Harness HOF Election Process

Published: March 12, 2019 04:09 pm EDT

Who is the greatest third baseman of all time? Some people may say Brooks Robinson, while others may lean towards Wade Boggs, Chipper Jones or Mike Schmidt. We can agree to disagree.

Who belongs in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame? Like the baseball topic, it is cause for healthy, lively debate. Everyone has their own viewpoint on the many of the possible outstanding candidates, along with and their opinions on the process such an individual goes through to be enshrined in Goshen’s Hall of Fame.

What most people don’t realize is that there is already a lengthy and involved process with checks and balances that must be adhered to for a worthy candidate to even be considered for the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. First and foremost, in order to receive any consideration, a candidate’s name must be put forth to an USHWA chapter and approved.

The Process

Each chapter of USHWA nominates individuals that their membership feels have met the criteria and warrant being in the Hall of Fame. Chapter meetings are usually conducted between now and the end of May.

USHWA’s Advisory Committee, a group of veteran USHWAns, annually prepares biographies for 20 top candidates for the hall. Chapters may nominate up to two candidates from the 20. Chapters receive this ‘Book of 20’ on May 1.

Each chapter may also nominate one individual outside of the 20, providing they send in a 350-700-word biography clearly capturing why this person deserves recognition for their North American lifetime accomplishments.

Integrity Committee

USHWA’s Integrity Committee gets involved in the nominating process twice – to examine the Advisory Committee’s 20 people before the list is distributed to the chapters, and then again to examine anyone else the chapters may nominate. The Integrity Committee checks the records and background of nominees, assuring they meet with the sport’s highest standards.

HOF Screening Committee

Once all the candidates have been reviewed, vetted and approved by the Integrity Committee, the Hall of Fame Screening Committee, which consists of six longtime journalists and the president of USHWA, will meet in Goshen the first weekend of July. They will discuss the candidates among themselves, get the advice of a specially-appointed committee of present Hall of Famers, and then decide who will advance to the midsummer balloting

Don’t be a ‘Monday Morning Quarterback.’ If you feel strongly that you have a viable candidate with national recognition that warrants Hall of Fame consideration, contact the president of your local USHWA chapter to discuss inclusion of your candidate.

(With files from USHWA)