Click here to view all the 2013 Dan Patch Award photos
Click here to view the entire 2013 Dan Patch Journal
IT WAS A GREAT CONGRESS AND MEETINGS!
Time to take pen in hand…oops…time to start keyboard stroking and update everyone on the latest and greatest news concerning USHWA!
I only collapsed and slept for 11 straight hours for the first time in 16 years after our great Congress and USHWA meetings were finally concluded. But I must say that I thought the entire event went very well and hope that everyone that was able to attend felt the same way.
The networking opportunities were great, as were the panel discussions. I think the Social Media group was top-notch, especially what Rob Key had to say and his willingness to asset us all in improving and honing our Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter skills to help us reach out to more people, not only within our industry but beyond. There was a lot to learn from all of the panels and my only regret was that time did not allow them to be longer.
Special thanks have to go to the USTA for all that they did in supporting this Congress, helping line up speakers, doing a lot of the background work, proving breakfasts and lunches, etc. And kudos to HHI and HTA for their efforts also, all playing a big part with USHWA in the Congress.
As per our USHWA meetings it was great that nearly every one of the directors and past presidents was able to attend and be part of our meetings. We had some pretty lively discussions on a number of topics that we hope will help our organization to grow and prosper.
I want to especially thank our 1st Vice President, Chris Tully, and our 2nd Vice President, Tim Bojarski, for being my right and left hand men in helping run the entire event. We did triple overtime to insure everything went as smoothly as possible and for the most part it did thanks to their untiring efforts.
Everyone chipped in and helped!
And, of course, most everyone chipped in and helped and made the event great. Chris and his work on the Journal and Congress agenda guide was “Over the Top” and Kim’s (Ms USHWAN of the Year) cover design and content for the journal made it the best I have ever seen in 30 plus years. Also special kudos to our treasurer, Ms Judy Davis-Wilson, who despite being extremely ill Friday and Saturday, had assembled a team that would have taken over if necessary, but, as good luck would have it, there was Judy at the reception table Sunday at 5 pm and she was even able to make it through the dinner.
A big thank you to Debbie Little and all four of our Emcees who were exceptional in their presentation/show. I have heard only rave reviews of the Dan Patch Dinner. In fact things went so smoothly we had to “fill the gap” before dinner with the live auctions and yet after the dinner the numerous awards still flowed through with numerous well-deserved standing ovations.
Even the cute Dan Patch Photo Booth was a big hit. I can’t believe how many photos within two days were up on Facebook. Although I have to scold Kim Rinker, who during most of the cocktail party seemed to be hanging around that booth as she was in at least six to eight different photos! Come on Kim!
Whitney and her crew (including her daughter) did a beautiful job with the flowers and centerpieces but please remember for next year to let the USHWA president have a boutonniere too!
Of course some things did not go as planned, and mistakes were made as they always are, but we will learn from them for next year’s event.
I know I may have left out others who also helped with the congress, dinner and our meetings, but the longer I make this letter the less likely you will read it all. But I thank you one and all!
USHWA Meetings & Dinner 2014
I have named Gordon Waterstone as Chairman of the Locations Committee for 2014. His team will get bids from area hotels in Dover, DE, Las Vegas, NV, Orlando, FL and perhaps other sites and they will see who has the best to offer us for next year’s dinner and meetings. We are looking at the weekends of either Feb. 9 or 23, 2014 and hope to have a decision in the next few months. This will also depend on Canada’s moving the date and location for their O’Brien Awards.
Our meetings were, of course, not uneventful as we had some lively discussions and debates on many issues and John Manzi was only out of order a couple of times…..maybe more. Jerry Connors will be producing and proofing minutes and issuing updated by-laws in due time.
Financially, USHWA is still strong with approximately $109,000 in CD’s and general accounts. We are still awaiting final figures from this year’s big dinner and we are hopeful that we have turned a profit. For 2012 our P & L showed a loss of $692.84, but please note that figure includes a $10,000 deposit we had to make in 2012 to reserve hotel space and banquet facility for the 2013 USHWA meetings and Dan Patch Dinner. So in reality we made just over $9,300 in 2012.
As everyone should be aware from the press releases, long time USTA stalwarts Carol Cramer and John Pawlak were nominated for the Communicators Corner of the Hall of Fame, and we are hopeful they will be voted in later this year.
USHWA membership was up in 2012. We ended the year with 224 active members plus 11 associate members. Sadly we lost three members due to death. They were Rob Potter, Geoff Stein and Jim Tuite. Already membership in 2013 is on the rise with our new Canadian Chapter preparing to sign-up between six and ten new members throughout Canada.
Under By-Laws and Rules & Regulations there were a number of changes that were passed. These items will all be covered in the secretary’s meeting report.
The most notable changes were that the By-Laws that were passed in 2011 calling for changes in the Duties of Officers, mainly related to the Treasurer, were voted out, and voted in was the old way of administering the USHWA treasury, with the additions that bonding be set up with the national officers and that we look into more liability insurance for events such as the Clyde Hirt Workshop and our Dan Patch Awards Dinner.
I also apologized to the Directors for not properly informing them of the problems occurring with the new rules, mainly in insurance and banking procedures, and the lack of implementing the new rules during my first year as president.
The Kentucky Chapter submitted an R & R change that was passed that now requires two finalists in each category of the Dan Patch Equine Awards (including Broodmares) and for all of the human awards as well so that there will be some drama in holding off the winners until the night of dinner. There will be more to come on the human end of this rules change.
But that is a wrap-up from our meetings in Florida.
Please feel free to call or email me anytime with issues about USHWA or just to say hi!
Carol Cramer and John Pawlak, two talented communicators who have made their primary mark in harness racing
while working for the sport's governing body, the U. S. Trotting
Association, have been named as ballot candidates for the Communicators
Hall of Fame in voting conducted Friday by directors of the United
States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). The decisions came during
the annual meetings of USHWA, being held here this year in conjunction
with Harness Racing Congress VI.
Carol Cramer is now officially retired from the USTA,
but anyone who races a stakes horse today still feels her influence, as
she has retained the function as editor of the USTA Stakes Guide, the
foundation upon which owners and stake services build the racing
schedules of star horses. Carol also worked as the Advertising Manager
for the USTA's acclaimed Hoof Beats monthly magazine, and it is unlikely
that Jim Harrison's seminal book on the handling of harness racehorses,
Care And Training of the Trotter and Pacer, would have seen the light
of day if not for Cramer organizing and preparing the fundamental
brilliance of thought that Harrison gathered and added to.
In the mid-eighties John Pawlak traveled from Toledo in nothwest OH, where he served in several capacities, for Toledo Raceway Park,
to Columbus in the heart of the Buckeye State to serve as the Director
of Publicity. Some of Pawlak's duties have changed over the years, but
his core strengths have been utilized from day one, perhaps most notably
the datagathering for and editing of the Trotting and Pacing Guide, the
definitive annual fact book on North American harness racing. He has
also overseen many of the broadcasting functions of the USTA, stemming
from John's days as a TV sportscatser in Toledo and now expanded to his
innovations for the USTA in the e-communications age; and he is
well-known world-wide for his representation of the USTA and the U.S.
overall at the biennial World Trotting Conference and its World Driving
Cramer and Pawlak now go before the membership of
USHWA in Communicators Hall of Fame balloting in midsummer; if they
secure 75% of the votes from the electors, they will join the pantheon
of other great women and men who have set the highest standards in the
dissemination of harness racing information.
(l to r) Marc Aubin, George Napolitano Sr, Kathleen
Dempsey and Mel Turcotte. (Skip Smith photo)
A lively crowd of 220 horsemen
and women, family and friends, came out to celebrate the 22nd annual Hall of
Fame Awards Dinner which was held on Sunday February 10, 2013, and hosted by the Florida Chapter of the United States
Harness Writers Association at the Deerfield Beach Doubletree Hilton.
Inducted to the chapter’s Hall
of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders
within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the
betterment of the Standardbred Industry, were Marc Aubin of Pompano Beach,
George Napolitano Sr. of Margate, and Mel Turcotte of Coconut Creek.
Also inducted into the
Communicators’ Corner of the Hall of Fame, which is presented to an outstanding
individual who had devoted his or her print or broadcast career to promoting
the harness racing industry was Kathleen Dempsey of Pompano Beach.
The Clyde Hirt Media
Workshop is sponsored by the U.S. Harness Writers Association and Meadowlands
Racetrack. It is held in conjunction with harness racing's most prestigious
race (the Hambletonian) and offers college students a chance to learn from
journalism professionals while covering a major sporting event. Students
interact with a variety of sports professionals, write race previews and
results stories for daily newspapers and news websites and attend workshop
sessions with experts from print, broadcasting, public relations and other
Corey Alexander, one of the students from the 2012 workshop, produced a video featuring many of the highlights of the weeks activities. we are making it available here for you to view and see what great exposure the workshop is giving the sport of harness racing to college students who are up and coming media professionals.
Click here to see the video and experience what the young men and women from colleges all over North America have experienced; our sport, first hand.
Click here to read more about the workshop on the USTA website.
Throughout most of its 67-year history, the United States Harness Writers
Association, harness racing’s premier organization for communicators, has had
members who lived outside of the United States. They supported the goals of
USHWA, and benefited from two-way contact with the organization while being in
an “At-Large” category that includes membership near no local chapter of the
But with the membership
totals of one subgroup going over double digits recently, application was made,
and approved by USHWA Directors, for the first organized Chapter headquartered
outside the 50 States -- the Canadian Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers
Association, an embodiment of the nearly-“borderless” nature of current North
American harness racing.
There are 10 charter
members of the Canadian Chapter of USHWA, with that number expected to grow with
organized activities led by the northernmost Chapter giving an added dimension
to the attractiveness of joining USHWA, which votes on the sport’s major awards,
including inclusion in the Living Hall of Fame, which recognizes talent
throughout North America and indeed the world.
The charter members of
the Canadian Chapter have already selected Dave Briggs and Darryl Kaplan to
represent them on USHWA’s Board of Directors during USHWA’s annual meetings at
the upcoming Harness Racing Congress, taking place the weekend of March 1-3 at
the Westin Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In picking this duo, the
Canadians are putting forth a pair of informed and talented communicators: the
last two winners of the prestigious John Hervey writing award for feature
writing about trotting and pacing, with Briggs of the Canadian Sportsman
receiving this year’s award, succeeding TROT magazine’s
“This is a landmark
occasion in the history of USHWA,” said President Steven Wolf. “We are very
proud to welcome the first international Chapter to our association and know
they will develop into a great asset, not only to USHWA but to our
Steven Wolf, president of the United States Harness Writers’ Association (USHWA), has announced today that former USHWA President Leon Zimmerman has accepted a six-year term as a member of the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame Screening Committee.
Zimmerman, who was inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame in 2008, was President of USHWA from 1994 through 1995 and during his presidency was a voting member of the Hall of Fame Screening Committee. The New Jersey resident is a longtime Standardbred owner and member of USHWA, and he last year was named the Alan Prince USHWA Member of the Year for the second time in his career, one of only three people with that distinction.
“Leon’s vast knowledge and experience in our industry will make him a welcomed addition to the nominations process for the Living Hall of Fame,” Wolf said.
“I also want to thank USHWA member Kathy Parker, whose six-year term on the screening committee has ended, for her exceptional service to USHWA in this capacity,” Wolf stated.
Peter Arrigenna accepts for Archangel; Upstate NY's Horse of the Year
The top human and equine performers for the recently completed Batavia Downs meet and the best in Western New York were feted during the 2012 edition of the "Night of Distinction" which was held at the Downs on Saturday December 8th. Click herefor a photo recap.
Emcee John Manzi (left) looks on as awards are presented
Continuing the tradition of their annual awards banquet, the members and honorees of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA gathered for the 54th time on November 18th. Click here for a complete recap of their event with photos provided by Geri Schwarz. More photos have just been added and you can view them here.
Dan Leary, Mike Tanner, John Curtain and Bob Lieberman
The New England Chapter of USHWA held its 34th annual Hall of Fame induction and awards banquet on October 21st. Click here to see a complete photo replay of the presentations.
USHWA NEW MEMBER BROCHURE IS HERE-The hard work of the New Member Committee led by Chairwoman Jessica Schroeder has brought to frution a new tool to help broaden and build the membership of USHWA. It is a colorful and informational brochure that will explain exactly what USHWA is, what USHWA does, and why those who work in the sporting media would want to join.
We also had hard copies printed and are looking for all of our members to take this opportunity to help distribute the pamphlets (either electronically of paper copy) to anyone you may think would be intersted in becoming a part of our organization or convince someone who is not. It is inthe best interest of USHWA to get as many people on board with us to help promote our great sport.
The United States Harness Writers Association is a group of more than 250 members committed to the chronicling of harness racing through the print and electronic media. It was founded in 1947 by New York City area sportswriters who were covering harness racing at Roosevelt Raceway. It remains the only media organization in harness racing with a membership of newspaper, magazine, radio and TV, ad agency, publicists and others involved in racing communications. With more than 250 members, most of them allied to one of 12 regional chapters, the association strives to bring about a closer relationship among the media, racetracks and horsemen to promote a centuries-old American-bred sport.
USHWA members, in annual voting, choose harness racing's most prestigious awards like the Living Hall of Fame and the Horse-of-the-Year. Its Proximity Achievement Award is one of the sports most cherished honors. It also recognizes top divisional winners and leading drivers and trainers at its annual awards dinner, which began in 1948.
The association is governed by a member board of directors, which represents the chapters and at large members (those living or working in regions where there is no chapter). Also serving are seven national officers and all past presidents.
USHWA works with the united States Trotting Association in the Horse of the Year balloting. USHWA also presents the John Hervey Awards for excellence in writing and broadcasting. Its members choose Hall of Famers, so the association also works closely with The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at Goshen, New York.
Many chapters hold annual awards or recognition dinners to salute the leading horses and drivers in their areas. Some chapters also raise money for local charities.