Columbus, OH — For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors are conducting their annual meeting virtually. Monday’s (March 15) meetings included the opening General Session as well as several committee meetings following that.
After the opening call to order of the General Session, a stirring memorial video honoring the 11 USTA directors who died in 2020 was played for the current board.
In his Chairman remarks, Joe Faraldo discussed the importance of the USTA’s role in representing the harness racing industry in the challenges it faces particularly with the recently passed federal legislation.
“Let’s be truthful and let’s be real,” said Faraldo. “The USTA is the only organization that has the experience to accomplish the goals necessary to adequately protect our industry. It is our mandate.”
USTA President Russell Williams also discussed the organization’s efforts regarding the need to ensure that the legislation be modified to consider concerns regarding separate rules for Standardbreds and protection of the harness racing industry. He described the USTA’s participation in roundtable discussions with other industry leaders in an attempt to accomplish those goals.
“We’re taking it seriously and we hope to get everything we want from it,” explained Williams.
He also complimented the Standardbred Transition Alliance for sticking to their stated mission and the USTA’s continued progress with their online transaction platforms and successful online meetings.
“In addition to defending our industry against present threats, we must not neglect building for the future and today we begin the intense commitment to that requirement,” concluded the USTA president.
Next was the seating of four new directors – Jason Roth (District 1), Dr. Andy Roberts (District 6), Joe Frasure (District 8A) and Ashley Tetrick (District 12) then the re-election of USTA Officers, Chairman Joe Faraldo, Vice-Chairman Mark Loewe, Treasurer Jim Miller, and Secretary Sally Stauffer, who all ran unopposed.
The 2019 President’s Awards that were delayed by a year after the cancellation of the live Board meeting last year were presented to new director and renowned veterinarian Dr. Roberts and seven-time Smallsreed Award winner Mark Hall, the USTA’s official photographer.
The Racing Committee met to discuss a long list of rule change proposals that included a detailed presentation by Chris Antonacci with the recommendations from an Urging/Whipping sub-committee while the Regulatory, Fairs, Pari-Mutuel and Driver/Trainer Committees gave updates in their meetings.
The day concluded with the Marketing and Communications Committee where the agenda included a social media recap, discussions about Hoof Beats and crisis communications as well as a preview of the HarnessRacingFanZone.com upcoming relaunch.
The annual meeting continues on Wednesday (March 17) with the Registration Committee at noon and the Rules Committee at 3 p.m.
The third and final day of meetings is on Monday (March 22) with the Finance Committee meeting at noon and the Board’s closing General Session at 3 p.m.
Also, once approved by chairpersons, committee reports will be posted there too.
The direct link to the annual meeting page is here.