Florida Chapter United States Harness Writers' Association
The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers' Association was first established November 4, 1964, right after Pompano Park Harness Track opened in Pompano Beach, Florida, just north of Fort Lauderdale. Over the years the chapter has been known for hosting many events to help raise money for charities and for national and community awareness of harness racing.
Events have included media races with real horses, mini horses and even bounce horses. Baggers at local supermarkets, caretaker of the month awards, sponsorship of racing events, voluntering at local soup kitchens, charity bowling events and much more. The chapter participates annually in national events, maintains the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame and hosts the annual Hall of Fame Awards Banquet,
In addition, the chapter annually awards the Allen J. Finkelson Memorial Scholarship(s) and helps horsemen and women in need of assistance through the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund.
Over the years many of the past presidents of the Florida Chapter have been inducted as Communicators in the National Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. They are John Berry, Bob Cox, Jean Emerson, Joe Hartmann, Roger Huston, Murray Janoff, Alan Prince, Gary Seibel and Steven Wolf.
What Is USHWA?
The United States Harness Writers' Association (USHWA) is a membership organiation and one of only two membership groups publicizing the sport. The other is the North American Harness Publicists Association.
It was founded in 1946 by 12 sportswriters from daily newspapers, USHWA has more than 200 members in the United States, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Isreal, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. One of its goals is to achieve a closer relationship among racetracks, horsemen and the media to publicize and promote the sport, business and entertainment of harness racing.
National USHWA members annually vote to choose honorees for the sport's most prestigious awards, the Hall of Fame and the Harness Horse of the Year. Its' Stan Bergstein/Proximity Achievement Awards is given annually to an outstanding figure or organization in harness racing.
The association currently has 13 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Six of the Chapters - Delaware Valley, Florida, Monticello-Goshen, New England, New York and Ohio - are well over 50 years old.
The National USHWA is governed by one representative from each chaper (designated as national director) and six national officers, in addition to 16 past presidents who are life members. The At-Large Chapter comprises some 50 members not geographically located near a regular chapter. In addition, there are 17 associate members, a category for non-media persons who share the goals of the association. USHWA recently created a youth member category for aspiring industry writers under age 21.
The association works closely with the United States Trotting Association, the Trotting Horse Museum in Goshen, NY., several Standardbred owners associations and many of the nation;s major racetracks. Many chapters hold annual award dinners to honor top horses and horsemen. They also hold annual college scholarship competitions and Sunshine Fund charity events to promote the sport and help horsemen.
The Florida chapter participates in national events, maintains the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame, which it founded and has held USHWA-Florida Awards Banquets. In adition, the chapter annually awards the Allen J. Finkelson Memorial Scholarships and assists horsemen and women in need through its Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund.
Past Presidents of the USHWA-Florida Chapter
John Berry, Sy Bonem, Bud Boyer*, Bob Cox*, Stan Day*, Kathleen Dempsey, Jean Emerson,
Dan Gawlas*, Jerry Glantz, Harold Glassman, Joe Hartmann*, Thomas H. Hicks, Roger Huston,
Murray Janoff*, Denise Loewe, Connie Collins-Miller, Mike Perry, Jr.*, Mary Phelps, Al Poirier*,
Alan Prince*, Fred Segal, Carol Scott, Gary Seibel, Steven Wolf (* deceased)