Block House Need-to-Knows

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

Photo by Erik Olsen

Photo by Erik Olsen

We’re just eight days away from the 70th Running of the Block House Steeplechase, Saturday, May 7 at FENCE.

Race regulars have probably been planning their tailgates, outfits and special hats for weeks. If you’re a first-timer or just need a reminder, here are some Block House basics to help you get onto the grounds and enjoy your day.

Are Tailgate Parking Tickets still available?

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Yes, parking spots are available for purchase now at Parking spots available prior to race day include tailgating spaces, the best way to enjoy the races. Go online to purchase and print out tickets.

Are parking spots available on race day?

Yes! However, the only parking available to purchase on race day are Pasture Parking tickets. These are non-viewing/non-tailgating spots on FENCE property but off-course and a short walk or shuttle ride to Gate 1. Pasture Parking tickets cover all passengers in a vehicle and can be purchased in advance for $60 online at, or for $70 (cash or credit card only) at the “RPP Gate” on race day.

Place your parking ticket on the dashboard of your vehicle and have all passengers get their hands stamped by a parking volunteer as you leave the parking area to walk or take the shuttle to Gate 1.

Can I park on the side of the road?

No – The race course is located on Hunting Country Road, a two-lane road in a residential neighborhood. Cars parked on the roadside will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Where should I enter the race grounds at FENCE?

All parking passes designate a gate. A map detailing directions to gates can be downloaded from

Can I just walk in?

Yes. You can have someone drop you off at the main gate (Gate 1). Walk-in tickets are $10 per person at the gate and do not include a parking spot. Walk-ins may bring folding chairs and coolers; glass bottles are discouraged. Food trucks and craft beer will be available for purchase in several areas.

What is the day’s schedule?

Gates open at 10 a.m. and pre-race entertainment starts at 11, with the Hat Contest, the new “GTH” Pants Contest, Tailgate Contest judging, and recognition of the 2016 Heritage Families. Starting at noon will be exhibitions by Green Creek Miniature Horses, Old Tryon Foot Beagles, Jim Andrews Paso Finos, and the Hulinndalur Icelandic Horses, followed by an announcement of the Tailgate Contest winners.

Preceding the races are the Blessing of the Day, Dove Release, Presentation of Colors and National Anthem. Horses for the first race go to the paddock at 1:30 p.m. for a 2 p.m. start. Races then run approximately every 30 minutes. After the last of four professional races, there will be two Foxhunter’s Cup amateur races, followed by the last event of the day, the Stick Horse Races. Gates will close at 5:30 pm.

What should I bring?

We recommend folding chairs, sunglasses, sunblock, a brimmed hat, comfortable shoes, a light jacket or sweater in case the morning is cool, and a rain jacket if showers are forecast. Food and beverages will be available for sale, or bring a cooler; glass is discouraged.

Is there a rain date?

It’s impossible for the National Steeplechase Association to set rain dates because they would interfere with the circuit’s other scheduled races. Steeplechases run rain or shine, although individual horse owners, trainers and riders decide on their own horses’ participation.

Watch for the special Block House Steeplechase edition of the Tryon Daily Bulletin next Friday, May 6, for the latest updates. We look forward to seeing you at the Foothills’ largest one-day annual event – the Block House Steeplechase!

For more information, ticket orders and parking reservations, visit