Wisconsin Harness Horse Association
Board of Director’s Meeting
Feb. 7, 2009 Dane, Wi
Present: Rick Tittsler, Rick Davis, Becky Swinehardt, Susan Schroeder, Gabe Wand, Sadie Gunnink, Scott
Gald, Jeanne Marquis
1. Call to Order. Meeting began at 10:40
2. Minutes from November Meeting were reviewed and moved approved by Rick D., seconded by Becky.
3. Treasurers Report: Major expenses for the beginning of the year were concentrated on the Annual
Meeting. $250 membership in HHI was questioned but approved for this year as it keeps us connected
to the large organization. Our $30,000 money market balance is our safety net in case something
happens to the starting gate. Moved approved by Sadie and seconded by Becky. (Attached)Motion
4. Election of officers: As past officers agreed to continue to serve in their positions, the following posts
are filled as follows:
President -Gabe Wand; nominated by Rick D and seconded by Susan
Vice-President -Rick Davis; nominated by Sadie and seconded by Scott
Secretary- Jeanne Marquis; nominated by Scott, seconded by Susan
Treasurer- Susan Schroeder; Nominated by Becky and seconded by Scott
Annual Meeting- Gabe
Insurance- Rick Davis
Legislative- Rick Titsler
Membership- Jeanne Marquis
Newsletter- Sadie Gunnink
Promotion/ Publicity- Rick Tittsler
Gate- Rick Davis, Tom Puetz
Hall of Fame- Susan Schroeder will liaison with Wisconsin Hall of Fame Committee (Rick D will keep
5. Committee Reports
a. Annual Meeting. Gabe reported that we tied the record for attendance. There were 30 for the morning
session and 126 for dinner. There was some discussion about the difficulty with the line outside the
door for dinner, food not as good as last year, and lack of bartenders. The hotel seemed short staffed.
Gabe said that there were some advantages to staying there. Among them the fact that people know
where it is and that it is the cheapest we could find. $200 gives us all the upstairs space, no audio rent
except the large screen, room rates reasonable. Rick T. and Sadie will check other options before Gabe
signs the contract for next year. The January date seems good if there is no racing again next year and
we can avoid the same date as Ill or Minn. Awards seemed to go well. The inauguration of “firsts”, first
win, first owners etc. seemed well received. Complaints and comments by members, we agreed, should
be sent to Board Members via e-mail and written down so that we have specific items to fix. Some have
complained the tattoos often have to be redone. This complaint should be made to the USTA.
b. Fund Raising. Silent/live Auction/ 50/50 Raffle. Becky suggested that next year we give auction
numbers with the meal tickets. These can also be used for the dinner drawings. Silent auction items
should be paid for at the end of the evening unless you are leaving early. We will keep an eye out for
good auction items, i.e. Equipment could be collected at sales throughout the year so we have a head
start and a larger selection. 50/50 got to $283. This technique is effective in the grandstand too, and
should be encouraged at each event.
Calendar Raffle. This year we will get our license early. We need to submit a sample in order to apply.
Sadie will lay it out. It will be 11x17 in. one page, with the 4 racing months with a collage of pictures.
Drawing for prizes will be on race days. Number will be limited. Susan will print at work. Sadie will
include a reminder in the newsletter about where they can be picked up. They cannot be mailed.
Logowear. Barb Smith and Mary Puetz have agreed to take over for Nancy. (Thanks, Nancy for
carrying those sweatshirts everywhere!) Scott has some samples of embroidered tops which are good
quality and inexpensive. He will contact Barb and Mary.
c. Insurance. Susan raised the issue that all drivers starting at meets which accept ½ of their insurance
from us should be members of WHHA. There was some discussion as to whether coverage includes
accidents which happen anytime on the track or only during a race. Rick D. will clarify this with Van
Gundy. The motion on the table, if a race meet accepts WHHA co-sponsorship, all drivers starting
behind the gate at this event, must be members of WHHA, is tabled until clarification of coverage.
d. Legislative. No action at this time.
e. Membership. Old members need to be reminded to anti-up for this year. Gabe will create reminder
cards and send to Jeanne to send out. She will also approach again those who are members of USTA but
not of WHHA. We are at 93 presently,
f. Newsletter/ Website. Sadie was asked by Gabe to report meeting attendance. She will send copies of
the newsletter to each member unless a couple at the same address asks for only one. She will make a
note of this in the newsletter. Her plan is to include a summary of our Board meetings, our racing
information and continue with articles on horse health and care on the last 2 pages.
Gabe will do condition books. They will be sent o anyone who raced last year or who was on the list
from last year. He was asked to include some more useful information if possible: phone numbers for a
local vet, hotel, camping contacts, admission prices, and headlining events, etc.
g. Promotion/ Publicity. Horse Fair. Sadie reports that we have 10 stalls. She has enough horses she
thinks. These include Abbey Bayer who wants to do something with showing as a roadster. Greg
Nebgan and Maggie Steiner will bring Jimmy Champion. Dapple will do hoof-a-graphs and be hooked
to a bike. Another volunteer will be hooked to a jog cart. The raffle of the pedal horse has been
approved. Bob has been volunteered to put it together. 5oo coloring books will be ordered for the hoof-
a-graphs. The theme is superhorse. Lively discussion came up with ideas of how to attach a cape to a
harness. Our demo grade is determined by showmanship and ability to display our breed. Dates are April
17th, 18th, and 19th with demonstrations on Fri. and Sat.
Other promotion ideas include: offering a pen- on- a- string with programs, placemats like the example
presented by Joanne Gilbertson which could be distributed to local restaurants who buy ads for the
program; a USTA generated poster which could be colored for prizes; and bouncy ponies, which are
large, strong, soft balls which could be raced in front of the grandstand between races. (Subsequently
dismissed for insurance reasons)
Susan suggested that we could predesign and print covers for all racing with very colorful, upbeat
design. She calls it the Glory Days of Summer (often our “prize” in Wisconsin) and sees some attraction
for corporate sponsor if we can assure them of statewide exposure. She has volunteered to facilitate on
track interviews of drivers and trainers to get fans emotionally involved in the horses. A local bugler
playing a call to races would be fun especially if he brings his high school jazz group along to play.
Animal Planet is showing Jockeys and dramatizing accidents and whipping excesses. It is anticipated
that this will also stir up the whipping controversy. We agreed that we should prepare for crisis
management in case an accident happens during our meets. This would include the announcer
responsibility to decelerate and a vet report to the crowd. Gabe will prepare a preprinted plan which will
be kept in the gate along with a first aid kit which will be designed by a vet. Rick T. has volunteered to
provide an air splint.
Whipping has been a hot topic around the sport recently and among our board members and the USTA.
It is generating several suggestions for improving our racing image in Wisconsin. The track programs
could educate fans on the appropriate use of the whip as well as other safety equipment. We could pay
an associate judge who travels to each fair and is responsible for implementing a consistent whipping
policy. A video back up would be ideal. The goal of this policy would be to prevent not to catch. It
would be promulgated in the June newsletter and Condition Book. Gabe will write the policy statement,
check with TC Lang at the USTA , e-mail us and present it at the next meeting.
Rick T. brought up the mid- year release of a commercially produced movie about a harness horse
coming back from an injury, Shannon’s Rainbow. This was promoted in the last Hoof Beats and could
be used for our promotion purposes. He will follow through on finding out about screenings, posters,
promotions with producers etc.
h. Racing 2009 Dates:
June- Elkhorn 20th12:00
Mineral Point 28th
July-Elkhorn 12th Middle Meet
Rice Lake 13th and 14th 7:00
Monroe 26th 10:30
Aug-Weyauwega 1st 12:00
Wautoma 10th 12:00
Weyauwega Fair 30th 12:00
September - Norway 2nd and 3ed
Elkhorn 5th and 6th 1:00
Mineral Point 6th and 7th 12:00
Richland Center 12th 11:00
Viroqua 19th and 20th 1:00
Rick D moved that WHHA co-sponsor the June 20th and July 12th meets at $2000 each. Seconded by Rick
T and approved. Susan reported that if she is to be charting at the early or middle meet, she will need help.
Suggestions that open positions could be listed in the newsletter. It would be good to get qualifying
requirements for Running Aces. Rick T will check the Wisconsin Fairs website and check into the
possibility of attending the Wisconsin Association of Fairs meeting.
i. Starting Gate. The gate is stored at Viroqua. Conrad Lewison will get the mechanics assessment done
which is due for insurance. Tom Puetz will check to see if the gate works well before we begin the
j. Next year we will give auction numbers with the meal tickets. These can also be used for the dinner
drawings. Silent auction items should be paid for at the end of the evening unless you are leaving early.
We will keep an eye out for good auction items, ie. Equipment could be collected at sales throughout
the year so we have a head start and a larger selection.
k. Hall of Fame. The new committee will be invited to the next meeting. They will assume the
responsibility of paying for awards and determining guidelines. Rick T. will get someone to cover this
6. Committee Assignments. As above
7. New Business.
8. Future Board Meeting. March 29 Sunday 10:30. Gabe will find an appropriate space.
9. Adjourn 3:10 Moved by Rick T and seconded by Scott.