Steeplechase honoring J. Kelly Murphy III

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tryon Riding & Hunt Club is pleased to announce that the 68th Block House Steeplechase, being held Saturday, May 3, at FENCE, will be run in honor of Mr. J. Kelly Murphy III. Murphy has been a Block House volunteer for more than 20 years.

OfficialMurphyPhoto-(2)Kelly Murphy grew up without horses in New York City and Philadelphia, but became a foxhunter and steeplechase fan while at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Having been on a Navy scholarship, he spent four years in the service after graduation and then worked at a Philadelphia-area architecture firm before opening his own practice in Chester County.

Murphy’s wife, Annette, was a horse trainer and foxhunter herself, so the couple was active in the sport during their years in Pennsylvania. When they decided to look for a home in the South, access to horses and hunting was a priority.

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They moved to Landrum in 1988, and have since bred and raised Thoroughbreds for racing and other sports on their Keeping Time Farm near the founding Block House race course.

Murphy began volunteering with the steeplechase in the early ’90s thanks to his neighbor, Jarrett Schmid, a longtime horsewoman who was chairman of the Block House for 12 years. Murphy has since served as a patrol judge, amateur race coordinator and officials coordinator, all roles that have benefited from his riding background.

As the officials coordinator, Murphy recruits and organizes all of the local officials required for the Steeplechase, including patrol judges, jump marshals and placing judges.

“It’s turned out to be an easy job because of all the wonderful volunteers who come back year after year,” he says. “We rarely lose one – all I have to do is call them up.”

Murphy is also a member of the Block House Race Committee, which meets throughout the year to review all areas of the event, from hospitality to safety of horses, riders and spectators.

“It takes a lot of people working in many areas to make things go smoothly,” he says. “It’s the nature of sport that you never know exactly what challenges you might face, so we evaluate each year’s event to consider if and how we can do things better.”

Murphy says the committee has been gratified with the reports from the National Steeplechase Association stewards who attend the Block House each year. “The NSA stewards evaluate every event and we get very good reports and some very nice comments from them. It’s good to know that, from the viewpoint of the outside experts, we’re doing a good job.”

Murphy was also gratified and surprised to have been chosen as the Block House honoree for 2014. “When TRHC President Nancy Z. Wilson told me, I was amazed. I’m still amazed,” he says. “Both the race committee members and the volunteers make the whole experience fun. It’s a great group of people to work with and I sure do enjoy doing it.”

TRHC hopes you’ll join them to honor Kelly Murphy and enjoy the fun on “Derby Day in Tryon” at the 68th Annual Block House Steeplechase. For more information, ticket orders and parking reservations, visit or, or call the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club office at 828-863-0480.


– article submitted 

by Tryon Riding & Hunt Club