RTCA Celebrates 40 Years

Race Track Chaplaincy Association celebrates milestone.

March 21, 2012

“I have been coming to these meetings for 17 years,” said Lone Star Park chaplain Sam Ed Spence, “and this is definitely the best one yet.”

Some 75 chaplains, volunteers, and guests participated in the annual Chaplaincy School and the 40th Anniversary celebration, which featured some of RTCA’s founding fathers, including Salty Roberts, Nick Salios, Izzy Vega, Ch. Spence, and others.

Award-winning musical group “Branded,” which has defined the genre of Christian Country, headlined the celebration.

“Forty years is Biblical,” said Ch. John Shumaker. It was forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness before God delivered them across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. Incoming executive director Craig Wiley’s inspirational message was titled, “Entering the Promised Land,” foreshadowing the future of racetrack chaplaincy.

At its annual business meeting, RTCA elected its 2012 board of directors, including president Gary Cartwright, vice president Ch. John Shumaker of Turf Paradise, treasurer David Foley, and secretary Ch. Michael Bingaman of Retama Park, as well as representatives Karen Chavez, Amy Shumaker, Patsy Payne, and Ch. Eddie Meza of Santa Anita.

Organized in 1972, the Race Track Chaplaincy of America endorses 61 chaplains who serve at 68 tracks and training centers nationwide. Its mission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ through teaching, preaching, and ministering to the spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and educational needs of those persons involved in all aspects of the horse racing industry.

To view the photo album of the chaplaincy school and 40th anniversary celebration, go to RTCA’s Facebook page.

And read Claire Novak’s feature story, “Salty Roberts: An unlikely founder,” at espn.com.