BLACKFOOT – When tragedy strikes and sorrow fills the heart, the burden of grief can be lightened somewhat by acts of kindness and generosity.
That was the case with Riverside residents Kash and Tammy Evans after their only daughter, Micki Lee, was killed this summer in a motor vehicle accident.
The couple are racehorse owners, and last weekend when they went to Wyoming Downs in Evanston to run their horses, they learned how compassionate and caring people can be.
Track owner Eric Nelson and his staff had organized a memorial for their daughter that included opening a savings account for Micki’s children, Harli, 13, Sam, 11, and Marylynn, 9, at US Bank, and putting all of the proceeds from Saturday’s gate into it.
In addition, they had a photo of Micki on horseback blown up and mounted on a 4-foot by 36-inch board for the couple and the children, a pillow imposed with a photograph of the children with their mother for each of them, and for Tammy and Kash, a beautiful quilt.
“We were overwhelmed,” Tammy said. “Eric asked us after the funeral if it was okay if they did some kind of memorial for Micki, but we never expected anything like this. The proceeds from ticket sales that day came to $10,000, and there were donations from the racing fans and some of the other horse owners and trainers so they banked over $14,000 for the kids. People who didn’t even know us except for our horses donated money, and we’re grateful to them all.”
In addition, she said, Aug. 17 was Native American Day at Wyoming Downs, and the Spring Creek Singers from Fort Hall came and sang an honor song for Micki, for military veterans and for Native Americans, while Micki’s uncle Alonzo Coby led the horse parade in her honor. Some 60 family and friends of the Evans family made the trip to Evanston for the memorial.
Tammy said a lot of work went into planning and carrying out the event by the track’s general manager Frank Lamb, public relations director Judy Horton, and operations manager Chelsi Foley. “We can’t begin to tell them how grateful we are,” the couple said.
Kash has been running Thoroughbreds, both his own and those he trains, at the track since it reopened six years ago, and this year started training for Nelson. An unexpected bonus for the weekend was that two of his own horses won stakes races. Mr. Shakey won on Saturday while Olimpio Scat Cat won the final race, the Au Revoir on Sunday to end the season for the track, and another of his horses placed fourth in the race.
Kash will be racing some of his horses at the Eastern Idaho State Fair, with his favorite jockey Nadia Ramirez up.