Tryon International Equestrian Center and Tryon Riding and Hunt Club to Host 72nd Tryon Block House Races April 14th

Mar 8, 2018 - 3:21 PM

For Immediate Release

Columbus, N.C. – March 7, 2018 – The 72nd annual Tryon Block House Races are set for Saturday, April 14. For decades, founding organization Tryon Riding & Hunt Club produced this action-packed, equestrian competition that continues to draw thousands of spectators to the largest tailgate party in Polk County, N.C. Now under the management of the Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort, the races are being held for the second year at its new, A-rated course in Columbus, N.C., just minutes from Tryon Resort. Tailgating spots and VIP hospitality tickets for the 2018 Tryon Block House Races will go on sale March 12 on

TICKET FAQ: click HERE for more information


Generations later, more than 9,000 spectators turned out for the 2017 event, which featured an expanded lineup of races, growing from 17 entries the previous year to 40, and prize money that more than doubled to $175,000. Attendees can expect their favorite contests to launch the day including the hat contest, tailgate contest, and the infamous “Go to Heck Pants” contest.

For Mark Bellissimo – Managing Partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners that owns and operates Tryon International Equestrian Center and is the partner organization for the Tryon Block House Races – this historic steeplechase originally attracted his family to the Polk County, N.C. area and is a critical event to grow for the region.

“I am incredibly fond of this historic steeplechase and its legacy to equestrian sport in this region and beyond,” said Bellissimo. “I am pleased that we can leverage our resources to enhance the race experience for both the horseman and the spectator. I am certain the Tryon Block House Races will continue to grow and become one of the most sought-after opportunities for both athletes and spectators.”

The event is expected to continue to grow at its new venue, and 2017 “Go to Heck Pants” contest winner, Beau Harling agrees. At the 2017 event, Harling stated:

“This is my 17th year at the Block House Races, although my family has been coming for 60
years, and this new venue is gorgeous,” said Harling. “With the stage and the vendors now and
the kids’ area, this event is gonna grow and considering this is just the first year, y’all have done
a heck of a job. People better buy their tickets fast for next year because in three years, this
event will be a sell-out.”

Tryon Riding & Hunt Club President Andrew Brannon, who is a third-generation member of his family to hold the executive position, is looking forward to the 72nd Tryon Block House Races.

“The Tryon Riding and Hunt Club is looking forward to another successful milestone in the history of the steeplechase meet series. We appreciate the partnership with the Tryon Resort and putting on another great event for our members and the community at large,” said Brannon.

In addition to the hat, tailgate and “Go to Heck Pants” contests, attendees can enjoy an appearance from the Tryon Hounds, live music and a variety of vendors. Tryon Equestrian Partners Roger and Jennifer Smith will serve as the Honorary Race Chairmen.

For tailgate parking passes or tickets to the VIP Legends Hospitality Tent, visit

Tickets will remain on sale until 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 14, and the gates will open at 9:00 a.m. at the new facility located at 6881 South N.C. Hwy 9 in Columbus, N.C.

Pre-Race Kickoff Event
The 72nd annual Tryon Block House Races weekend begins with a pre-race kickoff event onsite at the steeplechase venue inside the Legends VIP Tent. The evening includes the traditional Tryon Riding & Hunt Club live auction of original artwork for the club’s annual steeplechase poster. Guests can also enjoy an Argentine Asado buffet dinner, live music, dancing and cash bar. The event is from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at

Plan A Tryon Resort Getaway
Make this year’s steeplechase a weekend to remember, and make it a weekend getaway with Tryon Resort. Tryon Resort offers a variety lodging options to accommodate any size group including one-bedroom “Tiny House” cottages, a 50-room inn, three and five-bedroom riverside cabins and RV spaces with full hook-ups.

For lodging reservations, click here. 

For more info on the Tryon Block House Races and Tryon International Equestrian Center, visit

Like Tryon International Equestrian Center on Facebook to get the latest updates and info.

Media Inquiries: Michelle Yelton, or 828-863-1178

Vendor Inquiries: Chuck Ebbets,

About the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club
Formed in 1925, the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club seeks to enhance and preserve the traditions of the Tryon area by conducting equestrian and philanthropic programs that benefit the entire community. Learn more at

About the Tryon International Equestrian Center
Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort, host of the FEI World Equestrian Game™ Tryon 2018 (WEG), is one of the world’s premier equestrian lifestyle destinations. From carousel to competition, the mission of Tryon Resort is to celebrate the magic of the horse, grow equestrian sport, and increase access to this majestic animal. With first-class facilities for hunter/jumper, dressage, and eventing competitions, the facility will soon accommodate all eight equestrian disciplines. Tryon Resort is a spring, summer and fall haven for equestrian competitors and enthusiasts, and a year-round destination for connoisseurs of diverse cuisine and shopping, lodging getaways, and family entertainment. Learn more at

Please visit or call (828)-863-1000 for more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center & Tryon Resort.

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