|TTHBPA Board Member John Roark Re-Elected
for Third Term as National HBPA President
On Sunday, July 25, Texas Thoroughbred Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective
Association (TTHBPA) Director John O. Roark was re-elected for a third
term as president of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective
Association (NHBPA) by that organization’s board of directors. The
election was part of the NHBPA’s summer convention held at the Westin
Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which was hosted by the HBPA
of Ontario. The Texas Horsemen’s Partnership (THP) is an affiliate
member organization of the NHBPA, a national horsemen's organization consisting
of 31 affiliate member organizations and representing over 36,000 horsemen
throughout North America.
Roark, who has served two two-year terms, was elected to a three-year
term as president and chairman. There were no other nominees. Previously,
the president's post was unpaid, but under the new structure, he will
be paid an honorarium of $36,000 a year.
Roark explained that he wanted to continue at the helm of the National
HBPA to take care of what he called "unfinished business." He
mentioned two items: establishing an international wagering hub to increase
revenue for horsemen, and working with other industry groups to establish
the national Office of Wagering Security.
"An international racing hub is vital to the industry," Roark
told the membership. "If we can get that up and operating it could
double purses, and you won't have to deal with racinos that could end
up owning you if you're not too careful."
As for the national security office, Roark said the National Thoroughbred
Racing Association (NTRA), of which he is a board member, could very well
establish it by September. Roark indicated the NTRA wants broad support
for the office but could move ahead in the absence of industry consensus
given the important nature of the project.
The pari-mutuel industry is currently under attack in Washington, D.C.,
given its reliance on Internet wagering, account wagering, and interstate
simulcasts. Officials have said the industry must prove to legislators
it has its house in order when it comes to security and integrity of wagers.
"How many of you want the federal government running your business?"
Roark, an attorney and native of Bug Tussle, Texas, currently resides
in Temple, Texas.
Pennsylvania HBPA Director Joe Santanna was unanimously elected as the
NHBPA's secretary-treasurer. He had previously served in that position
by appointment, but as part of an organizational restructuring that was
passed by the NHBPA Board at the convention, the secretary-treasurer became
an elected position. The president position was also changed to become
a president-chairman of the board position. Under the new organizational
structure, if for any reason the president-chairman of the board cannot
serve out his term, the secretary-treasurer would automatically ascend
to that post.
Dr. Ed Hagen of Oregon, who had held the position of NHBPA’s chairman
of the board since 1991, was elected as the organization's chairman emeritis.
In that capacity, he will continue to represent the NHBPA at some industry
functions and meetings.
The National HBPA board of directors also approved creation of four regional
vice president posts. After a brief caucus, Tom Metzen of Minnesota was
elected to head the Central region, Robin Richards of Virginia the Eastern
region, Bill Walmsley of Arkansas the Southern region, and Dave Benson
of Oregon the Western region (on a temporary basis).
The THP is a member of the NHBPA's Southern region, along with the Alabama,
Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tampa Bay HBPAs. Southern
Region Vice President Walmsley is a previous president of both NHBPA and
the Arkansas HBPA.
The position of executive director, currently filled by Remi Bellocq,
has been changed to chief executive officer. Bellocq's title and responsibilities
will change under the restructuring.