Generous community raise more than $40,000 for family of fallen jockey
The Prineville community has once again rallied around a family when they were at their darkest hour and in need of support.
Tragedy struck the opening night of the Crooked River Roundup Race Meet on July 14. A jockey, 29-year-old Eduardo Gutierrez Sosa, was midway through the 250-yard race when he was thrown from his horse near the infield railing.
Sosa fell off the horse, hitting head-first against the railing then against the ground. He died from injuries sustained during the fall. Sosa left behind his girlfriend and three children.
Race Director Doug Smith soon announced over the PA system that the jockey had passed and that the rest of the night's racing would be canceled out of respect for the fallen jockey. The opening night held a capacity crowd, which was visibly upset by the announcement. A noticeably upset Smith told the audience that he and other members of the Roundup board were heartbroken.
Smith added that it was the first time in his 40-plus years with the races that a jockey had died.
Following the incident, during the next few nights of the Crooked River Roundup Race Meet, donations began pouring in. Donation jars were set up at the entries and at the betting areas.
"I know from my communications, the family is very, very appreciative of what's happened," noted Smith.
Smith indicated that the local funds raised in Prineville totaled more than $40,000. He said another $20,000 was raised in a Go Fund Me account.
"The generosity and the caring that you found just couldn't be matched."
Smith went on to say, "Coming out of it, I realized you can't make anything right — it will never be right, but we can try to make it better."
He added that the horsemen he has talked to have said that the reaction may not have had the outcome it did in Prineville if it happened elsewhere.
"What we did, the horsemen consider special," added Smith. "You can't be anything but impressed with how the community reacted. It was just mindboggling to witness what this community did, and how their hearts opened up and tried to help Rosa Rodriquez (Sosa's significant other) and their three kids."
Smith indicated that the money raised was not just from Prineville, it was from race fans from across Central Oregon and it was all unsolicited. The Go Fund Me account is still taking donations.
"My phone has rung off the hook from horsemen, and everybody is absolutely appreciative of what the Prineville and Central Oregon community did as far as a reaction to the terrible accident that happened Wednesday night," concluded Smith.
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