Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop as a Child (Photo: City of Charles Town)

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The first black woman to become a licensed horse trainer was born in Charles Town in 1920.
Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop had a pony as a little girl, according to her daughter, LaVerne Bishop.  Her love for horses was sealed when a family visiting from New York took her to the racetrack in town:

LaVerne talked about her mother’s kindness to others, remembering how she would often make a big pot of food and share it with anyone who came by.  She also remembered her mother’s dedication to the horses under her care:

She said her mother faced some hardships being a woman of color in a field dominated by men:

Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop was in her 30s when the state of West Virginia issued her an official license to train racehorses.  Bishop said her mother worked at a Doubleday publishing factory for a time to make ends meet but returned to training when she could. The horses she trained won dozens of races.
 Her daughter says Sylvia trained as long as her health allowed her to. She passed away in 2004.
On Friday, April 12th, the Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop Memorial Sign will be unveiled in a ceremony in the 100 block of North Charles Street in downtown Charles Town.
The ceremony, hosted by the city of Charles Town and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is set for 4:30 and will feature the
 Wainwright Baptist Choir, “young Sylvia” on her pony, Pastor Richard Rideoutt, Mayor Robert Trainor, and LaVerne Bishop.
Bishop says there’s a family connection to the young lady who’ll be portraying young Sylvia:

The Panhandle News Network’s Luke Wiggs contributed to this story.