Harrisburg, PA — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Caretaker of the Year. The award, in its fourth year of sponsorship by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association, 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 Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening (Feb. 24), where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets.
“Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights,” said USHWA president Shawn Wiles. “This cadre toil in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges’ health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes.”
Any caretaker working for any stable or farm 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 (Jan. 7) and sent to chairman Bojarski at email@example.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, NY 14001.