by Frank Carulli
November 12, 2019
To put Roger Huston’s race-calling career in perspective, it would take 40 years of calling 10 races per day, five days a week, to reach 100,000.
But as the decades passed, it became increasingly clear that the numbers would need drastic reconfiguring.
Huston was inseparable from the announcer’s booth and estimates having called more than 188,000 harness races when he announced his retirement this month after a 44-year stint at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. The “Voice” began his career in 1960 and worked at Lebanon Raceway in Ohio, the Red Mile in Kentucky, Pompano Park in Florida, to name a few venues, before he took up residency at The Meadows, some 25 miles west of Pittsburgh. In all, he has called races at 144 tracks in 20 countries.
“Roger has been a mainstay and a voice not just of The Meadows but all of harness racing for over 50 years,” said Mark Loewe, vice president of racing at The Meadows. “His dedication to the sport of harness racing is unparalleled and his voice will be missed by many.”
Huston, 77, will continue his Hall of Fame career at the annual fall meeting at the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, where he began calling the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown in 1968.
“I am not retiring, just cutting back on the day-to-day announcing,” Huston said.
Huston called Breeders Crown races three times at the Meadows in the 1980s, including the 1984 classic when locally-based Dragon’s Lair upset Nihilator, the first Standardbred to earn $3 million. He was behind the mic for four decades of the Adios Pace and surely can recount Barberry Spur’s 1986 victory for local trainer-driver Dick Stillings, Hall of Fame driver John Campbell’s four-year winning streak in the early 1990s and 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked’s Adios win four years earlier.
Huston was there for Dave Palone’s historic run to becoming the winningest driver of all-time, a fact not lost on Palone. When Palone guided Windsong Leo to victory in the $20,000 Roger Huston Farewell race November 2, he raised the lines and looked up at the announcer’s booth as he crossed the wire as a tribute to Huston.
“He’s been there for all of my milestones,” Palone told harnessracing.com. “It won’t be the same here without him. He’s going to be missed, not just announcing but in the backstretch community here at The Meadows. He’s like a member of everyone’s family.”