Nominations for the 2016 Caretaker of the Year must be received or postmarked by Monday (Jan. 9). The award, in its second year of sponsorship by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Parkin 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.
Any caretaker working for any stable in North America is eligible. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or e-mail, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker.
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 HRRNP and USHWA.
The HRRNP Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, onFeb. 26, where he or she will be recognized for the achievement. The winner also will enjoy a two-night stay at the Planet Hollywood, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets.
"The United States Harness Writers Association is proud to join with Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in presenting this prestigious honor," said USHWA President Tim Bojarski. "The caretakers of our sport and the role they play in the success of our animals are many times sorely overlooked. This award gives everyone a way to honor those who work in your stable so they can be recognized by everyone else in our industry for what they do."
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 e-mails must be received and/or postmarked byJan. 9 and sent to Chair Bojarski at firstname.lastname@example.org mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, NY 14001.