Drivers prep for Hawkinsville Harness Festival

Annual Hawkinsville Harness Race this weekend

Harness horse racing has been in Georgia for over a century, and this weekend, the annual Hawkinsville Harness Festival is back again. 

"I was born and raised in the industry. My father has been in the business for over 50 years," says driver Kristin Shetler. 

And for Shetler, harness racing is a way of life. 

"If it's in your blood, it's in your blood and there's not much you can do about it," says Shetler. 

She and her family are from Indiana, and they've brought their horses to Hawkinsville for winter training for the last three years. 

"The track was fantastic, the climate was great, the horses adjusted well," says Shetler. 

According to Shetler, on Saturday there will be 12 harness races, each with 3 to 4 horses per heat. They will all run one lap around the track, which is equivalent to one mile. 

Shetler says harness racing is different than "performance" horse racing. 

"There's no weight limit, there's no age limit, there's no sex limit --- it's great for males or females, young, old, just jump right in," says Shetler. 

According to the Hawkinsville Chamber of Commerce website, Hawkinsville is the harness horse racing capital of Georgia, and trainers have been bringing their horses there since 1894. 

The races begin at noon on Saturday. 

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