Inducted - 1993
Ned Bower was the greatest harness racing horseman from Portage County and one of the nation's top trainers and harness drivers. Ned was born in Ravenna on August 9, 1923 and attended the Ravenna Schools, graduating with the class of 1941. Even in high school aviation and horses were his interests. He had been a member of the Ravenna mounted boy scout troop and trained jumpers for Sterling Smith. After graduation and a tour of duty in the army, Ned's first job in the harness business was in 1950 when he began "at the bottom" as a groom. A year later, he had the opportunity to help train and then drive horses. He was a natural! Through the fifty's, Ned trained for several owners at their private stables, rising from second trainer to head trainer and always producing top winners. In 1956, in Goshen New York, Ned drove and won "The Hambletonian" - the Kentucky Derby of harness racing. At 32, he was the youngest driver to have won that event. Ned's career took him from Ohio to Illinois to Orlando, Florida where in the 1960's he opened a public stable business. Within the world of horseracing, Ned Bower became world famous. His horses won many of the top trotter races in the country including the Yonkers Trot; the Dexter Cup; the American National; the Horseman Futurity, and the Hambletonian Filly. Although Ned was a true pioneer and extremely successful, he always remained a helpful, delightful gentleman who had a sharp eye for seeing life's humor and a special talent for telling a good story.