HARNESS RACER

Sylvia Stewart Kinzler, right, visited the Clearfield County Historical Society’s museum, the Kerr House, on Tuesday. Kinzler was visiting a new display at the museum recognizing her contributions to the sport of harness racing. She was greeted by society Director Julie Houston.

The subject of a new display at the Clearfield County Historical Society’s museum paid a visit to the Kerr House Tuesday.

Sylvia Stewart Kinzler of Carlisle came to see a grouping of memorabilia including her royal blue jacket and hat finished with white piping and photographs of her and with her horse and sulky in the museum’s room that features county sports, music and photography.

Kinzler, 89, grew up in Clearfield and attended Clearfield High School. She is believed to be among the first woman harness racers in the United States. She was a well known racer at county fairs from 1948-1952, starting at the age of 16, including competing at the Clearfield County Fair.

She got her start helping to care for the horses at stables at the Clearfield County Fair.

She said she participated in competitions as far away as Florida where she spent two winters. Engaging in races with male drivers never bothered her.

“My fellow male racers were very supportive and helped me along the way. They were always very nice to me,” she explained.

Some of her winning horses were her two favorites — Earl Axe and Coral Queen, along with Jack Ladd and Duz Stout.

“I enjoyed having horses. I never had any fear of the horses,” she said.

She said she is very excited about her display.

“I am pleasantly surprised that someone cares, especially after all these years.”

Her family was very supportive of her profession.

“Dad let me harness race instead of going to college,” she said, adding, “I never had any regrets about not going to college.”

Her career came to an end when she got married and started a family. Her daughter, Ginny Lopez, who accompanied her on Tuesday, said her mother was very civic minded and philanthropic. She said she served on the town council and was a member of various organizations.

“She was always involved in her community,” Lopez said.

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