Cradled between beige hills and sparse trees is the Crook County Fairground — home of the Crooked River Round-Up Races
“Once a year you sit down and you say, ‘It’s not necessarily a memorial anymore, it’s a celebration of who he was,'” said Doug Smith, the Chairman of the Race Committee for the Crooked River Round-Up Races.
A celebration of Eduardo Guiterrez Sosa, a jockey who passed away during the Crooked River Round-Up last year.
“Whenever you see a picture of Eduardo, you see his smile,” said Hector Magallanes, Sosa’s former friend and horse trainer “Even if he was upset, bothered by whatever, he never showed it. Eduardo was not only a very close friend off the race track. He was a phenomenal dad.”
“He always tried really hard to run a good race,” Smith said “If you look at those things, that’s Eduardo, that’s what we want to remember.”
Remember and celebrate on Friday for the first annual Eduardo Gutierrez Sosa Memorial Races, a title those who knew Sosa, hold dear.
“Seeing that race every year, it’s going to be close to our heart really, I mean his name alone,” Magallanes said.
A race between older fillies and mares with jockeys determined to display their best.
“Just for the riding community, they’re all going to try to win it,” Magallanes said “Just the meaning of it, his meaning, really.”
A community that raised over $42,000 in the wake of tragedy.
“And that money went to his family to help take care of his three kids,” Smith said.
“It honestly gave me the chills, listening to Deno when he was announcing it,” Magallanes said “It puts a knot in your throat.”
Beyond raising money for the family this year, the Round-Up is asking attendees for one more thing.
Wear some pink.
“Pink was Eduardo’s favorite color,” Smith said “You’ll see the board of directors all decked out in pink and celebrating.”
Celebrating, once again, the sight of fleeting horses and the memories of a jockey and his smile.
“Whenever we see that race, it’s going to be a reminder,” Magallanes said “We’ll never really forget him.”
Gates open Friday at 5:30 p.m. The race starts at 7:15 p.m.
From July 2021: Here’s how the community responded in the aftermath of the tragedy.