Longtime horseman and Meadows Standardbred Owners Association board member John McMullen has been honored by his peers as the Pennsylvania Association of County Fairs Person of the Year.
The award was presented at the Pennsylvania Fair Convention.
McMullen, 81, started racing horses at The Meadows during the track’s inaugural season in 1963, and has been racing on the Pennsylvania fair circuit his entire life. He has served on the fair board in Indiana County since 1990 and is also on the Pennsylvania State Fair Board.
Anthony Enciso, Secretary of the Indiana Fair Board, nominated McMullen.
"John has been on the fair board for a long time, and he’s done leaps and bounds for not only our fair, but other fairs in PA," said Enciso. "I thought he was very much deserving of this honor for all the things he’s done for the fairs as far as the harness racing side of it. He has also put in many years on the state board of directors for the fair association. He’s worked in Harrisburg to help with legislators on our fair fund money, and we couldn’t be having our fairs without that help. John has been a big part of that. It was time for him to get his recognition."
McMullen, who is from Armagh, Pa., is one of 15 members of the Indiana County Fair board, and took over his position in 1990 following the death of his father, Don.
"My dad passed away in the fall that year," John recalled. "I was put on the board in December, as we had no one to take care of harness racing. My dad had done that for over 25 years."
John McMullen was happy to take over the role due to his dedication to both the sport and to his family.
"We spend a lot of time at the fairs. We always have."
His commitment to the sport goes beyond the fairs, as he has been an active member of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association for decades, and currently serves on the board of directors, assisting with items related to both The Meadows and the fairs.
"John has done a lot for the members of the MSOA over the years, serving on our board," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "We are very happy for him, and he is well deserving of this honor."
Despite all of the time and energy he has devoted to the fairs, John said that receiving the award was still unexpected.
"A lot of people in Pennsylvania are worthy of getting that award and I had no idea it was going to be me. It’s quite an honor. It kind of makes you think about it, it’s very humbling to receive an award like that and look out and see so many people there."
John’s wife Judy, and son John, were both in attendance for the ceremony, which took place in Hershey, Pa. (MSOA)