|Oscar Padgett at Columbia Mine|
What do coal miners do when they retire from the coal mining industry?
Each will go their separate ways depending on their plans or interests but one man decided he would move to Salt Lake City and get involved with something his whole family could enjoy together. Oscar Padgett retired from the Columbia Mine in May, 1967.
The Padgett family loved horses so the family got involved in the horse racing business which gave the entire family a job, either training, feeding, caring, acting as race judges or just being enthusiastic supporters of the horse business.
Horse racing in Utah and elsewhere has often been termed the "Sport for Kings", a truly expensive sport that requires a lot of money which the Padgetts didn't have. So they had to supplement hard work and a love for the horses for money and even though they lost many races, they never gave up. They felt that a family that played together and work really hard at what they were doing would finally prevail.
This did happen and they became world champions twice in a row and are shooting for three in a row this year. According to friend Jack Pressett, "These are proud people from Columbia and still play and work together in something they dearly love, horses."
A chariot driver with less than three full years of experience in the sport of chariot racing, now has two world championships to his credit after picking up his second consecutive first division world championship title. Jim Padgett guided his team of American Quarter Horse geldings, Niftyanthrifty and Apologist, to the finish line in just over 22 seconds to claim his second world title during the cutter and chariot racing world championships, which were held in Ogden the final weekend in March of 2003.
"I am really happy," Padgett said following the victory. It was great to win and a lot of hard work went into this and the back-to-back world championship is a great accomplishment for me, but especially for my horses. This is also the second year in a row that my horses were named high-point geldings by the American Quarter Horse Association."
The title was the second in as many years for Padgett Racing, which is a member of the Utah Valley Association in South Jordan. For Padgett, this victory has a little more meaning than last year's win because he felt like he had something to prove. "This year's world championship means even more to me than last year's."
A large gathering of family, friends, and chariot racing fans joined Padgett on the racetrack in Ogden for the presentation of the championship trophy.
"Words can't even describe it, I am just so proud of them right now," said an emotional Louise Padgett, mother of the winning driver. "They worked so hard for one solid year to come back here and get this title."
Jim Padgett, Sr. was born in Dragerton and is the son of Oscar and Nellie Padgett. He lived in East Carbon City until his high school years when the family moved to West Valley City. Jim has been involved in chariot racing and training half-track race horses most of his life. Chariot racing is a family sport, and when his son, Jimmy, started to drive the team in 2002, it was quite a thrill. The World Championship was always the goal to reach for.