Grove City, OH — A sellout crowd of more than 3,400 strolled through more than 110 exhibitors at the 94th annual Ohio Fair Managers Association Convention which ran from Thursday (Jan. 3) through Sunday (Jan. 6) at the Columbus Convention Center.
To say that the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association sponsored event was expansive was an understatement as throngs of people passed by acts and amusements of every kind which included singers, magicians, and other entertainment available for Ohio’s 95 fairs.
Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s Racing With The Stars tent was there as well, as OHHA hosted three different workshops on Friday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Presented by OHHA’s Steve Bateson, HTCS’ Elwood Woolman, OCRA’s Dennis Fricke and Dr. Bob Schwartz and OFRC’s Bill Peters, the two hour session was moderated by OFMA District 3 Director Wade Flory.
OHHA Vice President Steve Bateson outlined the financial specifics of the VLT funded Fair races stating how each division of the 2- and 3-year-olds in the 67 fairs with harness racing received a total of $4,243,000 from OHHA with the base purse of $7,364 per race in 2018. This is a 4.3 percent increase from 2017.
The available insurance details outlined in the booklet prepared by the staff at the OHHA home office were discussed as well as the new rulings on horse preference dates and guidelines for various on-track penalties.
A pictorial explanation of the Racing With The Stars exhibit was offered as OHHA reinforced its commitment to help fairs educate and entertain their fair-goers free of charge throughout its racing program.
At the afternoon 2 p.m. workshop titled “Harness Racing, It Is a Big Deal,” the open forum for fair officials and stakeholders hosted by Bill Peters, Susan Schroeder, and Wade Flory brought out discussions on how to improve and publicize the racing product and many suggestions were made.
The day’s activities were wrapped up with “Managing Your Harness Racing Funds” as Lisa Schwartz from the Fayette County Fair and Dennis Fricke of the Allen County Fair, along with Elwood Woolman from the Mahoning County Fair and moderator Wade Flory, presented the finances showing how harness racing offered a win, win situation for the fairs. Simply put: “The numbers don’t lie.”
For the third year in a row Ohio has led the nation in the number of Standardbred broodmares registered, foal production, horse registrations, and the number of harness horse owners. And because of the efforts of all the organizations involved, as well as the exhibitors, their support teams, and a fine venue held in a world-class facility, it is easy to see why.