Harness Racing’s Hall of Fame election process

Monticello, NY — Who is the greatest 3rd baseman of all time? My pick is Brooks Robinson, perhaps your choice is Wade Boggs, Chipper Jones or Mike Schmidt. We can agree to disagree.

Who belongs in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame? Like the baseball topic it is cause for much healthy lively debate as we rally behind our choices like reading off our favorite baseball cards and rattle off stats like Hollywood Heyden for support of our star.

Everyone has their own viewpoint on the many possible outstanding candidates, along with their opinions on the process an individual goes through to be enshrined in Goshen’s Hall of Fame.

What most people don’t realize is that there is already a lengthy and involved process with checks and balances that must be adhered to for a worthy candidate to even be considered. First and foremost, in order to receive any consideration a candidate’s name must be put forth to a USHWA chapter and approved.

The Process

Each chapter of USHWA nominates individuals that their membership feels have met the criteria and warrant being in the Hall of Fame. Chapter meetings are usually conducted between now and the end of May.

USHWA’s Advisory Committee, a group of veteran USHWAns, annually prepares biographies for 20 top candidates for the Hall. Chapters may nominate up to two candidates from these 20. Chapters receive this “Book of 20” on May 1.

Each chapter may also nominate one individual outside this 20, providing they send in a 350-700 word biography clearly capturing why this person deserves recognition for their North American lifetime accomplishments.

Integrity Committee

USHWA’s Integrity Committee gets involved in this nominating process twice, to examine the Advisory Committee’s 20 people before the list is distributed to the chapters, and then again to examine anyone else the chapters may nominate. The Integrity Committee checks the records and background of nominees, assuring they meet with the sport’s highest standards.

HOF Screening Committee

Once all the candidates have been reviewed, vetted and approved by the Integrity Committee, the Hall of Fame Screening Committee, consisting of six longtime journalists and the president of USHWA, will meet in Goshen the first weekend of July. They will discuss the candidates among themselves, get the advice of a specially-appointed committee of present Hall of Famers, and then decide who will advance to the midsummer balloting.

Don’t be a Monday morning quarterback. If you feel strongly that you have a viable candidate with national recognition that warrants Hall of Fame consideration, contact the president of your local USHWA chapter to discuss inclusion of your candidate.

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