Saturday, April 17, 2010

Block House Steeplechase

Today Erik and I joined some friends for the Block House Steeplechase in Tryon, NC. I had a pretty stressful week so this was the perfect getaway. We had never been before but our good friends, Marisa and Kent, invited us to join them so we decided to go. After all, everyone loves a good horse race! 

We didn't really know what to expect. It was very similar to Carolina Cup but a little more casual. Some ladies wore the typical "cup attire." I saw lots of bright sundresses, floral patterns, Lilly Pulitzer designs, wide-brim hats, and pearls. And some men  flaunted their frat-tastic attire, pastel oxfords and polos, seersucker pants, and bright bow-ties. Others wore jeans and cutoff t-shirts. I even saw the occasional pair of jorts. It was rather amusing but I missed all of the southern preppy attire and fashion that you see at Carolina Cup. 

We had a hard time finding the entrance for the steeplechase. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere. But after a few wrong turns we finally found it. Buying tickets for the event is a little unusual. When you buy a “ticket”, you are actually purchasing an assigned parking place for your car.  Every person in the vehicle is included at that price. So my advice is to get a pickup truck and stuff as many people as you can in the back of it! There are no additional charges per person, only a charge for the parking place itself.  So you might as well get as many people in each car as possible. Unfortunately Erik and I had to come a few hours after the rest of the crew so we didn't have an assigned spot. If I don’t have a pre-purchased parking space the only parking available on race day is in an off course, non-viewing area called “Reserved Pasture Parking (RPP)”.  It is a general admission lot with a first come, first serve basis. Spaces sell for $60. Erik and I ended up taking that route! 

The gates open at 10 a.m. for admission to the grounds.  Pre-race activities start at 11 a.m. with the beginning of the judging for the Tailgate Competition.  The Hat Contest starts around 11:30 in front of the judge’s tower.  I forgot my big hat in Nashville! But next year I am going to have to make sure to remember it and maybe I will even decorate one and enter it in the contest! Then between 12:00 and 1:00 you can watch the “Parade of the Hounds”, the Carolina Carriage Club, and exhibition by the Tuckaway Farm Paso Fino Training Center. 

One of the best parts about the best parts of a steeplechase is the tailgate. With a good tailgate comes lots of yummy beverages and snacks. We had a ton of amazing food at our tailgate. We had the typical Chick-fil-a platter, Pimento cheese and crackers, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad, chips, cupcakes, and cookies. But if you don't bring your own food, you can still enjoy excellent barbeque from the vendors at the track.  Lindsey’s BBQ is located at the base of the tower by the sponsor’s area on the infield.

 Make sure that you have everything you need upon entering the gates as we have a “1 entrance, 1 exit” policy.  Your parking pass will be pulled if you leave early.

Throughout the day there are four races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association and 1 or 2 Amateur races depending on the number of entries. I normally like to bet on a few races but I got distracted with corn-hole and throwing the football and never made it down to watch a single horse race! I have a great method of betting, I pick the horse with the cutest name or my lucky number. It worked wonders for me at Churchill Downs, I am kind of sad that I didn't get the chance to try my luck. But overall, the event was a success and we had a blast! 
Kent and Marisa! Aren't they cute!? 
Enjoying the beautiful weather! 

Here are some photos I took throughout the day: 

I love this bow-tie. If anyone knows the designer, please leave a comment. I think it is darling! 

The very springy purple polo from Southern Tide. 
Custom Palmetto tree Vineyard Vines tie from Dumas and Sons in Charleston, SC.

Southern Tide khakis. (Don't worry, these are Erik's pants. I didn't take a photo of some random guys butt! haha) 
I thought this hat was hilarious! The poor horse looks deceased. 
I love corn-hole and have serious skills. I actually kicked Erik's butt and made three holes in a row! 
The ladies were celebrating in the back of a pickup after one of the races. 

We had a wonderful time at the Block House Steeplechase and plan on going again! Maybe next year I will even win some money honey! 

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