RTCA History: An exercise rider named Salty Roberts received the vision to have a Chaplain in each racetrack of the United States of America soon after he surrendered his life to Jesus. “RTCA is dedicated to the fulfillment of this God-given dream.” The evening of December 6, 1969 Salty got in contact with a local minister named A. D. Dawson from the Florida Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist churches to ask him for help to bring the message of hope and salvation that can only be found in Jesus to the workers of the Gulfstream Racetrack in Hallandale, Florida. Mr. Dawson was scheduled to preach at the church that Salty attended the very next morning after their phone conversation.
The Sunday meeting with Salty “let to a Monday morning walk through the stable area, a talk with Gulfstream’s manager, Jack Blair, a visit to security to be photographed, and a badge which identified me as Chaplain of Gulfstream Racetrack.” Their first official meeting was held January 22, 1970. When the racing season was over at Gulfstream Racetrack and the workers went to other areas of the country like New Jersey, Chicago, Maryland, New York and Kentucky the question was raised: “Will they find a ministry for them at these tracks? The answer was, sure they will! “Al Dawson wrote, that summer seminary students were sent by the Southern Baptist Convention Home Mission Board to the Liberty Bell track in Philadelphia” Both Mr. Dawson & Salty made connections with other ministers in other States to make sure that those workers had someone that can minister to them while they were stationed at a particular track.
In February 2, 1972 Mr. Dawson, Sodeman and James Kelly, Dr. Campbell, Richard Bryant and C.R. Bailey met at the Miami Baptist Association’s office to discuss the possibility of a Home Mission Board Pilot Chaplaincy Program in the race tracks of South Florida.
In March 7, 1972 President Dawson, Vice President Salty Roberts, Secretary Ernest Campbell, Treasurer C. R. Bailey and Robert Sawyer gathered amidst extensive praying to make plans to incorporate as a race track ministry. The RTCA’s official charter by the State of Florida became official on April 14, 1972.
Forty two years later the Lord has blessed RTCA with chaplains in racetracks from Michigan to Florida, from New York to California; ministering to the spiritual, emotional, physical, social, & educational needs of those persons involved in all aspects of the horse racing industry.