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Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association (4/16/13)

Illinois horsemen give the gift of education

Big Tom Scholarship worth $5,000

Jereme's Jet
Jereme's Jet
HINSDALE, IL – The Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association (IHHA) is proud to once again administer the “Big Tom Scholarship” worth $5,000. The scholarship is funded by Tom Lewandowski, John Leahy and Jolene Leahy.

“We’re very happy to be a part of this scholarship again this year,” said IHHA President Dave McCaffrey. “This is harness horsemen helping their own. It’s something everyone in our racing community can be proud of.”

Last year, the scholarship committee awarded $2,500 each to Emily Magee and Chas Walker. Both students’ families have long histories in the horseracing industry.

At the IHHA Hall of Fame banquet in February this year, Tom Lewandowski announced that he would again contribute to the Big Tom IHHA Scholarship.

“We wanted to give back to the industry,” said Lewandowski whose daughter was the recipient of an IHHA scholarship almost 15 years ago.

Additional funding will come from John and Jolene Leahy, who donated a 2013 breeding to Jereme's Jet which was auctioned off at the 2012 Walker Sale in August of last year. All of the proceeds from that breeding have gone toward the Big Tom Scholarship Fund.

“The youth is the lifeblood of the future of harness racing,” said Land of Lincoln sales manager, Kristi Patterson. “We are happy to put forth an effort to expand higher education opportunities for everyone involved with harness racing. This is really a ‘win-win’ situation.”

To be eligible, the applicant or their guardian must be an IHHA member. Children of IHHA employees and Directors are not eligible for application. An essay on what Illinois harness racing means to the applicant is one of the determining factors in the award. Interested candidates can find more information by calling the IHHA office at 630-323-0808 or by going to

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