U.S. Trotting Association president Phil Langley announced Friday that USTA Director Gabe Wand and award-winning writer and horse owner Bob Carson are the recipients of the 2013 USTA Presidents Awards. Langley will present the awards at the USTA annual meetings on Sunday, March 30, in Columbus, Ohio.
Elected to the USTA Board of Directors from District 4 in 2010, Wand is a packaging manager for Swiss Valley Farms, a regional dairy headquartered in Davenport, Iowa. He started jogging horses at age 11 and has been involved in the sport for nearly 20 years.
"This award is being presented to recognize Gabe's relentless efforts to keep county fair racing alive in Wisconsin,” said Langley. "Being familiar with Wisconsin Fairs since the 1940s, I can especially appreciate his efforts to keep the history of so many great horse people from that state alive."
In 2012, Wand set a state record with his fourth consecutive Wisconsin Driver of the Year title and now ranks second all-time in top driver awards there. For the past nine years, he has been the president of the Wisconsin Harness Horse Association, where he was the youngest person ever elected to the board of directors (age 20) and its youngest president (age 23). He is also a member of the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association and the Southwest Wisconsin Wind-Up Circuit.
In 2009 when Wand was named Wisconsin Driver of the Year for the first time, he co-owned, trained and drove Wisconsin Pacer of the Year Mel's Z Tam and Good Ride Cowboy, who shared Wisconsin Trotter of the Year honors. In 2010, he campaigned his third Pacer of the Year, Mr Shankopotamus.
Carson's award-winning freelance writing has appeared in more than two dozen national publications. He has been a steady contributor to the USTA's website www.ustrotting.com, Trot Magazine and Timeline Magazine.
"Bob is one of the few writers that can be serious and funny at the same time,” commented Langley. "His frequent articles on the USTA website are always informative, usually a little far out and very readable. His stories on educating new owners to be patient about first year lossesring a bell with all of us. I once told him that I had a somewhat similar problem but in the reverse when trying to explain that successes with the first horse don't necessarily work the second time. He is very worthy of this award."
In the fall of 2010, Carson conducted an experiment taking seven non-harness racing people along during a year-long trip into the world of harness horse ownership and documented it on the USTA's website in a 25-part series.In the spring of 2012, he attracted eight new owners and did a follow-up series of 24 reports on the behind-the-scenes experiences of ownership. Each chapter had a simple title introducing the topic and a secondary one using a song title.
After more than 200 magazine articles and stories, his first novel, The Voyage of Mess (humor) was released in 2009. In 2005 he produced the documentary film, Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). In 2006 he received the Hervey Award for Journalistic Excellence and Best of Ohio Fiction awards. He has published Minor Trips (Minor League Baseball) since 1991.
Carson has owned harness horses for more than a decade, including a stint as a weekend trainer. (HRC)