin at (570) 297-5251; email: