WALLY HALL: Oaklawn post shaken, not deterred, by ALS
January 16, 2016 - als
HOT SPRINGS — Today starts Bobby Geiger’s 34th deteriorate during Oaklawn, and there will be some-more seasons since of his will, impression and determination.
He’s a executive of gaming, that fundamentally means he’s obliged for each operation, that includes wagering.
He’s done countless friends over a years as he walked strenuously by Oaklawn — customarily smiling, always high and jaunty — with time to revisit those he encounters.
Now, an electric scooter sits outward his bureau doorway and a shaft leans opposite his desk.
“When people see me on that scooter or walking with a cane, they are going to have questions. we usually suspicion it was improved to get it out there so no one will be uncomfortable,” he said.
Bobby is entering his third year of fighting amyotrophic parallel sclerosis, aka ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. He fights a conflict no one has won yet, though there is no sourness or anger. Not even frustration. He talks about clinical investigate and hope, though really quietly.
A deeply devout man, Bobby immediately incited to request when he was told he had ALS.
“I prayed one thing: that it would be a form that progresses slow,” he said. “I wish some-more time with my 9-year-old son [Landon] and my family.
“I used to be a gym rat, attack it 4 times a week and towering biking. Now, we wish all that time with my mother [Dawn] and son and a new 2-year-old we took in from a uneasy situation.”
Until his family, there was mostly Oaklawn.
Bobby and his family changed to Hot Springs Village when he was 12, and he sneaked in to Oaklawn when he was 14.
“Part of a sermon of thoroughfare for kids who went to my youth high,” he said. He knew immediately he wanted to work during a racetrack.
He was 21 when he practical for a pursuit as a sheet seller. The deteriorate was about to start, and John Searcy, a administrator of mutuels, told him he had practical too late. But as Bobby was withdrawal he heard, “Hey Geiger, is your birthday Feb. 4? So’s mine, you’re hired.”
“I got hired since of my birthday,” he pronounced with a laugh.
And a rest was blood, persperate and tears as he worked his approach up.
When General Manager Eric Jackson invented Instant Racing — that positively not usually saved Oaklawn though also has done it one of a vital players in a racer courtesy — he asked Bobby to be partial of his pattern team. The dream grew.
An irony of ALS is that it seems to strike robust people. Before he became a gym rat, Bobby was a jock, personification high propagandize basketball during Jessieville and 3 times winning a high propagandize state tennis doubles with partner Eddie Oats.
These days, Bobby puts all of his appetite into his work and family.
“The kids still design and merit attention,” he said.
Director of Racing David Longinotti pronounced Bobby’s “dedication to charge has never wavered.”
Not prolonged after his diagnosis, Kara Evans of a internal Muscular Dystrophy Association section and Lara Blume of ALS in Wonderland sought out Bobby. Help, bargain and support came with them.
“I’ve truly been sanctified with good support from my family, my church home group, everybody during Oaklawn, and Kara and Lara,” he said.
He was on a phone surpassing this week when this caller appeared. The phone illuminated adult countless times during a interview, and it was apparent Bobby felt he indispensable to margin those calls instead of articulate about himself.
But currently will be tough adequate though a lot of questions.
For now and a evident future, Bobby was really honest.
“My illness is progressing, thankfully slowly, though I’ll know when it is time to step away,” he said.
Until then, he helps keep Oaklawn using and holding caring of his family.
Sports on 01/15/2016