The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando features twelve on-site restaurants, a complete spa and an Arnold Palmer designed golf course.
The 2018 Dan Patch awards Banquet will be held at the luxurious Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, February 25, 2018. The National USHWA meetings will also be held there starting on Saturday, February 24.
An USHWA-only reservation portal has been set up with special event room pricing for our members and honorees and it is now live and accepting reservations. Please be advised that only a limited number of rooms have been allotted for this event and we strongly suggest you make your reservations early at this 5-star resort as they will sell out quickly.
Download a full color brochure from the hotel here.
No sooner was a very eventful Hambletonian day in the books; it seems we are now counting the days to the Little Brown Jug. Where does the summer go? With so much racing action seemingly every week the time looking forward to the next great race just eats away at the calendar.
HALL OF FAME VOTING
The 2017 Hall of Fame ballots are in the mail; if you haven't received yours already, it should be in your mailbox shortly (or let the Secretary know). Please keep in mind that the deadline for voting is Wednesday, September 13, and you may reply with your selections either via e-mail or the good old USPS. Please make sure you follow all the instructions included with your packet and reply in a timely matter.
Hall of Famer and advisor Jim Simpson remarked that this was by far the best set of complied biographies that the Hall of Fame Screening Committee had ever received and praised the work of the new USHWA Advisory Committee for their work putting them together.
NEW USHWA WEBSITE IS CLOSE TO COMPLETION
The new USHWA website is nearing completion and I can tell you it’s looking awesome. Tom Hicks has been working hard with designers from web.com, who is building the site for us. The new site will give us the option for online pay, and you could also pay annual dues, buy Dan Patch Banquet tickets or even conduct any other business that would require the transfer of funds.
We will also have live streaming ability as well as the capacity for selling banner ads. And of course the new site will display all of our content in a more cohesive and easier-to-navigate manner.
We will send out a notice as soon as it goes live.
Florida Chapter President and new Hall of Famer Steve Wolf took a road trip up to Orlando for us to look over the Rosen Shingle Creek, which is the host property for the 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet. And to say he was impressed with it would be an understatement. The food, the accommodations, all the facilities and the property were all top of the line. Mr. Wolf also looked over the layout of the banquet room and simply said “It’s huge!”
We will have a reservation link up shortly so you can start making your arrangements early.
PLAN A CHAPTER MEETING NOW
You might want to start planning a Chapter meeting in the next month or so to discuss possible human awards and Communicators Hall of Fame nominees, and perhaps talk about By-Law change and Rules and Regs change proposals.
And also the first nomination deadline of the year comes up in October for the Bergstein/Proximity Award (250-500 word biography per nominee, one per chapter). That would also be a good topic of discussion.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ITEMS FOR THE DPA SILENT AND LIVE AUCTIONS
As was mentioned in my previous newsletter, you are aware that we annually hold a silent auction to help fund not only the business of USHWA, but also the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and the Clyde Hirt Workshop.
In recent years, the items that have been made available to us for this auction have dwindled severely, and we need your help and support to turn the tide.
This is a call to EVERY USHWAN!
Please take a minute of your day to call a business, hotel, sport team, industry outlet, race track, farm, distributor, anyone or anything you can think of and try to get donations for this auction so we can more adequately support the worthy causes that the proceeds are put towards.
To date, I have only received a response from Dave Brower and Melissa Keith with offers of auction items. I know it’s early, but it’s never too early to help the organization. Whether you attend the banquet or not, it would help the functions of the organization immensely if everyone got just one donation of any value to put into this auction.
The best of racing luck to everyone the rest of the summer, and hopefully I will see you sometime between the Jug and the Breeders Crown.
Tim Bojarski President of USHWA
Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg will be voted on for possible induction to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY in 2018.
Jules Siegel, owner of Fashion Farms in Pennsylvania, twice national Owner of the Year in the U.S. and Owner of the Decade (2000s) as named by Standardbred Canada, and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, an important breeder, owner, and board member of organizations on both sides of the Atlantic, were named ballot candidates for the sport’s most prestigious honor, the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, this past weekend by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association.
Siegel, who will turn 90 this year, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in pharmacy, and operated a chain of drug stores for 40 years. When he sold the drug stores in 1995, his wife and partner Arlene, who passed away in 2010, insisted, “you cannot retire to nothing,” so the Siegels’ Fashion Farms soon became home to some of Standardbred racing’s best broodmares and racehorses.
Tagliabue won the Hambletonian the year Jules Siegel retired -- the first of eight Dan Patch Award winners for him. He has five Breeders Crown victories to his credit as well, three of them homebreds with the farm’s “Broadway” first name: Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, and Broadway Donna just last year.
Wallenius-Kleberg is the owner of Menhammar Stuteri AB, the most successful breeding farm in Sweden for the last nine years; her family has owned the farm for 70 years, having been purchased in 1947 by her father Olof Wallenius. Menhammar Stuteri is noted for having stood the transcontinental champion Mack Lobell at stud, and also for standing two stallions sent to Sweden by Wallenius-Kleberg’s business partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth: Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee.
A tireless worker for the sport, Wallenius-Kleberg is a director of the Hambletonian Society in the U.S., and in 2011 received the Pinnacle Award for promotion of the sport. In Sweden, she was the former chair of the Swedish Breeders Association and of the organization operating Solvalla Racetrack, home of the famous Elitlopp, and is an honorary lifetime member of these two organizations and of the Swedish Trotting Association. If elected, Wallenius-Kleberg would become the first woman enshrined in the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg were among nominees sent in by the chapters of USHWA for the consideration of the Screening Committee. After meeting with an Advisory Committee comprised of Hall of Famers, USHWA’s Screening Committee made its decisions on the day of the annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, the first Sunday in July.
Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg will be joined on the midsummer ballot by Carl Becker, race-caller/auctioneer/pedigree authority, and Dave Briggs, nine-time winner of the Hervey Award for outstanding writing about the sport; they are the candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame. If a nominee receives 75 percent of the yes-no votes cast, she or he will be elected. The results will be announced shortly after Labor Day.
The new Hall of Famers will be first feted at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Feb. 25, 2018, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, in conjunction with USHWA’s annual meetings. The new Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted during the Hall of Fame Sunday Dinner in 2018 on July 1.
If you didn't get the chance to attend the 2017 Dan Patch Awards presented by Hoosier Park, click this link and watch it in its entirety. And if you were one of the 450 people who did, relive your favorite moments from the presentation.
Click here and here for two separate Red Carpet photo albums
Click here for other candid photos from the banquet
The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the world’s largest organization for industry communicators, conducted its annual two days of business meetings this past weekend at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino along “the Strip” in this renowned gambling mecca. The weekend culminated in the Sunday evening celebration of the sport’s best and brightest stars of 2016, both human and equine, at the annual Dan Patch Annual Banquet, for which Hoosier Park in Indiana joined with USHWA as its first Dan Patch Banquet title presenters.
The presence of Hoosier Park, and several other high-recognition entities of the sport providing sponsorship of phases of the Dan Patch Banquet, was reflective of the hard work of many individuals in shoring up the financial bottom line of the organization, and then developing a plan upon which to expand and help make USHWA’s economic base even stronger.
This was perhaps the major theme of the USHWA weekend meetings, with Florida member Tom Hicks earning USHWA’s Member of the Year award for spearheading a diverse, hard-working committee that took a look at all of USHWA’s spending and income of recent years, and tried to find ways to minimize the former while maximizing the latter. A detailed report, emphasizing expansion of avenues of income, especially through the group’s website (www.ushww.org), was prepared, explained, and distributed to the assembled as a baseline for ongoing activities.
Association economics were very much prevalent in the annual by-law and rules & regulations change proposals. One proposition argued in most years again was taken to a vote: the debate whether it was more advantageous to continue the current method of announcing Horse, Trotter, and Pacer of the Year at the end of the calendar season to take advantage of significant international press exposure, or to announce these awards for the first time at the Dan Patch Banquet in order to heighten the drama and perhaps bring in additional revenue (e.g., through sponsoring streaming video).
This year’s tabulation revealed that both sides’ arguments had merit: 20 Directors voted to move the announcement to the banquet while 15 favored keeping the announcement at year’s end, but this vote meant that the announcement will stay when it is, as under USHWA’s by-laws a 2/3 majority (here, 23 votes) would have been necessary for a by-law change.
The Directors of USHWA also voted on the two ballot candidates for this summer’s election for the Communicators Hall of Fame. Veteran Midwest announcer and auctioneer Carl Becker garnered the most support; the contest for the second spot was extremely tight, with the nod going to Dave Briggs of Harness Racing Update, who at the banquet would collect his record ninth John Hervey Award for excellence in writing about the Standardbred sport.
USHWA’s officers generally work on a two-year cycle, and since this was an “off-year” election, the same officials were retained for another year: Tim Bojarski as President; Shawn Wiles as 1st Vice President; Kim Rinker as 2nd Vice President; Chris Tully as Chairman of the Board; Barry Lefkowitz as Treasurer; and Jerry Connors as Secretary.
Brian Sears, a “youthful veteran” of the sport of harness racing who stands fifth on the all-time list of moneywinning drivers and has driven some of the sport’s greatest horses of the last 15 years to victories in championship races, has been elected to the sport’s highest honor, the Hall of Fame, in balloting conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association.
In addition, Gordon Waterstone and Steve Wolf, two veteran harness publicists and writers whose careers share many similar highlights and awards though they never worked together directly, have been elected to the sport’s Communicators Hall of Fame.
Sears was named USHWA’s Rising Star of the Year in 1991 and hasn’t looked back. Sears, a 48-year-old native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who now resides in Secaucus, N.J., was at the top rungs of the driving colony of Vernon Downs, Pompano, Pocono, and The Meadows before moving eastward to the metro New York area a dozen years ago.
He has continued to dominate on the toughest circuits in harness racing, winning multiple driving championships at the Meadowlands and also topping the charts at Yonkers Raceway. Sears entered Monday with 9,670 career wins, good for 14th place among all drivers in North American history.
Among the horses that have helped boost his career driving earnings to $174 million all-time are three winners of the Horse of the Year title: Rocknroll Hanover in 2005, Muscle Hill in 2009, and Bee A Magician in 2013.
Sears is the only driver to twice win the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks on the same day, accomplishing the feat with Muscle Hill and Broadway Schooner in 2009 and again with Royalty For Life and Bee A Magician in 2013. He also won the Hambletonian in 2015 with Pinkman in his only drive behind the horse that season.
The sport’s Driver of the Year in 2009, Sears has won 26 Breeders Crown titles, good for No. 4 on the all-time wins list in the series. Horses driven by Sears have earned more than $10 million in the series, which is among the top five in history.
Waterstone was for many years the publicist for Hazel
Park in Detroit, also working at other area racetracks, before becoming
associate editor of The Horseman And Fair World, which was a magazine
when Waterstone started and for whom he wrote two John Hervey
Award-winning stories, before becoming a multimedia enterprise in recent
Wolf was a publicist for several tracks in the
immediate area of his native New Jersey and for the Standardbred
Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey before “shipping south” to
Pompano Park in Florida, rising through the ranks to become senior
director of racing operations, until starting his own consulting agency.
He also served on the Board, including as president, of the Harness
Horse Youth Foundation.
The parallels in the careers of Wolf and Waterstone
are striking. Both first entered the communications end of the industry
in 1979. Both have been president of USHWA and both have won that
organization’s Member of the Year (Wolf twice, the first to earn that
distinction); both currently serve as their USHWA chapter’s president.
Both have won the Harness Publicists Association’s Allen J. Finkelson
Golden Pen Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in promoting
harness racing, and both have won the Clyde Hirt Media Award from
Harness Horsemen’s International. Both have chaired several important
USHWA committees, and are teaming again for the 2017 USHWA annual
convention and Dan Patch Award Banquet: Waterstone on the Location
Committee and on-site planner/negotiator, and Wolf on the Dinner
Committee, which he has chaired 15 times.
of Fame voting is conducted among eligible USHWAns and members of the
Hall of Fame; Communicators Hall of Famers are voted on by all members
of the Harness Writers Association.
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 of what the young men and women from colleges all over North America have experienced; our sport, first hand.
The United States Harness Writers Association is a group of more than 220 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 most of USHWA's members 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, such as the Living Hall of Fame and the Horse of the Year. Its Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award is one of the sport's 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 past presidents.
USHWA, with input from the American Harness Racing Secretaries and logistic expertise provided by the United States Trotting Association, determines the Horse of the Year and other equine and human awards. 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.
A number of 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.