Spring fashions and picnics on track for Historic Tryon Block House Steeplechase 

Published 12:38 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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TRYON–Get ready for an exciting and entertaining day at the races when fancy hats and “go to hell” pants join the parade of spectators, jockeys and fast horses to celebrate spring with the 75th running of Tryon’s Historic Block House Steeplechase set for Saturday, April 15.


In addition to showing off their spring fashions, race spectators are there for the food too, with glamourous place settings and themed tailgate picnics that earn distinguishing comments and awards for the best décor. And, of course, there will be champion horses and veteran jockeys, racing around the track, inspiring cheers and creating thrills as they run hard to finish first. 

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It’s time again to enjoy a day at the races, sponsored by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TR&HC) and Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Tickets and additional information are now available at www.TryonSteeplechase.com.


With four thrilling horse races throughout the day, there will also be plenty to do at the Kids’ Zone to entertain the younger set with fun and games, including live music, a magician and a high-energy “Gold Rush” for kids to spot gold nuggets hidden in the grassy in-field. There will also be pony rides and big shiny trucks for kids to marvel and imagine while close enough to touch.


Regional artisans will also show off their hand-made talents at the Vendor Alley, which will also be set up in the infield. Before and between the races, spectators can shop for unique gifts, floral arrangements, felt hats, craft foods and more!


“That’s only a partial list of the fun activities we’ve planned,” says Angie Millon, TR&HC president. “We’ve been working hard and steady to make sure we offer a great day at the races! We want to create a country fair atmosphere where this historic event will have something fun for everyone—regardless of age,” says Millon. 


The Block House Steeplechase is part of Tryon’s rich equestrian tradition that originated in Tryon when Carter P. Brown realized the great climate and beautiful natural surroundings were ideal for so many equestrian sports all year round.


He was the motivation for the first race, which in 1946 circled the horses and jockeys around a grassy field at the former tavern named the Block House, which sat on the NC-SC state line. From this rough course, the races moved to the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) and ran successfully for years. However, track conditions and encroaching foliage forced the National Steeplechase Association to require the Tryon race run on safer track conditions for horses and riders. 


“Costly maintenance and safety concerns were impediments for future world-class races, so we are very thankful for the  Green Creek racecourse which is meticulously maintained year-round,” Millon says.


“This year, we are expecting a great crowd and hoping for perfect weather,” she continues. “But rain or shine, Tryon’s Block House Steeplechase only comes around once a year, and you won’t want to miss this one!”


Submitted by Sybil Jones