USTA awards matching grants to fairs

by John Pawlak, USTA marketing director

Columbus, OH — The U.S. Trotting Association will make more than $9,900 in matching funds grants to fairs in the United States that will be used to leverage the promotion of their summer harness racing programs.

Local organizations were given the opportunity to submit marketing proposals, a detailed budget, and a statement of need, and applications were judged on originality and need. The successful applications contained a number of ambitious and original marketing plans, all designed to increase attendance at the races, involve and educate fans, and work with the local and regional media to gain publicity.

“There is a great deal of creativity and enthusiasm among the fairs to support and promote harness racing,” Jamie Coffy, USTA Outreach Administrator, said. “It was again difficult to select from among dozens of outstanding proposals, but the ones we selected represent some truly original thinking, and should result in success.”

The grants were awarded to the Mercer County, Ill. Fair, the State Fair of West Virginia, the Logan County, Ohio Fair, the Waushara and Waupaca, Wis. County Fairs, the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association, the Iowa County, Wis. Fair, the Harrison County, Ohio Fair, the Hillsdale County, Mich. Fair, the Livingston County, Mich. Fair, the Knox County, Ohio Fair, the Mahoning County, Ohio Fair, the Erie County, Pa. Fair, the Northwest Ohio Colt Racing Association, the Elkhorn, Wis. Trotting Club, the Hardin County, Ohio Fair, the Kalamazoo County, Mich. Fair, the Preble County, Ohio Fair, the Lake County, Ohio Fair, the Mercer County, Ohio Fair, the Edwards County, Ill. Fair, and the Orleans County, Vt. Fair.

The successful applicants are required to submit post-race reports, used to gauge the effectiveness of the program.

Applications came from individual counties, multiple-county organizations, colt circuits, and local horsemen’s associations.

The matching grants program began in 2006; it was mandated by the U.S. Trotting Association’s Board of Directors that year. At first, $5,000 was budgeted, but that was increased to a maximum of $10,000 before the 2007 fair racing season.

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