Takter Voted Into Living Hall; Emerson
, Fanning To Communicators Hall
and Moira Fanning, pioneering journalists who have crossed the country (north to south and back in Emerson's case, east to west and back in Fanning's), have been recognized for their outstanding efforts in harness racing with election to the sport's Communicators Hall of Fame, in balloting recently conducted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association
, a proud resident of Saco in southern Maine, started out in harness racing campaigning horses with her
late husband Chet around the New England circuit.
With a teaching background, Emerson quickly realized that the sport needed some background administrative workers to help put the industry's best foot forward, so she co-founded the Maine Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association, and had an early hand in drafting a position paper that eventually morphed into the recent rejuvenation of the Pine Tree State's racing through additional gaming funding.
Emerson's chief journalistic mark was as founder of the Northeast Harness News
, which chronicled not only racing in that area but horses and horsemen from the upper northeast who went on to do well at other venues.
Working on a shoestring budget (her checkbook) and with a thin staff (usually her
, some stringers, and a couple of volunteers), Emerson
developed the paper into a well-read, insightful, and entertaining newspaper -- that last factor usually provided by her
droll sense of humor.
Emerson eventually was named a member of the New England Harness Hall of Fame.
and Chet later took on a life of summering in Maine and wintering in Florida; while down south Emerson
became an important contributor to the Florida USHWA chapter.
Despite advancing years, Emerson still works twice as hard as people half her age.
One person who can stay with Emerson
in the energy-level competition is Moira Sullivan Fanning, who wears many hats in her superior work for the Hambletonian Society
, eponymous sponsors of harness racing's No. 1 race and also the season-ending (and often season-defining) Breeders Crown series.
Jean Emerson and Moira Fanning will also be twice feted for their Communicators Hall of Fame selection -- the first will come at USHWA's Dan Patch awards dinner on Sunday, February 12 in Orlando, Florida; the other will be their formal induction into the Communicators Hall of Fame during July 1 ceremonies in Goshen, New York.