History of the Converse Fair & Harness Racing
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History of the Fair
The Converse Fair was first called the Xenia Fair back in 1871. Harness racing has been associated with both names. The location of the Converse Fair has much to do with the early success of the fair. Four counties: Wabash, Grant, Howard and Miami, form the hub. Railroads and interurban lines helped the fair, and by 1902, a 24 passenger train passed through Converse linking Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio.
In 1908 the Converse Fair produced a state of the art all-weather track.
Some of the famous names racing around the ½ mile are: Sep Palin, Bob Farrington, Gene Sears, Doug Ackerman, Rambling Willie, Jimmy Creed, just to name a few. Bob Farrington purchased RAMBLING WILLIE in Barn #1 at the Converse Fair. Rambling Willie went on to set many records in the harness racing industry.
Currently we are home of "Our Lucky Chip"
Co-owned by Jason Miller and Brad Roller. Who is doing very well
at Hoosier Park:
11-22-2011 - Indiana Equine Industry accounts for OVER $2-billion
4-13-2012 - Our Lucky Chip Landess Series
4-17-2012 - Our Lucky Chip Sweeps Jerry Landess Series
5-16-2012 - Our Lucky Chip fastest in ISS Gold
7-4-2012 - Our Lucky Chip Becomes Fastest Son of Arts Chip
7-5-2012 - Our Lucky Chip too powerful in fourth round
11-11-2012 - Our Lucky Chip takes 3-Year-Old Colt Pace
Some of the early trainers that trained at Converse included, Ike Jones, the father of Emma Sowash. Some of his heirs still train there. They include Jerry Sowash and Joe Sumner. One of the early woman trainers was Mae Britt, who could drive as rough a race as any man. Stutterin Ott Retherford and Oral Hobbs, whose son Merrill is still active in the business, also trained here. Ott Retherford died during a race at the ½ mile, so his nephew, Clarence (Ty) Drook, took over the reins for the second heat of the race. Ty trained a stable of horses there for several years and raced the grand circuit until in the late 1960s. In later years you could hear the following names: Trimble, Shaw, Dever, Fox, Cain, Retherford, Burns, Drook, Druck, Bowman, Shirley, Hiple, Losure, White, Daugherty, Smith, Highley, Steelman, McVay, Mark, Knox, Miller, Crain, McGibbons, Harts, Montgomery, Williams, ...and the list could go on for miles. Each has contributed to the legend which has been Indiana harness racing and its future.
(some of this excerpt from-http://www.hoosierhoofprints.com/)