Ballarat harness racing industry identity Paul James has received the sport's biggest individual honour in Victoria - the Gordon Rothacker Medal.
Harness Racing Victoria announced James as a joint recipient on Sunday night in recognition of his contribution spanning four decades.
Bendigo veteran horseman Keith Pratt also received the accolade.
James spent 37 years from 1981 as a BDTC committee, including 10 years as president from 2000.
He also served as Trots Clubs Victoria chairman from 2011 to 2018, having been a key player in the establishment of the organisation.
TCV is the representative body for country harness racing clubs in the state
He has also served on the industry's development fund and advisory committees.
James is a BDTC life member and one of two club "legends". He has also had interests as a breeder and owner.
The Rothacker Medal is James' second major industry award in three years.
James received the distinguished service medal at the gala night in 2018.
James said the honour had certainly caught him off guard, with it being the last thing he expected.
He said he was extremely appreciative of the support he had had over the years from family and industry participants at all levels.
He is the first Ballarat person on the award's honour roll, although 2017 medallist Jim O'Sullivan spent time living and training in the city.
The awards night also recognised the leading trainers, drivers and horses from the extended 2019-20 season, with the Ballarat stables of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, and Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon figuring prominently.
The Rothacker Medal night was to have been held at the Crown Palladium, but owing to the COVID-19 lockdown the event was telecast without an audience.
HRV named two Gordon Rothacker Medal winners to make up for missing out last year because of COVID-19.