Harrisburg, PA – Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Caretaker of the Year. The award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie’s Fair Island Farm 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 Hard Rock Northfield Park and USHWA, with Fair Island Farm coming on last year.
“Leah and I were very honored to continue the tradition of recognizing the outstanding caretaker of the year last year and we look forward to again rewarding an exceptional individual this year,” said Zubrod. “While the racing season may have been altered a bit with the COVID-19 pandemic, caretakers continued to work as hard as ever. A caretaker’s work is important to the success of not only the horse, but the entire stable.”
The Fair Island Farm 2020 Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500 and a trophy that will include a photo of the winning caretaker and a favorite horse.
“In 2020, caretakers have had to endure and persevere in spite of the overwhelming obstacles associated with the pandemic,” said USHWA President Kim Rinker. “These folks are the backbone of our industry and have seen to it that racing has continued to not only survive, but thrive, in these troubled times. This award is a shout-out to grooms across North America and beyond who dutifully care for their equine athletes.”
Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible to be the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. 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, Dec. 21, 2020, and sent to chairman Bojarski at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001.