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Project celebrates 75th Jug race

Delaware Gazette - Delaware Ohio

Over the last year, volunteers at the Delaware County Historical Society (DCHS) have been working on an oral history project to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the running of the Little Brown Jug harness race.

Hundreds of hours were spent interviewing people associated with the race and compiling a series of videos available on the DCHS website at www.DelawareOhioHistory.org. Excerpts from these interviews will be broadcast on WDLR Radio during morning and afternoon segments on the five days of racing at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The Ohio Harness Horseman’s Association will also be broadcasting the race and using portions of the interviews during its broadcast.

Leading this effort for the DCHS was Dr. Richard Leavy and Karen Cowan.

To celebrate the 75th milestone, the Delaware County Historical Society will be offering to the public free access to three components of the DCHS’s Little Brown Jug Oral History Project. These include a rebroadcast of the society’s 2019 evening program on the Little Brown Jug, featuring Jay Wolf, historian of the Little Brown Jug Society, and Roger Huston, “The Voice,” who has announced every Jug since 1968. They discuss the origins of the race and its history with stories about memorable races and people, and the most unusual things that have happened before and during races.

A link to videos of interviews given for the oral history project with over 20 people who are associated with the Little Brown Jug — including drivers John Campbell and David Miller, award-winning Delaware trainer Brian Brown, and professionals associated with the race such as longtime outrider Diane Winters and announcer Roger Huston — are also available. Other interviewees include the grandsons of race founder Hank Thomson and local fans who have attended the race for many years (and one who attended the very first race in 1946). Also available is a 20-minute compilation video that consists of excerpts from the full-length interviews and explores the Jug’s traditions, special nature, and potential for the future.

Although no spectators will be permitted to witness the Little Brown Jug this year due to the pandemic, the Delaware County Historical Society invites the public to see and hear stories about the race from some of the many people who love this time-honored tradition.

The Delaware County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote, preserve and sustain interest in the history of Delaware County. The Barn at Stratford is operated by DCHS as an event venue for weddings, corporate meetings and other special occasions. To learn more, visit the venue and society web sites at barnatstratford.org and www.delawareohiohistory.org.