Day At The Track

USHWA Summer newsletter

06:14 AM 25 Jul 2019 NZST
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Shawn Wiles Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson.
USHWA President Shawn Wiles presents check to Museum Director Janet Terhune and President Lawrence DeVan
Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson.

This year’s Hall of Fame Weekend was another great event, as the large incoming class pushed this year’s attendance to well over 325 on a typical hot Goshen July weekend.  This year the Hall of Fame welcomed the incoming class of Blair Burgess, Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Jerry Silverman, Linda Toscano and Ted Wing.  Congratulations to our very own Dave Little and Mark Hall for their induction to the Communicators Hall of Fame. It was the culmination of months of planning and hard work for Janet Terhune and her staff, who pulled it off to perfection. 

Hall Of Fame 2020

The USHWA HOF Screening Committee decided that the ballot candidates for the Class of 2020 would be Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Billy Popfinger and Tim Tetrick. The CHOF nominees are Phil Pikelny and Ken Weingartner, as decided at the USHWA national meetings in Florida. 

HOF Screening Committee 2019

While I usually adhere to the theory of not stirring the mud with a controversial topic, I feel that I must be proactive and put to rest any rumors or innuendos concerning the USHWA HOF Screening Committee who have come under social media fire for the recent HOF nominees.  I am specifically addressing the issues of the appearance or perceptions of insider influence in respect to Jeff Gural and Tom Charter being nominated to the HOF. 

The Chairman and the Committee were cognizant of the potential ramifications and showed poise and foresight: they went to great lengths to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The Committee followed protocol and worked from the list of nominees that was sent in by the Chapters.

Screening Committee Chairman Jason Settlemoir immediately announced to the Committee that he was going to recuse himself during the discussions and voting for Jeff Gural, and at this point Bob Heyden followed suit and did the same. They both left the room during the discussions and were not present during the voting.  Moira Fanning also recused herself from the discussions and vote when Tom Charters’ name came up. 

As a silent observer to this meeting, I can say the Chairman and Committee members displayed character and integrity. USHWA cannot control the external voices from any naysayers. The nominated candidates were selected on their own merit and laurels and did not need any “help.” 

HOF  - CHOF Ballot Material  

In the next few weeks, you will be receiving the Hall Of Fame balloting materials (for all eligible to vote in this election) and the Communicators Hall Of Fame balloting materials (all USHWAns are eligible to vote for the CHOF). Carefully read the instructions. You must make one selection per candidate – YES, NO, or ABSTAIN. If you have any questions, please reach out to me, secretary Jerry Connors or your Chapter president.

 USHWA Donation 

USHWA National made its annual donation of $5,000 to the Harness Racing Museum during the HOF dinner.  Museum Director Janet Terhune expressed her sincere appreciation on behalf of herself and the Museum.  

Monticello – Goshen Chapter of USHWA 

The Monticello – Goshen Chapter also donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame during a winners circle presentation during Hall of Fame Weekend in the amount of $4,000. 

Raffle Items 

Last year’s raffle and silent auction items were deep in quantity and quality -- many thanks to all who had a hand in this! We need to duplicate these efforts again this year.  It is not too early to start thinking about securing items! 

I will start it off by donating a 27 x 25 NY Jets signed framed photo of Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson. 

HOY – POY – TOY and Divisional honors 

This year the USTA will not be tabulating the year-end horse honors – USHWA gives many thanks to Paul Ramlow, who has handled this important task for many years in the past. USHWA treasurer Barry Lefkowitz has worked very hard in searching for and securing a reputable firm that will handle that voting this year.  This year’s voting format will look and feel different from what we have all been accustomed to over the past few years. This type of voting process may be expanded to the human award winners as well down the line.   

Breeders Crown  

The Breeders Crown Finals are at Woodbine/Mohawk Raceway and will be raced on October 25-26. The tempo will quicken for the organization as year-end equine and human award voting will come shortly after that. It might be good for Chapters to look ahead at the stakes calendar and the “regular” calendar and start trying to schedule a meeting to discuss the year-end equine and human awards nominations.   

Shawn Wiles

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