Braden A. Watson, 19, has been awarded the harness racing 2011 Harness Horsemen International Jerome L. Hauck Scholarship, worth $4,000. He is the son of David and Brenda Watson of Fairfield, Ill.
Braden graduated from Fairfield Community High School in 2009 and from Frontier (Fairfield) Community College in 2011 with an Associate's Degree. He plans to attend the University of Southern Indiana this fall, majoring in marketing.
Braden helps his brother Trenton with the family's 20-horse stable at the Edwards County Fairgrounds at Albion, Ill., when he's not attending classes, and shares ownership with his mother and brother of the 4-year-oldtrotting mare St Louis Holiday 3,1:58.2 ($54,029), who won the $17,900 Lady Ann Reed consolation last year at Balmoral Park.
"I clean stalls, harness and bathe the horses," Braden offered. "I've grown up around the horses, and my mom has owned horses with Erv Miller and J.D. Finn. I'm happy to have this scholarship, and will always be involved with the horses on some level. I'm interested in the breeding aspect of the Standardbred business more than anything."
Braden was heavily involved in FFA and Spanish Club, was a Fairfield student ambassador, and a mentor in the Student Advantage Network -- assisting students making the transition from high school to college. He also participated in College Bowl trivia competition, helping his Frontier team to a second-place finish among all Illinois community colleges.
Braden was one of ten members of the All-Illinois Academic Team -- chosen by the community college board in recognition of scholarly and leadership accomplishments through Phil Beta Kappa. He also received FFA's second highest award -- the State Degree -- which recognizes students' involvement in an agriculture-based industry.
In addition, he's received three other scholarships, including a $900 Student Advantage Network Scholarship; a $1,750 Edward Yarock Equine Scholarship; and an $800 Christian Harness Horseman's Association Scholarship.
by Kimberly Rinker, for Harness Horsemen's International