Carl Becker , Fair Parade Marshall at Effingham County Fair

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Published on August 7 2012 1:34 pm
Last Updated on August 7 2012 1:34 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Carl Becker, longtime harness and throughbred race announcer, was the Parade Marshal at the Effingham County Fair Sunday evening.

Becker graduated in 1954 from Altamont High School and in 1958 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he achieved honors as individual champion in the International Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Competition held at the Chicago Amphitheater, helping him earn further accolades as the university's Outstanding Senior in the College of Agriculture.
 
Inducted into the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association Hall of Fame in 2000, Carl and wife Bonnie have operated Fair Meadow Farm, adjacent to the Effingham County Fairgrounds, as one of the premier Standardbred breeding facilities in Illinois of the past 30 years, including honors for flagship stallion Armbro Mackintosh as Illinois Pacing Sire of the Year in 1999. A member of Effingham County 4-H during his childhood, Carl was honored in a special ceremony in 2002 at the University of Illinois with the State 4-H Alumni Recognition Award, on a day when he shared the stage with former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
 
As a track announcer for Standardbred racing across the United States, Carl's resume' includes Voice of the Hambletonian Trotting Classic for ESPN, Voice of the inaugural Breeders' Crown on ESPN, as well as live, national telecasts on ESPN 2, Madison Square Garden Network, Sportschannel, and PBS. On three occasions, his race calls have been featured on the nationally syndicated radio program "Coast to Coast," hosted by Bob Costas of NBC Sports, and his stretch call of the final Hambletonian held at the DuQuoin State Fair was featured on the CBS Evening News.
 
Carl served on the board of directors of the Effingham County Fair from 1966-86, where he also has been track announcer for the harness and Thoroughbred races since 1967.
 
Carl and Bonnie, married for 50 years, are the parents of Jon, Kurt, and Kris, and grandparents of Emily and Matthew Becker.