NORTHFIELD, Ohio, Feb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Charlie Williams, stallion manager at Southwind Farms, has been named the recipient of the 2017 "Caretaker of the Year Award," sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA).
Williams will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, Sunday, Feb. 25, in Orlando, Fla. He will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, transportation, hotel, and event accommodations.
"This (award) is something I'll never forget," says Williams. "From picking cotton as a young kid to go on and take care of world champions, it's been a dream come true. I started working at the bottom and worked my way to the top."
All North America care takers are eligible for the "Caretaker of the Year Award," based on nomination letters detailing the skills and special qualities of each nominee.
As one of William's nominees says, "Please consider allowing this exceptional caretaker a moment to shine in an industry that sometimes forgets those of us who aren't in winner's circles but nevertheless are in a barn day in and day out, without vacation, wind, rain, and snow. You will not find a more true definition of an exceptional caretaker in our industry than Charlie Williams."
Williams is self-described "old school" when it comes to taking care of his horses. But the stallions are more than horses to Williams, they are friends.
"I talk with all the horses like I'm talking to a human," says Williams. "I'm 68 years old; and I can't wait to get up in the morning and come to work. When I walk in the barn, they know me and sound off. They're happy to see me; and, I'm happy to see them."
Williams has cared for some of the sport's top stallions, including Muscle Hill – 2017's leading money-winning trotting sire. "Muscle Hill is like my best friend," says Williams. "I know how he thinks. He knows how I think."
A Georgia native, Williams has worked at Southwind Farms in New Jersey for nearly three decades, spending the early part of his career with thoroughbreds, as an exercise rider and caretaker, before a knee injury forced him to give up riding.
For more information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet, visit www.ushwa.org.
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SOURCE Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park