Robert “Bob” Schmitz, former Chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, has been selected as the 38th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree by the Delaware County Fair.
Schmitz is an avid supporter of harness racing for over 50 years and has championed the sport in many ways, including representing racetracks and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA).
He was appointed to the Ohio State Racing Commission in 2011 by Gov. John Kasich and served two terms as Chairman of the commission. During his tenure, the state introduced Video Lottery Terminals (VTLs) at the racetracks and opened two new harness tracks — Miami Valley Gaming and Dayton Raceway.
Schmitz lobbied for the OHHA from 2001 until 2011. He was appointed to the Standardbred Development Fund in 2001 and served until his appointment to the commission in 2011.
He operates Robert K. Schmitz Associates located in downtown Columbus and his knowledge and expertise as a government affairs specialist is extensive. He has more than 50 years of experience working with the Ohio General Assembly and state government.
He has been an owner and breeder of standardbred horses since 1983 and has bred horses with fellow Wall of Famer, Jim Buchy and Midland Acres, as part of their 98 Degree Farm.
Schmitz was awarded the Harness Horsemen International’s ‘Person of the Year Award’ in 2013 and he received the OHHA’s Maynard and Stella Hagemeyer ‘Significant Contribution Award’ in 2019.
“I love the Little Brown Jug and have only missed one Jug since my first in 1969,” Schmitz said. “The year I missed, I was clerking in the Ohio Senate and the General Assembly was in session. I am truly humbled by this honor.”
A Columbus Ohio native, Schmitz has been married to the former Jenny Hamman since 1974 and has three daughters and two grandchildren.
He will be honored the Tuesday evening (Sept. 19) before the 78th edition of the $1,000,000 (est.) Little Brown Jug.