11/29/2016 1:10PM

Harness: Nominations open for 2016 Caretaker of the Year

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Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Caretaker of the Year. The award, in its second year of sponsorship by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park (HRRNP) in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport -- the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis.

Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA’s Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by HRRNP and USHWA. 

The HRRNP Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, on Sunday evening, February 26, 2017, where he or she will be recognized for the achievement. The winner also will enjoy a two-night stay at the Planet Hollywood, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets.

“The United States Harness Writers Association is proud to join with Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in presenting this prestigious honor,” said USHWA President Tim Bojarski. “The caretakers of our sport and the role they play in the success of our animals are many times sorely overlooked. This award gives everyone a way to honor those who work in your stable so they can be recognized by everyone else in our industry for what they do.” 

Any caretaker working for any stable in North America is eligible. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker.

The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Monday, January 9, 2017, and sent to Chair Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, NY 14001.

--release from USHWA