Jack Fires began his riding career at the age of 17 following in the footsteps of his brothers, Hall of Fame jockey Earlie, and William “Jinks” Fires who is a trainer. In 1977 while excising a horse at River Downs during morning training, the horse he was riding broke down and rolled over him. He sustained injuries that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Racing is in his blood, “That’s the way it is with anybody that’s riding, it’s in your blood and you care for it,” Fires said. “Growing up that’s all I ever wanted to be is a jockey.” He attends as many PDJF events as he can to help raise awareness and funds for the organization.

 

Tad Leggett rode for 24 years starting in Broken Bow, Nebraska where he rode his first winner. In 2015 he was inducted into the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame where he was leading Quarter Horse jockey each season from 2003 to 2006. His career ended in 2010 at Fair Meadows in Oklahoma when a two-year-old he was riding collapsed beneath him after the wire crushing his vertebrae in his neck leaving him a quadriplegic and facing a long road to recovery. Leggett continues to work hard in physical therapy and can now walk a short distance with the assistance of a walker. “Sometimes I slow down and I’ve time to search myself,” he said. “I believe a lot of things in my life have changed for the better, I have some bad days but I know I can dwell on the past all I want, and it won’t change anything. I look at it like my life is a book. One chapter is done, and now it’s time to go on to the next.”