Spencer joins Middleton as O'Brien hosts
December 19, 2014
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Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce that Ken Middleton and Kelly Spencer will co-host the 2014 O'Brien Awards.
Middleton is Woodbine Entertainment Group's Standardbred race announcer and has been the regular anchor for the O'Brien Awards Gala. The 2014 awards will mark the 12th consecutive year that he will co-host the event.
Taking the stage with Ken will be Grand River Raceway's Marketing Guru, Kelly Spencer, well known for initiating cutting edge promotions, and one of harness racing's most beloved on-track hosts. Kelly has worked at Grand River since they opened and prior to that was responsible for marketing at Elmira Raceway.
"Kelly and I have known one another for nearly two decades dating back to our Elmira Raceway days, and it's going to be a blast to share the stage with her for this year's O'Brien Awards. She's a great friend and a great friend to racing. She pours her heart and soul into everything she does,” praised Middleton.
Spencer is looking forward to sharing the stage with her longtime friend, "I'm honored to be co-hosting such a prestigious event. Ken and I have been good friends for many years, and have worked together on several occasions. He's the anchor of the show and rightly so; he's a consummate professional — one of the best in the racing broadcast business on so many levels. It's going to be a blast!”
Spencer admitted she's had the desire to host a major awards events since she was as a youngster, "When I was 11, I watched my first broadcast of the Oscars. Jane Fonda co-hosted with Robin Williams. I don't remember the particulars of the show, but I spent the next year pretending to be Jane Fonda in a hideous dress holding a microphone. Co-hosting the O'Briens with Ken Middleton will be a very, very close second.”
Although he's been a longtime anchor for the O'Brien's, Middleton looks forward to each and every year.
"The thing I look forward to the most is seeing the pride on people's faces when they step on the stage to accept awards for themselves or for the horse(s) they are involved with. The moments where people opened up and celebrated their hard work and accomplishments.
"I've seen smiles for miles, high fives and even a few tears. People work way too hard in this industry to walk up on stage like it's just another day at the office. O'Brien Awards are hard to come by, and it's great to see that emotion from the winners.”
The 2014 O'Brien Awards take place on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel and Conference Centre in Mississauga, Ont. (SC)