No King's Tree Trials this year. You knew it. Everything else has been canceled too. What a time. I’ve been the announcer at the Trials for about 20 years. I don’t know about you but I really am sad that we won’t be having this premier horse race. Some of my friends were talking about past races. They were always fun. You get into the groove of going to a special event like this and you yearn for it every year.
Being on the announcer’s stand for all those years gave me a special insight to the races. The first thing you notice is all the hard work that goes into putting on the races. The McCutchen Training Center is a beautiful and pristine facility. Just the set up for the races requires massive work. Parking spaces are marked, the track is immaculate, barn work, porta-potties, concessions, parking attendants, t-shirt sellers, getting trophies, calling and inviting all the racers is massive work. The Williamsburg HomeTown Chamber always provided the many helping hands that made it all possible. Don’t forget the sponsors either. Without the support of the many area businesses, what would the trials be?
I was always amazed at the commitment of the racers. People from all over would drive their super dually pickups pulling large horse trailers to come to a race. That is dedication. Just the fuel bill for one of those big trucks is massive.
The races were always fun and exciting. A group of thundering horses can lead to many surprises. I’m not sure what makes a horse run. I don’t know how they even get that horse to run in anything like a straight line. How do they hang on during all this? There have been some spectacular wrecks too. Don’t know what else to call it. When the horses run together, knock off the jockeys, tear down the fence and jump the ditch, what would you call that? A wreck is probably a good enough description. One particular wreck occurred when the horses ran together. One jockey was knocked off and the two horses crashed through the fence into the paddock. The second jockey jumped off before the horses hit the fence. One horse rolled on the ground the other horse jumped a fence, dove straight down into a six foot deep ditch, came right back out and ran to the barn. Now that wreck should have been on the six o’clock news. That brings us to the jockeys. They are the unsung heroes. These little 120 pound guys seem to be hanging onto these 2,000 pound almost wild horses are ride them all over. One year a jockey came from Georgia. He was in five races. He won all five. His crew said they were going to take him back to Georgia immediately. The Town of Kingstree wouldn’t be able to hold him tonight.
Many celebrities have come to the trials also. Shaq, Kobe Bryant, Ric Flair, Blake Shelton, George Strait and others have sent up messages for people to meet them at the limousine. There have been wet t-shirt contests, the ladies of the Baptist Church having a leasing Calcutta so people could bet on the races, and even Jack Russell Terrier races.
Maybe the best part of the races was the time of the year. The weather was always special. It has been through just about every weather phenomenon for the time of year but all in all it has been beautiful. The drive home is always a treat. The long shadows and bold white cotton fields as well as the brown shades of soybean fields make are colorful fall drive back home.
Friends, food, family and fun always made the trials a wonderful experience. Don’t worry, the trials will be back in 2021.