Roger Huston celebrated his 74th birthday on Friday, the eve of the Delaware County Fair.
The legend known as “The Voice” has called more than 172,900 horse races in his career — a record that no one else has come close to, he said.
“I’m sure I’ll hit the 173,000 mark after Delaware,” Huston said.
And Huston will celebrate 50 years of calling races in Delaware and his 49th anniversary of the Little Brown Jug, the 3-year-old pacing classic at the fairgrounds today. He had called all of the races for the first time in 1967 except the Little Brown Jug which was done by the late Stan Bergstein. Huston would call the Jug the following year.
“It was the greatest thing in my life,” he said. “I was at the right place at the right time.”
Born in Xenia 1942, Huston originally set out on a course to become a teacher. But his uncle, Don Huston, who called races in the 1950s, gave him the opportunity to follow in his footsteps in 1960. Huston announced five county fairs in Ohio that yea and his resume continued to grow as he announced races at the Red Mile in Kentucky 1965, the Jug in 1968 and the Meadows since 1976.
He’s now called races at 137 tracks including 42 of Ohio’s county fairs, 19 states and eight countries such as Canada, Australia and Finland.
Huston said that would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the Little Brown Jug’s popularity across the globe.
“I love the Jug,” he said. “I love the atmosphere.”
And the Jug continues to impress him as it draws out more than 40,000 spectators each year on the third Thursday after Labor Day.
“It’s just unreal,” Huston said. “But it’s a tradition in Delaware and works out well.”
Jug spectators expect the best each and every year at Delaware, Ohio, he said. And he expects this year’s Jug to surpass last year’s race.
He said it’s “up to the Good Lord” but will continue to call races. His uncle retired from calling races at 83 in 2000.
Huston spent part of the week doing meet and greets with local racing fans under the grandstand area.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.