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Former AHP President Les Ford dies

Leslie P. Ford, 84, the editor of the Harness Horse magazine for 23 years, died October 21, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Prior to his years of traveling to racetracks all over North America to report on harness racing, Les served with the United States Marine Corps and attended Indiana University. He was a member of the Paxton Presbyterian Church, Penn Garden Lions Club, the United States Harness Writers Association, United States Trotting Association, and Grand Lodge F & AM of Indiana. He was inducted into the Writers’ Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY.

Les served as the 1985-1986 AHP President during a term that included a winter meeting in New Orleans. Back in the days when AHP held its annual meeting in the Washington D.C. area, the group gathered at Ernie’s Crab House in Alexandria, Virginia, to eat crabs on long tables covered in brown kraft paper. There was always a contest to see who could eat the most crabs. Les wielded a mallet with efficiency, earning the title of AHP “Crab King” in 1982 and sharing the title in 1984 with Audie Rackley of The Quarter Horse Journal.

In 1990, Les attended the AHP 20th anniversary seminar in Washington, D.C. along with ten other Past Presidents. In 2003, Chris Brune invited Les to attend

the seminar in Hunt Valley, Maryland. She remembered walking into the hotel restaurant and seeing a lone gentleman sitting at a table that she immediately

recognized as Les. Unfortunately, Chris was the only one to see Les at that seminar as he didn’t hear his wake-up call and missed the AHP breakfast he was

planning to attend before he had to leave. Like many of his contemporaries, he was proud of the growth of the association and the friends he had made in this

industry.

In a letter to the members in 1986 after attending the New Orleans meeting, he wrote: “There’s a funny twist to these AHP meetings. When you attend and

share your experience and knowledge with the group, you always seem to take more back to your paper than what you brought.”

 

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