A Day at the Steeplechase!
Not far from...
Shaw Air Force Base, Fort Jackson Army Post,
and McEntire Air National Guard Station!

 National Steeplechase Museum
Camden, SC 
As defined by the National Steeplechase Association: Steeplechasing includes all the thrills and speed of horse racing at flat tracks. It mixes in the precision of jumping to creatte a hybrid not unlike hurdle events in track and field where the premium is on speed, but the concern is focused squarely on the jumps.
Originating in Ireland, Steeplechasing evolved from the sport of Fox Hunting. The countryside in Ireland had numerous churches with tall steeples and riders would race using the steeples as landmarks. They were basically racing from steeple to steeple. Today, most Steeplechases in the United States include five to seven races and only Thoroughbreds run on the 2 - 2 1/2 mile tracks with 11-12 jumps.
Camden, SC the self-proclaimed Steeplechaasing Capital of the World, is located just a stones throw from three military bases. Home to the Springdale Race Course, a Thoroughbred racing and training center, Camden hosts the Carolina and Colonial Cup Steeplechase Races.
Held in the Spring, spectators at the Carolina Cup, tend to focus on tailgating, partying, and maybe catching a glimpse of a horse or two. On the other hand, in the Fall, Colonial Cup attendees take delight in watching the World Class horses race while enjoying activities that entertain and engage entire families.
Camden is also home to the National Steeplechase Museum. Located near the race course, it is the only insititution in the United States dedicated solely to the national history and story of steeplechasing.


Above: One of several colorful displays!


Below: A presentation of pictures

provides a visual for the history of the Sport.




We found a small military connection!

If you look closely at the photo below,

you will see that this particular race,

on April 1, 1963 in Laurel, MD

offered a purse sponsored by

The Naval Academy Officers Wives Club!




 A Day at the Steeplechase!
South Carolina is one of only twelve states that offer Steeplechasing. This year, nearby Camden provided military families the perfect opportunity to check out this premier horse event. In honor of Military Familiy Appreciation Month, the 2008 Colonial Cup on November 16 marked the first time that the Springdale Race Course offered discounted tickets to Military members and their families!


Military Family Appreciation Day

at The Colonial Cup!


Friends and families from the 20 Fighter Wing Operations Group at Shaw Air Force Base enjoyed a great day tailgating at this year's Colonial Cup!


With near perfect weather and our flag flying high, the day was spent along the infield rail. In between races and cheering on the horses, we grazed on a spread of food. If there is one thing that we know how to do -- it's how to tailgate!



Six separate races set the stage for the day. From our location, we had a clear view of the Thoroughbreds as they cleared the 4 - 5 ft high jumps.   

The 4th Race of the day was the much coveted 39th Running of the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup Hurdle Stake. It proved to be one of the closest finishes in history. The exciting finish kept us roaring as "Good Night Shirt" (my hubbies pick) beat "Preemptive Strike (my pick) by a nose!


While the equine excitement was the focal point of the day -- the horses weren't the only animals running! Energetic and adorable Jack Russell Terriers tore through their race course. Winning our hearts, they lept three hurdles as they dashed after a fox-like lure.



"Minor" won her first heat of the 10"-12" class. Fitting into the military theme, we found out that she has a golden retriever dog brother named "Major"!


While the Carolina Cup in March tends to focus on tailgating, this November race focuses on the family! Members of the South Carolina Donkey and Mule Association delighted families with wagon rides across the infield. We packed two of their wagons with military families!


Kirby and Donna Ingram with their mules "Festus" and "Chester". They have been offering free wagon rides and providing lifelong memories to families at the Colonial Cup for the last 6 years!


Click here to learn more about the SC Donkey and Mule Association.


Click here to learn more about the Steeplechase Races held in Camden, SC.

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