ST. PETERSBURG — After decades of giving mightily to the greyhound racing industry, Vey Weaver is getting something in return.
Weaver, Derby Lane president and chairman of the board, will be inducted Thursday to the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene, Kan.
"I think (Weaver) will be very honored that people thought enough of him to put him in," said Cal Holland, Derby Lane kennel owner and president of the Tampa Bay Greyhound Association. "Without Vey, I don't know if (the Hall of Fame) would have continued."
Weaver will become the eighth family member to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The list includes his father Arthur Weaver, great-grandfather and track founder T.L. Weaver, A.D. Weaver, A.V. (Tubby) Weaver, Otto Weaver, John Brooks and Joyce Brooks.
Vey Weaver, 60, a Tampa resident and University of South Florida graduate, is on vacation with his wife Karen and was not available for comment.
He will be joined in this year's Hall of Fame class by dog man Jack Sherck and greyhound Ea's Itzaboy.
Sherck and Weaver were instrumental in bringing two editions of the Derby Lane Million to the family-owned track in 2006-07, a race that paid $500,000 to each winner. Ea's Itzaboy was a three-time All-America standout from 2002-04.
"Vey always wanted to keep his father's image with the greyhound people," Holland said. "Anytime you really needed some help or if we needed to talk to him, he was always there and the track tried to straighten things out."
Weaver's dedication to the Hall of Fame is unparalleled. He served two terms on the board (1983-92 and 1997-2010), leaving as president. Holland was a board member in Weaver's first term.
"Vey did a great job," Holland said. "We were really short on money, because many racetracks pulled out and never supported (the Hall of Fame). We were grabbing for every dollar we could get to keep it open in the '90s."
Weaver was responsible for the Hall of Fame reducing its debt and creating a cash reserve. He fueled the formation of the Hall of Fame Club that boosted financial support, and promoted club membership. Museum exhibits were expanded, the meeting room was altered to double as a greyhound gallery, and exhibit galleries were renovated for the first time.
"Vey got the Hall of Fame out of the red," said retired Derby Lane kennel owner Charles Marriott, a Hall of Fame member who worked with Weaver on the board.
Weaver has been active in the sport most of his life, starting at 15 as a Derby Lane leadout.
Derby Lane vice president Richard Winning, Weaver's cousin, said, "Vey spent a lot of years promoting and managing the Greyhound Hall of Fame. All of us are really proud that another member is being recognized and honored from the Derby Lane family."
COLUMBUS DAY: Derby Lane will offer a matinee performance Monday with no night racing.