Last summer during devastating wildfires in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, drivers from both the Bob Hubbard Horse Transportation company and KC Horse Transport banded together to save the lives of more than 200 horses. For their efforts and collaboration, the two vanning outfits were named co-winners of the 2016 White Horse Award from the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.
The award was presented Nov. 3 in Arcadia, Calif., on the eve of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Doing the right thing can have its privileges.
“The race track chaplaincy is all about serving horse racing and for this event we put the emphasis on recognizing the heroes,” said RTCA executive director Dan Waits prior to the 14th annual luncheon. “When you have two companies who saw this problem and knew these horses were in danger, they basically put all of their competition aside and differences aside and banded together and got the refugees out of harm’s way.”
Typically rivals, business was cast aside by the crews of Hubbard and KC when more than 4,000 acres were torched in two separate fires and it came time to rescue horses in peril. In all, seven vans were put to use to transport horses to safety. Most of the horses were shipped to the nearby Pomona fairgrounds to barns run by the Barretts sales company and a few found shelter at Santa Anita Park.
“When it happened some of our guys came back early from vacation,” said Kerrie Cargill Sahadi of KC Horse Transport. “One gentleman works for a feed company and they let him take time off to come help us and go back to his feed job afterward. Some guys had just come back from a drive back East, and said ‘Sure, I’ll go rescue horses.’ They were sleeping in the truck at night in case they got evacuated. It was a group effort all around.”
Sahadi’s grandfather was Dell Cargill, a jockey back in the ’40s and ‘50s and her father founded Cargill Horse Transportation. She struck out on her own in 2000.
Pat Hubbard, wife of the late Bob Hubbard, was overwhelmed by being named the White Horse recipient.
“It’s phenomenal … especially for my employees that have been so dedicated for so many years,” she said. “To get an award like this is tremendous."
Hubbard said her outfit comprises 48 employees that use 20-some odd trucks.
“My husband started this company many years ago with a two-horse trailer,” she said. “He believed very strongly in the industry and set standards that we still follow today.
“It means the world for us to be able to step out from the ordinary and step into where animals need help and be able to get there on time and get them out. And to be mentioned for it means a lot.”
Sahadi brought a handful of her drivers to the luncheon.
“I wanted to make sure to bring my drivers,” she said. “It’s easy for me to sit in the office but they are out there.”
Other RTCA awards went to E.W. “Buddy” Johnson and William Gotwals, however it was the White Horse award that was front and center.
“One of the tenets of Christendom is putting aside what is best for us and look at what is best for everybody,” said Waits. “In today’s world when you see the competition and difference … it’s great to see two competitors get together and say look, ‘Let’s do the right thing.’ ”