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Iowa adds new race venues for 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017 - by Gretchen Springer, Executive Secretary for the Iowa Harness Horse Association

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Floris, IA --- The Iowa Harness Horse Association (IaHHA) is excited to announce that we will be adding two racing venues to the 2017 schedule - the Lee County Fair at Donnellson, Iowa and the Hamilton County Fair at Webster City, Iowa.

Both will be evening programs to give new and returning racing fans the best opportunity to attend. Fair board members from each county approached the IaHHA about bringing racing back to their communities. 

The Lee County Fair is the oldest county fair in Iowa. The fair is surrounded by a vibrant 4H community, as well as many open exhibitors.

“Last year was our 175th anniversary so we wanted to bring back horse racing,” said Tara Sides, Lee County Fair Board Member.  

Sides recalls her father talking about Lee County harness racing in the 1960s. At one time it was the only grandstand entertainment in Donnellson. Last year the fair held cart and wagon races for ponies, horses and mules.

“We started small last year with a few races and it went over so well we wanted to expand on that,” said Sides. “We are super excited to get racing back.”

Races will take place Wednesday (July 5) at 5:30 p.m.

Hamilton County Fair Board Vice President Randy Chalfant met IaHHA members at the Association of Iowa Fairs annual meeting in Dec. Chalfant said the fair would be celebrating their 100th anniversary this coming summer and would like to bring back harness racing to commemorate their history. 

Hamilton County neighbors Humboldt County, where there is an active community of horsemen. Some board members from Humboldt went to assess the track and reported that the half-mile oval looks great for racing.

Races will take place Thursday evening (July 27) at 6:00 p.m. Chalfant reported that this will coincide with their Fair Queen contest, so there should be a nice crowd.

Both race meets will be overnights with purses of $1,000 for each race.

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