Ron Beback Jr. will be presented with the Good Samaritan Award by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association and Batavia Downs for his heroic actions to save an overturned kayaker from drowning this past summer. The ceremony will take place in the winner’s circle between races during “The Day of Distinction” that will be held on Saturday, December 17. Post time for the first race is 3 p.m.
The incident occurred when Beback was out fishing on August 31 at Horseshoe Lake at the De Witt Recreation area in Batavia, New York. As he was taking his fishing gear to the water, he was approached by a man who was yelling, “She fell out of the kayak!” The man’s friend was an older woman who was unfamiliar with the currents in the lake on a windy day, tipped over and was unable to get back upright.
Beback dashed to his truck to get his kayak, paddled out to the middle of the lake and was able to get the woman back in her kayak before dragging her to the center island where they waited for authorities to come in a boat and get her back to shore. The event was well documented in the local news and Beback was greeted as a hero when he arrived to race at Batavia Downs that night.
Ever humble, Beback didn’t want any notoriety for his heroics and simply said in an interview, “I’m just glad I ended up there that day and was able to help.”
Beback’s actions were representative of the caring and helpful nature harness racing horsemen and women are known for and as such, not only helped bring someone in dire straits to safety, but also put the sport in a very positive light nationally. And UNY-USHWA and Batavia Downs are pleased to present him with this award.
Post Time for the final card of racing on Saturday (Dec.17) was moved from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. to accommodate fans of both harness racing and the Buffalo Bills after the game between them and the Miami Dolphins was flexed to Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. The clubhouse will open their doors at 2:30 p.m. and will offer a prime rib and shrimp buffet that will be served from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Railbar will be open from 2:30 p.m. until the end of the last race, which will be approximately 7 p.m., however it will not remain open for the Bills game.