Morgan Marston gets announcing tips from ‘The Voice’ – Wednesday, October 05, 2016
by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent
Seaford, DE — One of the first people Roger Huston met when he arrived at the new Shenandoah Downs last week was 8-year-old Morgan Marston.
“She looked up at me and said ‘I want to be an announcer too,’” he said.
Little did she know Huston would make it happen — the very next day. On Saturday (Oct. 1), Marston, with Huston’s help, announced her very first race, a qualifier at Shenandoah Downs.
“For a first effort from an 8-year-old I thought it was unbelievable,” Huston said this week.
Huston, who was a guest announcer at Shenandoah Downs this past weekend, was introduced to Marston by longtime trainer Betsy Brown. For roughly 20 years Brown has been training horses for owner Terry Kibler, who has a farm in Woodstock. Young Marston is Kibler’s cousin and has shown a strong interest in horses for years.
“Morgan comes after school every day to help with the horses,” Brown said. “She is very hands-on. She jogs and trains on my lap.”
Marston was eager to meet the legendary Huston and jumped at the chance to call a qualifier under his guidance. She showed up at the track Saturday with the qualifying list in hand.
Huston gave her some initial pointers, advising her to say “they’re off and racing” because it was a mixed field of trotters and pacers, and handed her the microphone.
Marston was nervous, and Huston fed her the horses’ names throughout the race. She announced the entire mile, however, even throwing in some phrases of her own toward the end.
What impressed Huston the most was the fact that the echo of the P.A. system didn’t faze Marston.
“I’ve never met anybody that didn’t have problems hearing themselves on the P.A. system,” he said. “They get that echo effect. Most people will hear themselves and stop talking. She went right on.”
Huston says Marston is probably the world’s youngest race caller. Prior to her, the youngest person he helped was 14. And that person went on to become announcer at The Meadowlands.
“Sam McKee started writing me letters when he was nine,” Huston said.
He met him in 1976 and helped him call some qualifiers at The Meadows before connecting him with an announcing job at a fair.
“The rest of his career is history,” Huston said.
He strongly believes that adults should encourage and support young people who want their help.
“You never do anything to put a road block up for them,” he said. “You help them as much as you can. You never know who you’re talking to — it could be the next John Campbell or Tony Alagna.”
As for Marston, Huston says she could have a bright future as an announcer. He’s looking forward to seeing her progress when racing returns to Shenandoah Downs next fall.
“There’s no question in my mind she could be an announcer,” he said