HARRISBURG PA – Barbara Brooks, secretary of the United States Trotting Association (USTA), a person who during her remarkable 62-year career with the Association has worked with generations of horsemen and horses via the USTA’s Registration Department, ensuring meticulous recordkeeping and a smile at every turn, has been voted the sport’s Unsung Hero Award by the members of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport’s leading group of communicators.
When Barb first joined the USTA, the world record for a mile was 1:55; now it is 1:46. When she first went to work there, the tools of her trade were the typewriter and the file folder; now they are the computer and the database: just like the speed for a mile, research and production go much more quickly and efficiently. This upturn in individual production time is part of what has allowed the USTA to retain its ever-growing mass of records about the sport, and to explore and implement new ways of serving its public.
The one constant, the other half of the equation for this progress, has been Barb Brooks, at the end of a telephone, mail, or (now) computer inquiry directed to the USTA’s registry by a horseman or horsewoman wanting to make sure a horse, parentage, and ownership has been correctly recorded. Barb is by no means a “one-man team” – as she would be the first to acknowledge – but it seems no accident that the Registration Department has functioned so smoothly over decades in an exponentially-expanding sport, and she has represented the best of customer service, knowledge, and collegial cooperation. Barb Brooks retires from the USTA on Friday, but the effects of her service to the Association, to its history and its future via the registry, will be felt for decades to come.
Mike Tanner, executive VP/CEO of the USTA, noted, “Barb Brooks exemplifies everything that is right about this industry.” No higher tribute can be made.