PEIHRIA and Matinee Racetrack Banquet
The PEI Harness Racing Industry Association and the Matinee Racetracks held their annual Dinner And Awards Banquet Wednesday night at the CDPEC. Over 115 people were in attendance, including the Honorable Wes Sheridan, Minister of Finance and the Honorable Neil LeClair, Minister of Agriculture.
Horses and participants amass points for order of finish at the five active matinee tracks during the season and the eventual Matinee Track Award winners have traveled the length of the Island to compete. Age is no barrier to competition, as the Rookie Of The Year, Jeff Wallace of Alberton, can attest.
The matinee tracks are driven by volunteers and Scott Roloson of Belfast is no slouch in that department. A full time student, Scott lists the horses and drivers as they arrive at Pinette Raceway, assists in classifying the races to make competitive fields, does a great job announcing the races, and allows his 13-year-old assistant to call the occasional race when Scott is driving his own horse. This all-round dedication earned him the 2008 Sportsman Of The Year award.
Eighteen of the top points winners from the season’s Challenge Series race in the Matinee Championship Finals at Summerside Raceway. Horses are divided by ability into three classes, and the winners of the Divisional Championships are Little York Ed, owned by Leo Bernard of Tignish, and Magic Ombre, owned by Raymond White of Wood Islands. The Department Of Agriculture Matinee Championship Award goes to a different division each year, and this year’s recipient is a horse called Toilet Paper, owned by Freeman Coughlin of O’Leary.
Top points driver is Wylie Taylor of Upton, whose four horses traveled the Island all summer from track to track, earning him the points for the title of Amateur Driver Of The Year. The under-21 division was earned by Nicholas Oakes of Cornwall, a fitting closure to his amateur status, since he is planning to turn professional in 2009. Nick’s array of talents also include training, announcing and journalism.
The five-track Challenge Series top points winner in 2008 is a well traveled horse called JIS, owned by Clayton Adams of Coleman. JIS earned Adams the Standardbred Canada trophy for Owner Of The Year.
The 2008 Matinee Track award winners are as follows:
Rookie Driver of the Year: Jeff Wallace
Sportsman Of The Year: Scott Roloson
Divisional Champions: C Division - Little York Ed owned by Leo Bernard
A Division - Magic Ombre owned by Raymond White
Department Of Agriculture Matinee Champion - Toilet Paper owned by Freeman Coughlin
Amateur Driver Of The Year - Wylie Taylor
Amateur Driver Of The Year, Under 21 - Nicholas Oakes
Owner Of The Year - Clayton Adams