New Race Venues for 2017
The Iowa Harness Horse Association 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. They have a vibrant 4H community as well as many open exhibitors. “Last year was our 175th anniversary so we wanted to bring back the 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 at 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,” says Sides. “We are super excited to get racing back!” Races will take place Wednesday, July 5 at 5:30pm.
Hamilton County Fair Board Vice President Randy Chalfant met IaHHA members at the Association of Iowa Fairs annual meeting in December. 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 July 27, Thursday evening at 6:00pm. 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 $1000 for each race.