Out of retirement, jockey on top

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Farm Forum

Don Proctor has not jockeyed for the past four years, but you wouldn’t know it by his recent performances at the Brown County Fairgrounds.

Proctor won a career-high six races on May 11 at Northeast Area Horse Races at the Brown County Fairgrounds. Proctor’s career-high for wins in one race day prior to May 11 was five.

“It is unbelievable,” Proctor said about his wins on May 11. “You could ride maybe your whole life and not have a day like that. It was fantastic.”

Proctor won the first three races of the day. He then won the fifth race and then the last two races.

“I don’t know,” he added. “I just got on the best horses that day, I guess.”

Proctor followed up his six win day with five wins on May 17, which was his 46th birthday.

He began jockeying horses in the early 1990s. Proctor retired in 2010 after a bad accident at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. He broke his back and damaged his shoulders during the accident.

“I have been in lots,” he said about accidents on the race track, “but that one hurt me the worst of all.”

Proctor lives in Dickinson, N.D., where he works on the oil fields. He helped horse trainer Bob Johnson of Lemmon during the winter. Proctor told Johnson if he needed a jockey to let him know.

“I told him if you get in a jam call me and I will see if I can come help you,” Proctor said. “Then all of a sudden it turned out to be almost riding full time again.”

Proctor didn’t appear to miss a beat. He won five races during the opening day at the races in Fort Pierre last month.

“It was kind of like riding a bike,” he said. “It all came back. Just like I had never missed a day.”

Proctor grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. He began jockeying horses after high school. He has raced horses in such places as Australia, Canada, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington.

His family travels with him during the horse racing season. His wife’s name is Melissa and they have a 15-year-old daughter MaKenna and a set of six-year-old twins Hailey and Tucker.

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