Horses hooves to be heard soon at Ripley County Fairgrounds Park
Harness racing makes a comeback

Wanda English Burnett

Just a few days before the Ripley County 4-H Fair has its official opening, harness racing will take place on the renovated original track at the grandstand. July 14 at 11 a.m. will be the first race, with another event planned for September 6 also at 11:00 a.m. The last time harness racing took place in Osgood was in 1955, according to one historian.

Reviving the sport from the past has created a flurry of excitement at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park in Osgood. There has been a lot of movement with the original track, which is situated on the outskirts of the race track where motor vehicles now run, being completely restored. This was made possible through a $20,665.24 grant from the Indiana Standardbred Association, Greenfield.

There is much to be done to prepare for the races, according to Carrie Hollman of Milan, who participates in the sport. She said it’s a generation thing. Her parents raced, now she is racing, and passing it on to her own children.

Hollman encourages families to come to the event and let their children interact with the horses. “They are welcome to pet them,” she told The Versailles Republican.

For Hollman, it’s a 365-day-a-year job. She said the horses have to be harnessed and driven, shoed, fed, and have annual veterinary checks. On race day, there is a lot to be done as well. She talked about warming the horses up two hours before the race and then afterwards, cooling them down. But, it’s all worth the effort, according to Hollman.

The Ripley County 4-H Corporation is sponsoring the races. Member Lowell Summers said, “Since it hasn’t been done in more than 50 years, it will be interesting.” The Ripley County Park Board has also been involved in bringing the races to Osgood.

Someone who remembered the races well is Osgood native Donald Dunbar. “Oh, yes, I remember going to the races back in the ‘30’s with my grandfather,” Dunbar told The Versailles Republican. He said it was great fun and hopes this will be a drawing card to bring people to the fairgrounds park.

Phil Mohr who serves as the vice-president of the park board said, “This will be good entertainment for the family. You could bring a picnic and enjoy the day.” He told of a recent experience attending a horse race and said it is exciting that it is coming to Osgood.

Families are encouraged to come to the event where door prizes will be given away.

This racing event in no way is to take away from the traditional races held at the grandstand. The truck drags and much more will take place throughout the fair week.
That track was not compromised in any way when the new track was developed.

For businesses that are interested in sponsoring a winner’s blanket, they can contact the park office at 689-6535 before June 30. There will be a total of 16 winner’s circle blankets businesses can sponsor for only $85.00.

For more information you can contact Julie Brancamp, Ripley County Fairgrounds Park manager at the above number.