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Outstanding Groom Loves The Work

Published: February 15, 2018 9:38 am ET

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From the surprise of being nominated to the thrill of winning, the start of 2018 will certainly be remembered by Chantel Gillis, honoured with the Outstanding Groom Award at the 2017 O'Brien Awards on Saturday, February 3.

Gillis, 22, grew up around the horses and started grooming at an early age for her parents, Arleen and Joe. Over the years, her responsibilities in the barn increased and Gillis relished the opportunity.

“It’s a relaxing, fun and challenging environment,” Gillis told the Truro Daily News. “I like doing everything around the barn and, somehow, some way, I’ll definitely always have a horse. Helping with the horses is what I enjoy.”

Gillis also thoroughly enjoyed her O'Brien Awards experience, her first time at the annual black tie gala. The trip to Toronto also gave her the chance to visit her sister Christina, who was the person that submitted the nomination to Standardbred Canada's committee. Chantel admitted she didn't have any nerves about the nomination...for the most part.

“I felt fine until about 10 minutes before the award and then I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s happening!’”

Gillis currently attends the University of Dalhousie, studying her Agricultural Business Degree, while working for the Paul Langille Stable. Although a full-time student, Chantel is at the barn every morning and puts in long days looking after nine of the horses. She admits her story and dedication is similar to so many caretakers in the harness racing industry, equally worthy of recognition.

“I feel a lot of grooms deserve this award, so it was amazing to win,” said Gillis. “It was a great experience, with a red carpet and everything beautifully done.”


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