The USTA district meeting was led by directors Royal Roland and Gabe Wand, who brought attendees up to date on various USTA projects from the past year and who moderated the votes on the various rule change proposals that were brought forth this year. USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner assisted, and briefly outlined the USTA's goals for the coming year.
After a healthy amount of debate and deliberation, the district's rule change recommendations are as follows:
Proposal #1 (Bonus Earnings): Reject
Proposal #2 (Race Numbering): Approve
Proposal #3 (Prohibition of Same Day Fair Entries): Approve
Proposal #4 (Provisional Driver Preferences): Reject
Proposal #5 (Matinee License Minimum Age): Approve
Proposal #6 (Timing In Hundredths): Reject
Proposal #7 (Pleasure Horse Registration Language): Approve
Proposal #8 (Standard of Conduct Language): Approve
Proposal #9 (DNA Verification Requirement for Sales): Reject
Proposal #10 (Appeals to Full Board): Reject
Proposal #11 (Animal Cruelty Mandatory Ban): Approve
The highlights of the IHHA banquet surely were the inductions into the Iowa Hall of Fame of pioneering horsewoman Judy Liles, whose daughter delivered a heartfelt and humorous speech in presenting her mother, and longtime owner/trainer Keith Carey, who delighted the capacity crowd with stories about his boyhood and introduction to harness racing.
Dozens of relatives were in attendance to hear Carey share his enthusiasm, wit and passion about his many decades in harness racing. The late horseman and blacksmith Clifton Card also was inducted.
Marion Rush, Aaron Rush, and Rob Anderson's Opticrombie, a 3-year old pacing filly in 2012, dominated the Iowa fair circuit, winning her last 11 races in the state and earned a landslide victory as the Iowa Horse of the Year.
Trained and driven for most of the season by Anderson, Opticrombie was sent to New York in the latter part of the year, where she already has won two races at Yonkers. The daughter of Eternal Optimist--The Independent was bred by Lesa Peters.