Tooting his own horn: Meet the Minnesota musician behind Canterbury Park's signature sound

It's race day at Canterbury Park and visitors are placing their bets on having a good time.

But a fan favorite is helping preserve a racing tradition as iconic as the winner's circle or a photo finish.

"It's an opportunity for me to perform, and it just gives me a great feeling to put a little smile on people's faces out here," said the racetrack's bugler Lynn Deichert.

Deichert has been the main bugler at the track for nearly three decades. He puts on his signature red jacket and black hat four days a week and plays "Call To The Post" a few minutes before every race, eight to 10 times a night.

"It signifies that the horses have hit the track, and they're just minutes away from the gates," said Deichert.

The familiar tune is usually by whatever rouser or ringer Deichert decides to tack on the end.

"When I'm out there, I'm on. The focus is on me. My picture is on the television out there, so it's showtime. It's showtime," said Deichert.

Over the years, Deichert has become almost as much of a fixture as the horses and jockeys themselves.

"I finish the call and any number of times people will ask to take pictures. They just want to talk. They want to ask about the tradition of the call. How did I get this job," said Deichert.

Between races, he still practices in his office to make sure he has hot chops when it's time to perform.

"I still get nervous every time I go out there. Absolutely. But I think that's probably what keeps me young and keeps me motivated to practice, just keep perfecting," said Deichert.

While most people know him as the bugler at Canterbury, Deichert is a professional musician, who's carved out a career playing a number of permanent contract gigs around the Twin Cities.

He tickles the ivories in the morning and over the lunch hour at a pair of office buildings in the western suburbs Monday through Friday, adding a touch of class to the corporate culture he has never worked in himself.

"I've never had an office job, and I just could not sit still in a small cubicle or do something like that. If I did, I'd be singing. I bring my horn to the office, and I'd wake people up a little bit and shake it up a bit. I would probably do that, but they probably wouldn't hold on to me too long," said Deichert.

The 67-year-old also has a jazz trio that performs at Canterbury eight or nine times a summer for special occasions.

"We're really synchronized with each other. And so when you see us perform, we're having fun, but we're professional, meaning that we're all business with tempos and whatnot. We're respectful to each other," said Deichert.

On top of that, he runs a company that provides musicians for corporate gigs and special events and is an adjunct trumpet professor at Carleton College.

"I'm just so impassioned with doing what I'm doing. Performing. Creating something that maybe a lot of people aren't able to do," said Deichert.

While most racetracks play a recorded version of "Call To The Post," announcer Paul Allen, who came up with Deichert's nickname Sir Leonard Deichert, says a live bugler adds some pageantry with a personal touch.

"The fact that he's so kind and the fact that he engages with fans and takes pictures and plays the little ditties, people just love him and I love him too," said Deichert.

Deichert isn't usually one to toot his own horn, but as long as he is healthy,  he doesn't see a finish line in sight.

"It's not a job. It's a passion. I like to think I bring something special here and so I can see myself for any number of years," said Deichert.