Day At The Track

USHWA conducts annual meetings

05:44 AM 28 Feb 2020 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
USHWA color logo high resolution (3).jpg

ORLANDO, FL - The annual meetings of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading media organization, were held this past weekend at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, with the weekend climaxing in Sunday's Dan Patch Awards Banquet honoring the top harness racing performers, equine and human, during the past 2019 season.

Saturday's USHWA meeting gathered together the group's Board of Directors, while Sunday's session was an open event for all of USHWA's members.

Positive numbers for USHWA were reported by several Officers and committee chairpeople. The Association reported a profit for the fourth straight year, with the prospects of a fifth straight growth period looking good, as USHWA's financial status is largely determined by the annual Dan Patch Banquet, and high-level performance in both sponsorship participation and ads taken in the popular Souvenir Banquet Journal were very promising.

Also a good sign is that the membership of USHWA, declining a few members a year in a contracting industry in recent times, actually showed a small increase since last year's meetings.

The annual By-Law and Rules & Regulations Change Proposals did not offer some of the controversy and heated exchanges of recent years, although both sides were argued well on a couple of contentious issues. One By-Law change that went into effect right away was the method by which the Directors established the two ballot candidates for this summer's Communicators Hall of Fame elections, and as reported earlier Jay Bergman and Joseph Kyle were selected from a talented field to take a place on the election ballot.

Sunday's General Membership saw the 26 USHWA directors in attendance joined by a similar number of members from the Active membership ranks. The greater portion of the Sunday meeting was devoted to the Committee reports of some two dozen USHWA subdivisions which keep all aspects of the organization in working order throughout the year, from Hall of Fame candidate biography compilation, to traffic control during the Dan Patch Banquet, to oversight of various phases of social media usage.

Kim Rinker, the Director of the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, was elected President of the organization during the Sunday meeting. Rinker, who had been vice president, succeeds Shawn Wiles of Monticello Raceway, who by USHWA bylaw now becomes the Chairman of the Board.

In a contested election for USHWA Vice-President, Barry Lefkowitz, the USHWA treasurer, narrowly defeated Derick Giwner of Daily Racing Form Harness. Lefkowitz said that he would retain his treasurer's duties as well during this term.

Both Wiles and Lefkowitz were presented with Gold Lifetime Membership pins during the General Meeting: Wiles as an outgoing President, and Lefkowitz, for the required years of service on the Board as treasurer.

Jerry Connors was again voted USHWA secretary.

At the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, pacing mare Shartin N was announced as the 2019 Harness Horse of the Year, which was met with wild cheers from her many and vociferous backers in attendance. Shartin N becomes the first older pacing mare to win Horse of the Year honors, and also the first horse bred outside of North America to take this continent's highest award. "She's certainly been a life changer for us," noted trainer Jim King Jr. at the banquet.

Greenshoe, the brilliant three-year-old colt, was named Trotter of the Year; Trotter, Pacer, and Horse of the Year were the only awards being announced for the first time at the dinner. Greenshoe now goes off to a stud career at Hanover Shoe Farms, while Shartin N has already posted a winning qualifier in front of a 2020 campaign.

The highest human award given by USHWA, the Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, resulted in a voting dead-heat for the first time in its 69-year history. The members of the Association voted equal honors to the contributions made by Joe Faraldo, the President and CEO of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, an important member of the U.S. Trotting Association's Board of Directors, and a staunch advocate of horsemen's rights, and the Libfeld-Katz partnership of owners-breeders Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, Ontarians who have ranked at the top levels of both of those fields of racing and also sponsored the Breeders Crown races when they came to their hometown Mohawk track this past year and held a successful charity tie-in.

Also honored at the Dan Patch Banquet were newly-voted Hall of Famers Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Bill Popfinger, and Tim Tetrick, along with Communicators Hall of Famers Phil Pikelny and Ken Weingartner. This group will be formally inducted into their respective Halls of Fame on Sunday, July 5 at the site of the sport's Hall, Goshen NY.

From the United States Harness Writers Association

 


 

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: