Press Releases

New Officers and Upgraded Training at

2005 RTCA Annual Meeting and Chaplains’ School

Race Track Chaplaincy of America elected two new officers, and chaplains’ learned Crisis Intervention as first responders at the organization’s 5-day Annual Meeting and Chaplains’ School, which ended in Houston Monday evening March 27th.

On Sunday evening, Amy Bondon Peltz and Mike Buffington were elected the Regional Managers’ Representative and Council Presidents’ Representative to the Executive Committee, respectively. Peltz is an Ocala, Florida based Thoroughbred sales agent. Buffington, who lives in the Dallas area, owns and races horses, primarily at nearby Lone Star Park.

Peltz replaces Phyllis Bunch, who was elected Director Emeritus and Buffington replaces Don K. Dean. The two join President Edward Smith, Vice President, Elliott Walden, Secretary, Chaplain Sam Ed Spence and Industry Representative, Pat Day as Executive Committee members. 

Chaplains attended a three-day Chaplains School that featured training on Crisis Management by Gene Grounds, head of the Richardson, Texas based Victim Relief Ministries, which provides crisis responders to national disasters. RTCA President, Edward Smith said the training will not only better equip Chaplains to aid track workers following natural disasters, but help chaplains provide more efficient aid during track related crisis.
“Our chaplains are on the firing line during times of stress caused by a wide variety of events,” said Smith. “We strongly feel their qualifications are directly related to their ability to aid every facet of the racing family.”

RTCA Executive Director, Dr. Enrique Torres emphasized the organization’s evangelical thrust and expansion plans in his report made during Monday’s Business Meeting. During 2005, new RTCA outreach ministries have been established in Chile, Argentina and Canada as well as Louisiana’s Evangeline Downs, New Mexico’s Zia Park and in recent weeks, Hawthorne Park, in Cicero Illinois.   

“It’s our vision to have a qualified Christian chaplain serving every track around the world,” said Dr. Torres who along with Smith, last year visited tracks in South America, Canada, Puerto Rica, Jamaica, England, Ireland and France.

Retired rider Pat Day spoke during Sunday’s Worship Service at Sam Houston Race Park and Anne Campbell of Dogwood Stable was the featured speaker at Monday’s closing banquet at the Sofitel Hotel.

Among the 150 attendees were Dr. Karin Sowada and Bill Alexon. Dr. Sowada, an archeologists from Kensington, Australia, chairs the Australian Christian Chaplaincy, Inc., a group founded following a 2000 visit to Sydney by RTCA founder, H.R. “Salty” Roberts. Dr. Sowada said the group has three volunteer chaplains and is preparing to hire its first full-time chaplain. Alexon founded Sportspower International, which has placed a chapel program and volunteer chaplain with every National Basketball Association team. 

New Regional Directors include Annette Bacola, a Lexington, Ky. horse owner and breeder, William Gotwals, whose family own Brook Ledge Horse Transportation, Frank Lamb, a Wyoming based industry regulator, Bill Neal Millions, a Kentucky-based trainer, Ben Hudson, owner of the quarter horse publication, Track Magazine, former jockey Remi Gunn, John Payne of Oklahoma City and former chaplain John Partridge.

Among denominational leaders on hand were Rev. Dr. George Langhorne of the American Baptist, Chaplain Alvin Worthley of the Assemblies of God, Dr. Will Ghere of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship representative Dr. Bo Prosser.

For more information contact RTCA Development Director Ed Donnally