Page 27 - NM Summer 2023
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                     SUMMER 2023 25
“I knew how he started in the racing industry and where he ended up. How hard work pays off and it’s transferred over to me as well.” – Brian Payne
I couldn’t BS him because he knew every racing position, every job. Harold wasn’t just respected by the horsemen and employees; he was universally respected.”
“He wanted things done perfectly,” said Dix. “If there were issues or criticism, if there were complaints from customers or horsemen, he wanted you to talk to those people and resolve it. He wanted to explain why we were doing things. It was never a case of this is the way it is. On any issue, any problem, he was just a phone call away.”
And Dix knew right away when he had done something wrong.
“He had a way,” said Dix. “When he took his glasses off or said, `shut the door,’ you knew you were in trouble.”’
But Dix also came to realize that his boss didn’t hold grudges.
“He’d get mad, but it was very temporary,” says Dix.
Dix said Harold took a sincere and deep interest in the people he worked with at Sunland Park. It was personal, it was pure, it was family.
“He knew
everyone’s wives
and husbands.
We used to have
manager of the year
and employee of
the year banquets and he appreciated everyone’s families. It wasn’t a
job here; it was a family-oriented environment. We are such a tight knit community here in El Paso and he fit into that aspect perfectly.”
At home, Harold provided advice and support to his son when Brian made the transition from the end of his college years to a career in hospitality management.
“We had those conversations,” says
Brian, who got his undergraduate degree
at the University of Texas and did work on his master’s at UNLV. “I got my act together when I went to UNLV and that really helped put me in the right path career wise ... for the rest of my life.”
“I knew how he started in the racing industry and where he ended up,” said Brian of
his dad. “How hard work pays off and it’s transferred over to me as well.”
At 6-foot-2 and 200-plus pounds, Harold Payne casts an imposing, sometimes stoic figure. But there’s always been a humorous flip side to his persona.
Dix recalls the first time he accompanied Harold to a meeting with the Horsemen’s Association at Sunland. Harold’s advice to his protege: “Be quiet. Just sit there and eat donuts.”
Then there was the time the late Rita Danley, a much-revered breeder, owner and vociferous advocate of horse racing, went up to Harold and sternly announced, “I’ve got a complaint.” To which Harold replied, “Good, I was short one.”
Changing lanes in life is by nature an adventure. Pros and cons are part of the package. And so, it is for Kim and Harold.
Harold now gets to play golf with his son on a frequent basis. The con? The price of a round of golf on Las Vegas’ plush courses can run three or four times more than a round in El Paso.
Frequent dinners and get together with Brian, Cheryl and the granddaughters are a big plus.
Their new home means Harold can
watch his favorite NFL team--the Las Vegas Raiders--in person. The newly crowned NHL champion Vegas Golden Knights are there, and major league baseball’s Oakland Athletics are planning to move there.
Las Vegas has The Strip and has been anointed the sports and entertainment capital of the world. But it can also take six months to get a doctor’s appointment.
Summer heat in Vegas can be brutal and traffic on the city’s main arteries downright scary.
But Everly and Sadie are the ultimate winning hand.
“I love it here and I think the transition was way smoother than I thought it was going to be,” said Kim. “And of course, those kids make everything so much better.”
“You have to have something to get up for and something to look forward to,” said Harold.
Oh, and there’s something else Harold can look forward to very soon.
Third grade math.

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