National Officers
Chapter Membership
2016 Award Winners
2017 Dan Patch Banquet
2017 Sponsors and Journal
Hall of Fame and Museum
By-Laws & Membership
2017 Meeting Materials

                     To contact USHWA, e-mail us at ushwainfo@gmail.com

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  

5:30 p.m.-Cocktails   6:30 p.m.-Dinner  

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): 

Comfort Inn Route 17w exit 124 20 Hatfield Lane, Goshen NY 10924 (845) 291-1282  CODE: Harness Racing Hall of Fame Free breakfast buffet, WIFI, outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center. 

Courtyard by Marriott 24 Crystal Run Crossing, Middletown, NY 10941 (845) 695-0606 CODE: GAW  Breakfast, dinner and full bar service available. 24hr market, Starbucks coffee, free boarding pass terminal, I/O pool, whirlpool, exercise room. Walk to restaurants.  

Hampton Inn 20 Crystal Run Crossing Middletown NY 10941 (845) 344-3400   CODE: GAW Free breakfast buffet, business center, WIFI. Outdoor pool. Walk to restaurants. 

Holiday Inn Route 17w exit 122 68 Crystal Run Road, Middletown NY 10941 (845) 343-1474   Full bar service/lounge, free hot breakfast, I/O pool, free internet.  

Microtel by Wyndham 19 Crystal Run Crossing Middletown NY 10941 (845) 692-0098 Code: Harness Racing Hall of Fame Weekend 2017 Free breakfast, WIFI, local & LD calls. 24 hr. coffee service. Walk to restaurants.  

Homewood Suites 180 Breunig Road, New Windsor, NY Code: HRM (845) 567-2700. 

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.

There are also several other major-chain motels along Route 315. Goshen is just over 1¼ hours from Pocono on major highways.              

Host 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 bathroom.  

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 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. 

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 years.

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.

Hall 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.

Click here to watch an informative video about the workshop

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 media.

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.

                                Contact USHWA at ushwainfo@gmail.com 

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