The Ohio Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association will hand out its annual awards at the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association banquet on Saturday, January 13 at the Marriott Columbus OSU.
The Ohio Chapter will honor Ronnie Gillespie as the recipient of the Winner’s Circle Award for outstanding achievement during the past year; Edward Miller as the Peter Haughton Memorial Award winner for being the young Ohioan who is an “up-and-coming” star among harness horsemen; Earl Bowman into the Immortal Hall of Fame; Overcomer into the Standardbred Hall of Fame; and Steve Bateson as the winner of the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing over the past two decades.
Gillespie, a 51-year-old native of Mississippi, came to Ohio in 2020 and has established himself on the Buckeye fair and sire stakes circuits. He was the regular driver for Sugar Instead, who swept the five legs of the OSS and the $300,000 final on her way to $373,925 in season earnings. As a driver, Gillespie owns a .370 UDRS and a career best $ 786,934. As a conditioner, he had a .430 UTRS.
Edward Miller, the a 26-year-old resident of Polk, Ohio, is excelling in the job cart, as well as the race bike. He currently ranks seventh in the trainer’s standings at MGM Northfield Park. He has conditioned 108 winners this season, earning a career best $1.6 million. He is the trainer of the World Champion, Jet Hill. As an amateur driver, Miller has a lifetime .397 UDRS with more than 50 wins and nearly $300 thousand in career earnings.
Earl Bowman was a well-respected driver/trainer of more than 50 years. Bang The Door ($257,844), Ruff Door ($213,212), Perfect Door ($203,353), Cervantes Osborne ($123,553) and Sweet Potato Chips ($129,993) were among the many fine horses that Bowman trained during his career. Mr. Bowman was a 1988 inductee into the Medina County Sports Hall of Fame and was placed on the Northfield Park Wall of Fame in 1993. He passed away on March 18, 2006, just a couple of days short of his 81st birthday.
The stallion Overcomer stood 14 seasons in the Buckeye state. He had 1,017 registered foals, 162 in 2:00 and 65 who earned $100,000 or more. As a racehorse, the son of Speed In Action finished on the board in 45 of 53 career starts, earning more than $400 thousand dollars. He was a three-time Ohio Sire Stakes Champion trotter.
Steve Bateson, a resident of Bowling Green, Ohio, has been involved with Standardbred horses since 1981 and bought part of his first racehorse in 1986. A director of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association since 2011, Bateson served as vice president of the organization for four years and is its currently in his fifth year as president. He was the driving force behind the implementation of the Buckeye Stallion Series events for 2- and 3-year-olds, which added another valuable classification for staking many outstanding Ohio-bred foals.