Q-Racing Blog: A Blessed Future

The Ruidoso chaplaincy is growing.

The Ruidoso chaplaincy is growing.

2001 was a peaceful year until September 11, a date that will forever be engraved in world history. Since that day, the world has changed. It was a terrible day, and the root word for terrible is terror.

Also in 2001, Darrell Winter arrived at Ruidoso Downs and the iconic track was changed. The root word for Darrell Winter is faith. He became the track’s chaplain and was steadfast in his work and ministry.

Winter held his first services in what was what the entry clerk’s room, about 20-feet by 30-feet, to a congregation of eight people.

Every mission has to start somewhere and Winter had his start.

The congregation quickly grew and the following year, Ruidoso Downs gave Winter the attached kitchen area and his ministry has now outgrown that area. Along the way, there were improvements engineered and constructed by Winter and various crews. A Kids Klub was added during the summer season for youngsters of backside workers. Outdoor recreation areas were set up and filled with joyous laughing children of all sizes and colors.

“Now we’ve outgrown that building,” said Winter.

Construction has started on a new chapel that is supported by the new Ruidoso Downs’ owners and other backers. Dirt has started to move on the site near the end of the 550-yard chute at Ruidoso Downs.

The new chapel is out of the track’s backside while the old chapel was in the middle of the barn area. The relocation of the chapel outside of the barn area helps ensure security on the backside. People can attend the chapel and not pass into the backside by driving through the track’s main parking lot. They will not need to pass through security and will not need to have a New Mexico racing license. Everyone is welcome at the chapel and track security is enhanced. Win, win.

The stats for the new chapel provide a peek into what will be a wondrous future. The building is 60-feet by 144-feet. There will be a portico with a prayer room containing a stained-glass window. There will be a Bible study room and a snack area. The core of the chapel is 60-feet by 75-feet and will seat 290 people.

The Kids Klub will be in the back, including a learning center stocked with new computers. There will be a kids Bible study area, a craft room and a snack bar. The covered 40-foot-by-25-foot play area will have a basketball court. There is also a separate playground.

The diverse backside is also ministered during the racing season by the charming husband-wife team of Fabian and Romina Crespo from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is their third consecutive summer at Ruidoso Downs.

That’s a long way from a new chaplain and eight people in a space for entry clerks back in 2001.

It never would have happened without Winter and his unwavering faith and work ethic.

“My time here has been amazing,” said Winter. “It has been one divine opportunity after another virtually every day. What more can you ask?”

Asked about the new chapel, Winter is quick to quote the Bible. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (Psalms 127:1)

“We’ve been so blessed. I know that God is building this for the future,” said Winter.

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