Wednesday, 18 January 2023 06:23

O’Brien Award Media Finalists and USHWA Winners Announced

Horse Racing Alberta is honoured to be considered as a finalist in two categories at the upcoming O’Brien Awards. Jeff Robillard’s submission, “Tyler Redwood: Nine Months Later”, is in the running for Outstanding Written Work, and the HRA video “Fun for Fans” is a finalist for Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast.

The “Fun for Fans” video also received honourable mention from the US Harness Writers for the Sam McKee Award for broadcasting.

Congratulations to Jeff Robillard, HRA, Tyler Redwood, ASHA, Bill Andrew, Fred Gillis, Mike Little from Shine Light Entertainment, and everyone else who made this recognition possible.

From Standardbred Canada:

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2022 Media Excellence Awards, which will be presented at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont.

Now in its 15th year, the Media Excellence Awards program honours those who have, through one piece of exceptional work, covered Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal.

Ontario Racing is sponsoring the Media Excellence Awards for the seventh consecutive year.

The finalists in the Outstanding Written Work category are Dave Briggs and Jeff Robillard.

A three-time winner of this award, Dave Briggs is a finalist again in 2022 for his feature, "There's still some magic left in the old game." The story, which was published on July 19 on Harness Racing Update, covers this past summer's magical evening of harness racing at The Meadowlands highlighted by historic performances from Canadian stars Bulldog Hanover and Beach Glass.

Jeff Robillard is a finalist in this category for the second straight year for his story, "Tyler Redwood: Nine Months Later," which was originally published on May 11 on Horse Racing Alberta's website In this follow-up to his 2021 Media Excellence Award nominated feature, “Redwood Candid on Past Addiction Issues," Robillard shared an update on horseman Tyler Redwood and his desire to help others fighting addictions.

In the Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast category, the finalists are Cujo Entertainment and Horse Racing Alberta. New for the 2022 awards, broadcast submissions were restricted in length to a 15-minute video or excerpt.

Ontario-based Cujo Entertainment is a finalist for its excerpt of "2022 Hambletonian," a one-hour broadcast covering the 97th edition of the Hambletonian from The Meadowlands, which was won by Canadian-born trainer Jim Campbell. Produced for the Hambletonian Society and hosted by Greg Blanchard, the broadcast aired live on the Central Ontario Standardbred Association's Facebook page on Aug. 6 then was featured two weeks later on CBS Sports Network.

A two-time winner of this award, Horse Racing Alberta is a finalist for "2022 HRA Fun For Fans Promo," a video that tells the story of the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association's Fun For Fans charity initiative that has spanned 10 years and raised more than $250,000 for charities province-wide. Produced by Jeff Robillard of Horse Racing Alberta and Mike Little of Shine Light Entertainment, the video first aired on the Horse Racing Alberta website and social media channels on Sept. 22.

From the USTA website:

In the McKee competition, Cujo Entertainment was honored for its coverage of the Hambletonian, which appeared live on the Hambletonian Society’s YouTube channel on Aug. 6 and was later broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

The show was produced by Curtis MacDonald and Cameron Chick as well as co-produced and directed by Luke vanBelkom. The show was hosted by Greg Blanchard, Dave Brower, and Michael Carter. To watch the entire one-hour broadcast, click here.

Honorable mention went to Horse Racing Alberta for its feature on the “Fun for Fans” charity initiative that was posted Sept. 22 on the HRA website and social media channels and later picked up by local media CTV Edmonton and Todayville.

Entries for the Sam McKee Award were judged by Kurt Becker, track announcer at Keeneland and an Eclipse Award-winning broadcaster.

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