Close shave; cutting it fine; got there by a whisker; cut them to bits ....Jamie Ramsay has heard all those one-liners before. How come? He's Truro's harness racing barber. The Nova Scotia native followed his father into the hairdressing trade about 15 years ago but insists he will always find time to breed and race standardbreds.
“My grandfather Max was a trainer and was raised with Joe O’Brien, while my father Jim also drove horses until I was in my teens - so it was inevitable that I would follow them both into harness racing.
“Dad was also a barber and growing up, I never thought I'd be a barber, let alone one day own the building I worked in as a boy,” 43-year-old Ramsay told Harnesslink.
"It's quite a big deal for me," he added.
"Cutting hair brings back a lot of memories. I walk in the morning and I have a smile. It brings you back to when I was a little kid."
When Ramsay was five years old, he used to stop by Tattrie's Barber Shop in Truro twice a day to sweep the floor.
Now almost 40 years later, he's doing it again, but this time, as the shop owner.
"Now, I'm the boss," Ramsay offered with a chuckle, as he reminisced on the days of old. "It brings me full circle, really. Now a lot of horseman come in and see me to get their hair cut.”
Ramsay, who took over Jim's Barber Shop from his father in 2005, and moved just up the street when he purchased Truro's longest-standing hair-care centre a couple of years later.
“This job allows me to keep on working the horses. I will always work standardbreds. They are a life-time passion.
“I usually start my day at 5.30am and then go and work my horse. I then go and cut hair from 8.45am to 5pm and then I head back to the barn to feed the horse and spend time with my kids – Grace (12) and Faith (9),” Ramsay said.
His childhood harness racing memories are also firmly etched his head.
“Those early days I will never forget. I must have been only about four when I first jumped into the bike and I’ve never looked back since. The sport is well and truly in my blood,” he said.
Ramsay only has one horse in work at the moment – that being11-year-old, Cookie Dough Boy (1:55.1).
Since 1993 Ramsay has trained 18 winners in 10 seasons and reined 13 in the bike since1987. He’s happy with his dual lifestyle.
When Ramsay was in his teens he had his own stable.
“It was quite amazing really. I was still at school and I had my own barn and a couple of people working for me. That’s when I got really hooked,” he said.
When he was 18 Ramsay went and worked for Ronnie Waples in Florida but deep down the barber shop was calling and he was searching for job security, but he also wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I liked meeting people and a lot of Dad’s clientele were harness racing folk. The two seemed to go hand in hand,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay has had no champions over the years but rated the now 16-year-old Happy Family gelding, Matticarus as his best.
“I raced and travelled throughout Canada with his mother, Kid Icarus and the big thrill was breeding him from her.
It was a thrill breeding, owning, training and driving Matticarus.
“He went 1:58.3 at Truro,” said Ramsay who sees himself as more of a conditioner than driver.
Outside of harness racing Ramsay loves his fiancée Linda Dawson, his two daughters and several sports including strong men contests, hockey and poker.
His favourite team is the Montreal Canadians and his favourite sportsmen are Casey Price, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Georges St Pierre.
His favourite music is Pitbull, Jay Sean, Jennifer Lopez, Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker.
He also enjoyed reading The Bible, The Wealthy Barber, and The Divinci Code.
His favourite movies are Harry Potter, Eat Pray Love, and It’s A Wonderful Life.
As for TV Ramsay enjoys CSI Miami, Mantracker, Two And A Half Men and Property Virgins.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
(1) Jamie Ramsay is a very well built man and it comes as no surprise he’s into ‘Strong Man’ competitions. Here’s Ontario’s version:
(2) Jamie Ramsay is a big fan of the Montreal Canadians:
(3) He also respects the skills of Alex Ovechkin:
(4) Jamie Ramsay also enjoys listening to the music of Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull: