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Humboldt horsemen remember Roger Sturtz with memorial race
Thursday, July 27, 2017 - from the Iowa Harness Horse Association

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Humboldt, IA --- This past Tuesday (July 25) evening's harness racing meet kicked off the Humboldt County Fair, where two divisions of Free For All Trotters competed for the Roger Sturtz Memorial.

“This is a fun way for us to honor our good friend Roger Sturtz,” said Mark Holtan, local horseman and Vice President of the Iowa Harness Horse Association, to the Tuesday night crowd.

IHHA photo
Scott, Jackie and Cary Sturtz present the winning blanket to the Hauser stable. Broadside Bust won the second division of the Roger Sturtz Memorial. The 4-year-old gelding is leased by Sturtz's son Cary.

Adam Hauser drove and trained the winners of each division. The 4-year-old SOS Lunar Eclipse mare Al Mar Bon Bon won the first division in 2:05.2. Broadside Bust, a 4-year-old Broadway Or Bust gelding, won the second division in 2:07.2.

Roger Sturtz became involved with horse racing in the 1980s. Most of the horses he bought were unbroken yearlings or 2-year-olds that weren't working out for others.

“He liked to own horses,” said his son Cary, who still trains out of Humboldt. “If he thought the price was fair he would buy the horse.”

Sturtz owned horses on his own, and some in partnership with other local horsemen like Adam Hauser.

“I moved here in 2000, and I met Roger in 2001,” said Hauser. “The first horse we bought was right off of the trailer from Nancy and Larry Jenson from the Harrisburg Sale.”

Sturtz's horses competed in Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota, but he raced most of his horses in Iowa. He spent time with his stable every day -- cleaning stalls, watering horses, and timing training miles.

“Harness racing meant everything to him,” said Sturtz's wife Jackie. “This last year he hadn't been feeling that great and he would still get up and the first thing he wanted to do was time Cary as he was going around.”

Sturtz loved keeping track of times and the progress all the horses training at Humboldt were making.

“I never had to carry a stopwatch; he always told me how fast I went every training mile,” said Hauser. “He'd sit in the grandstand for three, four, five hours every afternoon and time everybody -- me, Joel (McDanel) -- everybody that trains here.”

Sturtz was a fixture at the fairgrounds as well as in the community. He owned and ran Sundance Lanes, Humboldt's bowling alley, with his wife Jackie and three sons -- Scott, Cary, and Shawn -- since 1983.

“Right away we had horses together and he had to get me to the bowling alley. Then he made me buy shoes, then buy a ball and then I was bowling in a league twice a week,” said Hauser who still tries to bowl weekly. “He was trying to teach me to be a professional bowler, but I was better at driving horses.”

Sturtz passed away last December. The memorial race was important to both his family and local horsemen.

“They've been a big part of the Humboldt County Fair and the race program,” Holtan said of the Sturtzs. “We miss Roger.”

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