One came to prominence in the shadow of New York City; the other is a son of the Midwest. One is primarily a writer who also has done much television journalism; the other achieved principal fame as a photographer, but he also wrote often and well.
What links them is their talent in communicating the abilities of the very best in harness racing, and thus Jay Bergman and Joe Kyle were voted into the Communicators Hall of Fame by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport’s leading journalism organization.
Bergman achieved his greatest impact during his 27 years of working at Sports Eye, a daily newspaper which primarily dealt with handicapping (Bergman was one of the key theorists behind the creation of a track “variant”) but also offered opinions on the issues of the day–a position, especially after he became editor-in-chief in the 1980s, Bergman did frequently and forcefully, not afraid to offer criticism and call people and organizations to task. He won a 1984 Hervey Award in the “news and commentary” writing division.
A frequent author for many of the sport’s most respected publications, Bergman is currently a columnist for DRF Harness, the harness racing arm of Daily Racing Form. He has served on-camera as television commentator for The Meadowlands and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and also assisted television broadcasters behind the scenes of many of the sport’s top races.
Kyle is a native of Decatur IL, 40 miles from the mile Grand Circuit track in Springfield, IL and not far up the road from DuQuoin, IL, where the Hambletonian and then the World Trotting Derby were held. He covered the top Midwest racing for many years, and with his move to the staff of The Horseman And Fair World magazine in Lexington, KY, Joe also wrote about and photographed the stars of the sulky game during the annual Grand Circuit visit to Lexington’s Red Mile.
His photography has been cited by USHWA, with its Smallsreed Award, and the World Trotting Council. Ironically, that particular winning photo was taken at a race in Bergman’s “backyard”, The Meadowlands, after Scarlet Knight won the 2001 Hambletonian for trainer-driver Stefan ”Tarzan” Melander–a noted photographer in his native Sweden. Kyle attended many of the sport’s major races wearing both photographic and reporter hats during his time at The Horseman.
Jay Bergman and Joe Kyle will be honoured at the 2022 Dan Patch Awards Banquet, as the 2021 Banquet has been cancelled due to health/travel considerations. That same year, they will be formally inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, NY.