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CEA 4th Annual Night at the Races

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Harness racing traces its roots to ancient battle chariot races.

Association upholds a Chicagoland tradition, raises money for scholarships.

by Chris Nowakowski and Tom Przybyla
photos by Gerry Adams

The Chicago Elevator Association (CEA) held its 4th Annual Night at the Races scholarship fundraiser on May 17 at Hawthorne Racetrack in Cicero, Illinois. Approximately 30 attendees enjoyed an evening of harness racing, a buffet dinner and top-shelf libations in a private dining area above the track.  Highlights included the fourth race being dedicated to the CEA, with several attendees riding in the starter’s car, and the entire group participating in the winner’s circle group photo.

In holding the event at Hawthorne, the state’s oldest thoroughbred track that introduced standardbred harness racing in 1970, CEA members supported a Chicagoland tradition that dates back more than 70 years. Despite intense popularity before the advent of other nighttime entertainment options such as baseball and cable television, not to mention legalized casino gambling, standardbred racing has held on, but barely. In 2016, Hawthorne became the only harness-racing track still in operation in the Chicago market. The sport itself traces its origins to ancient battle chariot races in an empire that spanned modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Today, harness racing consists of horses pulling two-wheeled carts known as sulkies while racing at a specific gait.[1]

This year’s event raised approximately US$6,000 for scholarships to be awarded to dependents of CEA members, including two that will be awarded this fall, for their postsecondary studies. CEA thanks all who attended and looks forward to its continued success. The association also extends special thanks to this year’s event sponsors: Formula Systems; Adams Elevator Equipment Co.; C.J. Anderson & Co.; GAL/Hollister-Whitney; CodeDataPlate.com; MEI Total Elevator Solutions; Matot; Vator Accessories, Inc.; and Lakeland/Larsen Elevator Corp.

Reference
[1] Milbert, Neil. “Flashback: Harness Racing Reaching the Finish Line After Decades of Popularity,” Chicago Tribune, January 6, 2017.
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Tom Przybyla and Gerry Adams

Tom Przybyla and Gerry Adams

Tom Przybyla is vice president and sales manager at Parts Specialists.
Gerry Adams is a business unit manager at Schindler subsidiary Adams Elevator Equipment Co.

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