Communicators Nominated For HOF

Published: February 26, 2015 12:50 pm EST

In probably the closest contest in recent memory, three rounds of voting were required to narrow down the two nominees for the Communicators Hall Of Fame.

The United States Harness Writers Association also held its annual meeting this past weekend at the Doubletree/Hilton Sea World/Orlando (FL) complex, in conjunction with the annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet.

David Carr, director of research/statistics for the USTA, won a place on the ballot for the Communicators Hall of Fame, getting the most votes in the first round of director voting. Gordon Waterstone and Jerry Connors, both veteran writer/publicists, were tied for the second spot –- and still were after a ‘tiebreaking’ round of voting –- so a third ‘heat’ was contested, with Connors then becoming the second person on the ballot.

USHWA’s Screening Committee will select ballot candidates for the Hall of Fame at Goshen in July; these names will join the Communicators nominees in the Hall voting conducted in mid-summer and annually announced nearing Little Brown Jug time.

Since the annual dinner, with its souvenir journal, sponsorships, and collateral raffles, is USHWA’s chief means of income throughout the year, reports were given recapping the success of the 2014 event at Dover Downs, and projecting income for this year’s event.

Figures for 2015 were projected to be good but slightly down from the previous year, as during racing year 2014 much of the top stakes racing was dominated by two stables – let’s call them ‘The B Brigade’ (Ron Burke Stable) and ‘Team T’ (Jimmy Takter Stable) – to the point that the duo accounted, mostly directly, for 21 of the 46 awards given at Sunday’s dinner (46 per cent). Both concerns, always good friends of USHWA, were again active banquet participants, but the lack of a wider range of involved award winners did limit the potential for a broader scope of connections buying ads and tickets may have cut into the margins slightly. Still, the dinner was a very successful one, and probably contained the best collection of award acceptance speeches in recent memory, particularly from a driver involved with both the ‘B’ and ‘T’ connections.

The bylaws and rules/regulation of the Association received their annual scrutiny and proposals for alterations, with perhaps the most significant proposal passed being a limited restoring of the ‘Veterans’ designation for Hall of Fame candidates in their prime years before the current day. The methodology for determining Communicators Hall ballot finalists was also restructured, and methods to improve both dissemination of voting information and ballot return were also implemented.

Some 15 committees appointed by USHWA to address specific focuses reported on their findings; one committee was responsible for coming up with both the Hall of Fame procedural amendments described above. Such forward-looking projects as the Hirt Workshop for budding journalists, the Railbird Fan Awards, and the organization’s Integrity Committee also gave detailed presentations.

The same slate of officers was returned for another year, in accordance with USHWA’s usual two-year ‘rotation’ system: Chris Tully, President; Tim Bojarski, 1VP; Shawn Wiles, 2VP; Steve Wolf, Chairman of the Board; Judy Davis-Wilson, Treasurer; Alan Prince, Executive Treasurer; and Jerry Connors, Secretary.


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