Tryon’s historic Block House Steeplechase set to run April 16
Published 4:10 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022
The 74th annual running of Tryon’s Block House Steeplechase, sponsored by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club and the Tryon International Equestrian Center will be held on April 16, 2022. The race was canceled in 2019 due to poor track conditions, and in 2020 due to COVID. The 73rd Blockhouse Race returned in 2021 after having been postponed in April, again due to COVID and ran in June on a sun-filled steamy hot day.
The Block House Races are a cherished tradition in Tryon, attracting fans to an April Saturday of jump races, tailgate parties, fancy hats and pants contests, and stick-horse races for kids and adults.
“This is a decades-long tradition for the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club,” says Club President Angie Millon. “It’s an amazing community event that offers something for every member of the family. It’s a great time to get together outdoors and enjoy the activities. ”
In addition to the excitement of the actual steeplechase races, this year will also feature a giant Easter Egg hunt, pony rides, corn hole and many other fun activities for children and adults.
Block House Steeplechase Races – The History
Steeplechasing began in Ireland when some foxhunters dared each other to race to the nearest church steeple. Since then, “steeplechasing” as it came to be called, has become popular in Great Britain and the United States.
Locally, the Block House races were started by Carter P. Brown in 1946 at Harmon Field. The first steeplechase in western North Carolina, it was a single race with a tin cup as the winning prize. Since then, the Block House Steeplechase has moved—first to Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) and, most recently, to the Green Creek Race Course, where it is held today.
The Block House races attract horses and jockeys from across the United States. Sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association, the Block House races are an enduring and much-loved tradition in western North Carolina.
Submitted by Leigh Borreson