GREAT FALLS - Horse racing enthusiasts in Great Falls are gearing up for another season in one of the few racetracks left in Montana.
“I mean we've had injuries, we've had some tumbles and jockeys being hurt and things over the past years, and I think that's just part of the racing situation is and the sport of it,” explains Sparky Kottke, President of Great Falls Turf Club.
Despite minor injuries from the sport, the Great Falls Turf Club hasn't seen a situation that would cause them to re-evaluate the rules. Nationally, horse racing enthusiasts have been shocked and forced to reevaluate safety after several horses died at a track in California.
“We have never lost a horse on the track, I don't believe,” says Kottke.
The reason for their clean record is something most might overlook when it comes to horse racing.
“We try as hard as we can to keep our track in good shape and I think that's the key and most of the horseman and the trainers and the jockey's have come here, do like the track and they are happy with our facility,” Kottke said.
With the newly finished track and fresh dirt, the Great Falls Turf Club says this year, they're not only anticipating a great season, but a safe one as well.
“You know, we spend a lot of time on the track and at no expense to keep the track in good shape,” says Kottke.
Looking forward, the Great Falls Turf Club expects the sport to continue growing across the city as more people come to enjoy the sport.
State Fair Race Meets are scheduled for July 20-21 and July 26-28 this year.
If you’re interested in volunteering over the summer, contact the Great Falls Turf Club at: (406)-727-4249.