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USHWA Accepting Youth Applicants

Published: June 17, 2021 11:23 am ET

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Since 2018, the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has welcomed Youth members, a category of membership for aspiring or early-career harness racing media 21 years of age or younger. It continues into its fourth year, with new Youth members' first-year dues generously paid by continued sponsor Tim Konkle, 2017 USHWA Member of the Year.

Last year's three newest USHWA Youth members all had a successful 2020: Grady Hachey is now one of the sport's youngest regular columnists, covering New Brunswick harness racing in his Atlantic Post Calls column; Edison Hatter has become a regular presence calling races and handicapping at tracks ranging from Rosecroft to Freehold to The Meadowlands; and Tony Elliott was named assistant to the general manager at Hanover Raceway in 2020, later joining the broadcast team at The Raceway at Western Fair, being named assistant general manager at Clinton Raceway in 2021, and assisting with communications at Grand River Raceway.

The Youth Membership category was created to assist young harness racing media starting out in their careers, while also introducing these knowledgeable and passionate racing fans to the world's oldest organization for harness racing communicators. Last year was the most active year for the USHWA Youth project, led by a New Year's Eve Twitter handicapping contest for members of legal wagering age, with prizes donated by Lee Drake (manager of racing, brands and broadcast at Red Shores Charlottetown and Summerside) and the USHWA Canada chapter. A monthly "USHWA Youth Racetrack Review" media release shared USHWA Youth-written or related stories of family-friendly racetracks and experiences, to encourage all tracks to allow young people to attend the races (following COVID-19 regulations). Participation gifts were kindly sent out to all USHWA Youth members by the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, and Ryan Clements (Off and Pacing/Catch Driver).

The 2021 nomination deadline is Monday, July 5, and potential youth members can be nominated by anyone familiar with their contributions to harness racing. Self-nominations are also welcome. A nominee must be a writer, photographer, race caller, video producer, podcaster, or other contributor to the media side of the sport. Youth members do not need to be paid employees in the industry; students, volunteers, and freelancers are welcome to apply. To nominate someone, please send links to samples of their harness racing media work and note where they are now involved in harness racing (e.g. tracks; media outlets; racing, equine or journalism-related college programs; breed organizations; fairs; 4-H clubs, etc.) Youth members are non-voting members, who may later apply to become active (voting) members of USHWA.

Please send nominations and questions to USHWA Youth Membership Committee chair Melissa Keith ([email protected]).


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