The United States Trotting Association District 7 annual meeting and banquet took place on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Holiday Inn in Clarion, PA. At the meeting, Chairman Walter "Boots” Dunn stepped down from that position and passed the reins to Sam Beegle.
"I'm going to continue on as a USTA director, but Sam (Beegle) is going to take over as chairman,” said Dunn in making the announcement.
Joining Dunn and Beegle in conducting the meeting was Russell Williams. After discussion, four of 11 proposed USTA rule and bylaw changes were approved, two with suggested amendments. Six others were rejected and one had no action taken on it.
Other topics discussed at the meeting were the importance of developing PAC funding, a three-year plan by the PHHA to donate $200,000 annually to Soma/Maylin Initiative, including a $470,000 equipment donation, the marketing efforts of the MSOA, including a re-doubling of the budget for next year, and the 50th anniversary of the Meadows in 2013.
Passed without amendment were rule proposals 7 and 9. The first (7) states, "A proposal to amend Rule 26, section 2(h) by changing the first sentence to read as follows: "the status of a previously registered Standardbred may be changed to Pleasure Horse upon application by the owner and surrender of the Registration Certificate to the USTA.”
The second (9) is "A proposal to amend the Bylaws to provide that any appeal from the denial, revocation or suspension of membership under the provisions of Article 3, Section 4 must be heard by the Full Board of Directors.”
The first suggested amendment was to rule proposal 8, which is for the addition of a new section to Rule 20 – STANDARD OF CONDUCT. The proposal calls for a minimum one-year suspension for "any person who shall represent themselves to be the registered owner of a horse knowing said horse to be owned wholly or in part by a person or persons barred or otherwise disqualified from participating in racing.” The amendment added a recommendation to increase the penalty for violations.
The other amendment was to add "as determined by the USTA Executive Vice President” to the end of rule proposal 10 to amend Article 1, section 3(m), which replaces the word "horse” with "animal.” The proposal states, "Forthwith, any person who has been the subject of a final order in a prosecution under any state animal welfare statute shall be disqualified from membership in this Association for a minimum period of one year with the length of the disqualification beyond one year to be determined by the gravity of the offense.”
Those rejected were proposals on clarification of "Bonus Earnings” relative to conditioned races; a new subsection to Rule 9 involving race numbering; an amendment to Rule 14 to prohibit a horse from multiple, same day entries in county fairs; amending Rule 17 to require applicants for an (M) license to be at least 16 years of age; and amending Rule 24 to change the timing of races from fifths of a second to one hundredths of a second.
No action was taken on a proposal to amend Rule 17 to change name and requirements for provisional drivers.
On Saturday evening, just over 100 people were in attendance at the annual banquet honoring fair racing award winners at the same hotel. The formal portion of the banquet concluded with a salute and thank you to outgoing Chairman Dunn by PHHA Executive Director Ron Battoni, which drew a standing