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USHWA Youth Finding Their 'Calling'

Published: July 20, 2021 5:40 pm ET

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The US Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Youth Membership Committee closed 2021/22 nominations on July 5. Today (July 20), we would like to welcome two young men for whom harness racing is a true "calling": The newest USHWA Youth members are Dylan Daugherty and Justin Turnbull. Their first-year membership dues are kindly sponsored by Tim Konkle, editor of Midwest Harness Report magazine.

Dylan Daugherty is 11 years old. His mother Debbie and the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association’s (PHHA) Seth Dowling supported his nomination as an USHWA Youth member. “My favourite Standardbred horses racing are Rising MVP, because it's my grandfather's horse, Foiled Again, and Father Son, a two-year-old trotting colt who my grandmother and I own together,” Dylan shared by e-mail.

At age seven, Dylan called his first races at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville, Pennsylvania, at Roger Huston’s invitation. In 2020, after Huston had stepped down from calling there, Crawford County Fair Director of Harness Racing Lisa Dunn reached out to let Daugherty know that the announcer position was his, if he wanted it. He did.

“I really want to announce races at The Meadows and more PA Fairs someday,” said Dylan. “By age 14, I would like to have my matinee driver's license and be jogging and training all of my grandfather, William Daugherty's, horses.”

Dylan Daugherty and Justin Turnbull

Justin Turnbull is 13 years old, with a Twitter account (@HorseFan4Life) that chronicles his travels and ambitions in the sport. “My dream job in harness racing is to be an announcer and training and owning my own horse,” he said via direct message. “My favourite harness horse today is Junebugs Baby and my favourite retired harness horse is Foiled Again. I also enjoy watching Cattlewash, This Is The Plan, and Lawless Shadow.”

The Cape Bretoner made his first visit to a track at age two and grew up alongside popular Maritime pacer Junebugs Baby, who was originally owned by his great uncle Fraser Turnbull. Justin contributed an USHWA Youth Racetrack Review last year, explaining why young people should be permitted at racetracks and noting some of his favourites, like Ohio’s Delaware County Fair.

Justin is currently practicing his racecalling, with a little guidance from The Meadowlands’ Ken Warkentin. "I will definitely be working in this industry when I grow up," he said in his Youth Racetrack Review last year. "Some days I say I'm gonna call races like Vance Cameron, handicap races like Dave Brower, and other days I think I wanna be a trainer, like Ron Burke, Tony Alagna, and Brent MacGrath."

The USHWA Youth Membership category was founded to help youth (under age 21) with a demonstrated interest in Standardbred media participate in their local USHWA chapters and connect with resources and relevant networking opportunities


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