July 16th, 2024

Rocky Mountain Turf Club hosts annual Jason Goodstriker memorial race

By Lethbridge Herald on September 26, 2023.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward This handmade horse blanket went to a winner of the Jason Goodstriker Memorial Race Championship.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Rocky Mountain Turf Club hosted the third annual Spirit of the Horse Jason Goodstriker Memorial Championship Warrior Relay Races over the weekend.

“We’re pretty excited and there’s 16 teams entered for this year,” said Jason’s father Wilton Goodstriker.

“We would’ve had more. But because we’re racing during the regular race meet here at Rocky Mountain Turf, we were struggling for stable space and they could only afford to let us have 16 teams for stalls. Otherwise we would’ve had over 50 entries and a lot of interest in this particular race here.”

Goodstriker was known as a sociologist, a leader, friend to many, a spiritual person and a member of one of the warrior societies in his home community.

He was a Blood Tribe Councillor and a former Alberta Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations.

He grew up on a ranch, loved horses and spoke about one day owning a relay race team.

Goodstriker passed away in January 2020.

“After we lost Jay, we wanted to honour him in a real special way,” said Wilton.

This was the third race of a four year commitment to the track for the memorial race.

“This is our third year and next year’s going to be a big one,” said Wilton.

Wilton says over $100,000 goes into the Relay Race competitions.

Jason’s brother in society, Billy Wadsworth, who is the lead singer for Bullhorn Drum group, was in attendance to sing Jason’s song.

Wadsworth was on the ceremonial  hunt when Jason got the buffalo that was included on the hoodies.

There were other significant friends in attendance as well.

Blackfeet Tribe’s James and Marie McNeely from Montana donated three blankets for each of the winning team’s horses.

The custom-designed blankets went made by Jaunita Cole Crasco of the Fort Belnap reservation in Montana.

Rose Rossi of RMTC donated a personalized bronze and belt buckles to the winner of the event and relay race winners received personalized hoodies, which were designed by Wilton’s daughter Nadine Tailfeathers.

Warrior Relay Races involve teams of three horses with a rider, one catcher, an exchange holder and a back holder.

The rider have both feet on the ground while the horse is held by the catcher.

The other teams will wait in a designated box in front of the grandstand.

Once the horns sounds, the horse will do one loop around the track before reaching the designated box where he will dismount and jumps on the teams next horse at the grandstand.

“He’s (RMTC’s CEO Max Gibb) been really, really big in terms of this whole reconciliation movement,” said Wilton.

“And If I was to give Max a name, I would give him the name ‘Mr. Reconciliation.’ He’s done a lot for our people, not only my family, but for Indigenous people here in Canada.”

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