The event was named in honor of two fallen heroes, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarret Yoder. Both served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and lost their lives in a helicopter crash in April, 2013.
Horseman Grant Boudreaux served in the same unit and helped to create the memorial race in May of 2013, when he and his unit were still serving overseas.
The top pacing race of the day was named in honor of Ruffner, Yoder and the 1st of the 104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In all, 20 members of the unit and their families were in attendance, along with several other veterans from the area. They enjoyed sulky rides around the track between races, and four members of the unit, including the battalion commander, took part in a match race, joined by four of The Meadows’ top drivers in two-seat jog carts.
The Ruffner/Yoder Pace itself was won by Atta Boy Dan in a track record time of 1:49.2. Following the race, many trainers and drivers came to the winners circle to be part of the photo and greet the veterans.
“It was an outstanding day,” said Boudreaux. “Most of these guys had never been around a horse, so to get to do the jog cart rides and participate in a match race, that was just wonderful. It was just a great day and we are all thankful to the MSOA for putting on such an outstanding program for us.”