A native of Xenia, Ohio, Charlie Hinkle began his announcing career at Ohio county fairs in the 1940s, including Ohio’s first harness meet under the lights at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy, Ohio in 1947.
Hinkle was the announcer for the Little Brown Jug, the Hambletonian and the Kentucky Futurity in the 1950s and early 1960s, as well as for Grand Circuit meets at Sedalia, Indianapolis, The Red Mile, Goshen, Springfield and Delaware, Ohio. He also called races at numerous county fairs in Ohio and was the regular announcer for extended pari-mutuel meets at Hazel Park Raceway, the old Grandview Raceway in Cleveland, The Meadows, Hollywood Park, Los Alamitos, Cal Expo, Seminole and Maywood. Hinkle called the Kentucky Derby Trial on the CBS radio network.
Hinkle’s animated style of announcing served as inspiration for Communicators Hall of Famer Roger Huston, who eventually served in two of the most prestigious positions Hinkle had held – as announcer at the Delaware, Ohio, County Fair and at The Meadows racetrack. “For harness racing, he was the greatest announcer ever,” said Huston of Hinkle.
Hinkle’s love of creating drama at the track was never better exemplified than in the 1970s, when he decided to do a make-believe call of a race at The Meadows when fog had forced a delay in the action. There were no horses on the track, yet fans believed Hinkle’s call and went to the pari-mutuel windows to cash their tickets. A riot almost ensued as security personnel tried to explain that there were no horses on the track racing.
In addition to his work in horse racing, Hinkle was the announcer for the University of Dayton basketball and football teams on Ohio’s WHIO radio and in later years, while working at The Meadows, served in the same role for the Duquesne University basketball team. He also worked on the National Invitational Basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York during that tournament’s glory days.
Charlie Hinkle passed away Friday, October 20, 2000 in Orlando, Florida.