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
We are about a month away from the Living Hall of Fame
induction of Brian Sears and Communicators Hall induction of USHWA’s own Gordon
Waterstone and Steven Wolf. The ceremonies will be held on the lawn outside of
the William R. Haughton Memorial Hall at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of
Fame in Goshen, NY on Sunday (July 2).
This is the main event of a weekend-long slate of
activities that includes the 36th annual Great American Weekend in
downtown Goshen, NY.
Here is a timeline of USHWA events that may interest you
if you are planning on attending this year.
Sunday, July 2
10:30 a.m. -- USHWA members will meet and greet under the
tent behind the museum for some informal talk and conversation. Coffee and
donuts will be available for a light breakfast before the races.
12 noon -- The Hall of Fame Screening Committee will meet
at the Museum library.
1:00 p.m. -- Grand Circuit harness racing at Goshen
Historic Track, including John Campbell’s last drive
in the United States, in the Hall of Fame Drivers Race. USHWA will be
sponsoring a race that afternoon, and we invite all attending USHWA members to
come to the winner’s circle after the race for the presentation picture.
The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies
Tickets are available for $150 per person from the museum
(845-294-6330) before June 20, 2017.
Rooms for the weekend may be available at the following
hotels (no code for Holiday Inn):
17w exit 124
Hatfield Lane, Goshen NY 10924
CODE: Harness Racing Hall of Fame
breakfast buffet, WIFI, outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center.
Crystal Run Crossing,
Breakfast, dinner and full bar service
available. 24hr market, Starbucks coffee, free boarding pass terminal, I/O
pool, whirlpool, exercise room. Walk to restaurants.
Crystal Run Crossing
breakfast buffet, business center, WIFI. Outdoor pool. Walk to restaurants.
17w exit 122
Crystal Run Road, Middletown NY 10941
bar service/lounge, free hot breakfast, I/O pool, free internet.
Crystal Run Crossing
Harness Racing Hall of Fame Weekend 2017
breakfast, WIFI, local & LD calls. 24 hr. coffee service. Walk to
Breunig Road, New Windsor, NY
OR – if you are going to the big
Sun Stakes Saturday card at Pocono the night before Hall of Fame Day, and your
business carries you and your auto back in that direction, there is a Red Roof
Inn on Route 315 near the intersection of I-81, about five minutes from the
track. Rooms there are about $75 a night.
are also several other major-chain motels along Route 315. Goshen is just over
1¼ hours from Pocono on major highways.
hotel for the 2018 Dan Patch Awards named:The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando, Florida
After an extensive search to find the absolute best
property available for our main event, our location committee has named the
Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida the site of the 2018 Dan Patch
Awards Banquet and USHWA national meetings.
Located just off
Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of
the Orlando International Airport and minutes from the many area attractions,
Rosen Shingle Creek is a five-star property that ranked a top-20 U.S. meeting
hotel by Cvent. The stunning 230-acre property includes an 18-hole, Arnold
Palmer-redesigned golf course, four swimming pools, a spa that includes nine
treatment rooms, two lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball, basketball and a
state-of-the-art fitness center.
There are 15
restaurant/lounges located on the property, including the upscale steakhouse A
Land Remembered, the fine-dining bistro Cala Bella, Banrai Sushi, Mi Casa
Tequila Taqueria, and a 24-hour deli.
Rosen Shingle Creek
offers more than 1,500 smoke-free guestrooms, which include Creek Sleeper Beds
with designer linens and pillows, plush robes, 40-inch TVs and a spa-like
An in-depth press release will be sent out next week, but
make plans now to attend this year as it will be both an event and a location
you will want to go to.
*****Digging in to help the organization*****
While we’re on the topic of the DPA, many of 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
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.
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.
See you at Goshen or at a race track at some point over
the summer, and thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of USHWA.
Tim Bojarski President of USHWA
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.