Saturday, July 9, 2011

Good bye Rossco!

Boyd is home from Australia and wrote this tribute to his late father, Ross Martin:

As you have heard, my father Ross Martin passed away last Saturday afternoon in the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. A week earlier, he was in a bike road race where he had a collision with a truck, breaking the C3 and C4 vertebrae in his neck, leaving him paralyzed from his chin down.

I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to fly home and be with him for his final two days. He was happy to see me, told me that this 'was no big deal', and 'such is life mate' before dying in his sleep.

My Dad had an amazing life. He was born in Bega hospital in 1943, son of a school teacher. At the age of 4 his mother disappeared, never to be seen again. Dad's grandmother looked after him and his two sisters. Dad never attended school until the the 4th grade; by the 6th grade he had won a scholarship at the exclusive Sydney Grammar School.

After finishing high school, he decided to ride his bicycle 400 miles to get a job as a farm hand with sheep and cattle in Cooma. His boss, Bruce Haslingden, was one of Australia's first ever winter Olympians. He saw talent and work ethic in my dad, and encouraged him to start seriously Cross Country Ski racing.

In 1968, Dad represented Australia in the Olympics in the 15 km and the 30 km cross country races in Grenoble, France. He met my mother there, where she was representing the US in the 3000 metre speed skating race.

He married Toy in 1971 in Sydney, had Brook in 1977, and me in 1979.

He was a great father to his kids. Our family holidays included hiking trips to the base camp of Mt. Everest and 1000 km bike rides across Outback Australia. To the end he stayed a true competitive athlete, competing in ocean swim races, cycle racing and multi-day mountain bike trips.

It was unlikely that he was ever going to retire to an old age nursing home. He was a workaholic, loved his dog Cathy, and hated buldgers (anyone that did not work hard). He was a classless man who had friends from all walks of life. He was generous to a fault, but hated to be thanked.

I must say he was very proud of my eventing career. He encouraged me to stay away from university and instead chase my true passion of training horses. He was very supportive of my move to the US, and my change of nationality. It was a great feeling riding in front of him at the WEG last year.

He had a wonderful sense of humor and made many friends in the American eventing community. I was lucky that he came to the Fork Horse Trials this year. He had a great time as he watched me ride and enjoyed a few beers with the riders in the tent on Saturday night.

He was buried in a paddock next to Bruce Haslingden, overlooking the Snowy Mountains where he worked as a jackaroo as a young man in Cooma. I will miss him greatly, and truly believe his life has been so much a part of my success.



  1. What an amazing man and what a wonderful tribute. So sorry for your loss - Australia's loss too.

  2. An amazing tribute to a beautiful genuine man - thoughts are with his family and may his memory live on

  3. it is obvious the best of your father lives in you. A beautiful tribute, thank you for sharing something so deeply personal and touching, with your friends and community. Stay the course, you've had a rough summer, but no doubt, you'll rise like a Phoenix.

  4. Boyd, that was wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. Lots of love from everyone in Whistler. Liv.

  5. Wow Boyd, you are certainly copping it all at the one time, hope things look up & improve tremendously from now on.

  6. Lovely tribute, sounds like the world was a better place having had him in it.

  7. Thank you for sharing, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I'm glad I got a chance to meet him, albeit briefly--he was lovely and charming and he is absolutely a man gone too soon.

  8. Amazing tribute Boyd. You have had mountains to climb but it is clear that you are using them as bridges rather than barriers. Onward, upward, over...God bless you.

  9. This is just so heartbreaking. What an amazing man.

  10. peaceful rest roscoe, much respect

  11. Daisy DarlingtonJuly 11, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Deepest sympathies to you and the rest of your family. How fortunate you were to have such a terrific father! He sounded like a fabulous character -- the kind the planet needs more of, not less.

    I will continue to follow your superb equestrian career with great interest!

  12. What a lovely tribute to a inspiring human being. How lucky you are to have had a Dad like that. God Bless your Family and blessing to you all for the road ahead.

  13. Lovely tribute , what gold he must have given to your heart and soul .