Looking Back: Harness racing at the fair


Submitted story



Pictured is an 1891 photo of a harness racehorse on the race track of the Champaign County Fairgrounds.

Pictured is an 1891 photo of a harness racehorse on the race track of the Champaign County Fairgrounds.


Submitted photo

A program about April Star, a famous harness horse owned and trained by Roy Craig of Urbana, will be presented at the Champaign County Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. In addition to discussing the career of April Star and Roy Craig, a brief history of the harness horse and harness racing will be presented. Come and learn who the driver is in this photo.


Submitted photo

This Looking Back features harness racing at the Champaign County Fair. Photo #1 (#A1743) is an 1891 photo of a harness racehorse on the race track of the Champaign County Fairgrounds. Note the ornate judges’ stand. This was two years after the fairgrounds was moved to its current location from the original location south of town which had served the county since about 1858 with a smaller race track (1/3 mile).

Harness racing has always been a part of the Champaign County Fair. The trotting racehorse shown in photo #1 is hitched to a high-wheeled sulky which was replaced in 1892 by the bicycle pneumatic-tired sulky, a modification of which is used today as shown in photo #2 (A2672-14).

A program about April Star, a famous harness horse owned and trained by Roy Craig of Urbana, will be presented at the Champaign County Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. In addition to discussing the career of April Star and Roy Craig, a brief history of the harness horse and harness racing will be presented. Come and learn who the driver is in photo #2.

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The Champaign County Historical Museum is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pictured is an 1891 photo of a harness racehorse on the race track of the Champaign County Fairgrounds.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2022/08/web1_Looking-Back-Harness-Racing-at-the-Fair-1.jpgPictured is an 1891 photo of a harness racehorse on the race track of the Champaign County Fairgrounds. Submitted photo

A program about April Star, a famous harness horse owned and trained by Roy Craig of Urbana, will be presented at the Champaign County Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. In addition to discussing the career of April Star and Roy Craig, a brief history of the harness horse and harness racing will be presented. Come and learn who the driver is in this photo.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2022/08/web1_Looking-Back-Harness-Racing-at-the-Fair-2.jpgA program about April Star, a famous harness horse owned and trained by Roy Craig of Urbana, will be presented at the Champaign County Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. In addition to discussing the career of April Star and Roy Craig, a brief history of the harness horse and harness racing will be presented. Come and learn who the driver is in this photo. Submitted photo

Submitted story

Info from CCHS

Info from CCHS