Horses, hunting, Indian Hill.
What does that make you think of?
When Laura Gleason, one of the organizers of the Camargo Hunter Trials, approached me about this event a few months ago, I was dubious. I love horses and equestrian events, but it sounded a little pretentious.
Then, I talked to people who attended. And now I want to go (and intend to go).
The Camargo Hunter Trials, in its 73rd year, does involve English-style riding, hounds, and Indian Hill, but the real star of the party is actually the tailgate.
Who knew you could tailgate at the Hunter Trials?
Apparently people go all out: living rooms, chandeliers, four-course meals. Some people bring tater tot casseroles and drink PBR. And there’s everything in between. This year, two Chef judges, Jimmy Gibson and Jose Salazar, will judge entries. Everyone shares, and everyone has fun, and apparently no foxes are actually harmed in the Trials (whew).
It’s October 5, from 7 AM – 4 PM (or thereabouts). Come and go, enter or no– should be a fun afternoon.
Want to join? Here are a few FAQs:
Gates open at 7 am. You can come anytime – it runs until around 4
Tailgating starts anytime. Tailgate Judging starts at 11:45 AM and goes around 2 hours Admission is $7 per carload
Do I have to compete? What does it cost to participate?
• No – You can just tailgate without entering the competition.
• There is NO charge to tailgate or be in the competition. Just tell the folks working the gate that you’d like to compete and they’ll give you a flag to display somewhere obvious. Or – just grab the judges when they get close.
• There is a free tailgate area at the rear part of the field.
• You can be “Course Sponsor” for $75 – click for purchase info
. This includes admission and a reserved parking space for one vehicle in a premium area, and a listing in the program.
Is this like a football tailgate?
Yes and no.
Yes: You bring food to the field, and eat it outside, or in your car, or a tent or whatever you bring to the field.
No: It’s not football – It’s a horse show in a field with Cross-Country jumping and it’s much easier to get a front row seat.
How is it judged?
There are two judges and an assistant who will taste up to TWO dishes from each tailgate. The judges start at one end of the field in the Judges Golf Cart at around 11:45 am and work their way around. We usually finish by 2:30 and award ribbons by 3. That’s the goal, anyway.
What are the judging categories ?
Tailgates are judged on Food and or Presentation. Categories include:
Grand Champion / Best Overall, Most Innovative Presentation, Most Traditional Presentation, Most Delicious, Best Party, Best Snack, Best Beverage, Best Appetizer, Best Main Dish, Best Side Dish, Best Dessert, and sometimes there’s a Wild Card.
Is it fancy?
That’s completely up to you. Many tailgaters bring a blanket and sit on it and eat. A few folks go all out and bring antique tables, crystal, china, silver and candleabras…or a u-haul and a big screen tv. Either way, it’s a very friendly and fun event.
How much food do I have to cook?
Bring enough for yourselves and the judges. Beyond that….While it’s not required, you are certainly welcome to invite hungry looking strangers to join you who are lurking around your tailgate.
What facilities are available in the field?
Lots of grass, trash cans, and a few portalets.
Can I Bring my dog?
Yes! – and poop-bags please. All dogs must be on a leash at all times.
Are there any rules?
Storebought or catering is discouraged and may result in points being deducted. Thats about it.