News 12 at 11 o' clock / Saturday, March 17, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. -- It's a 70-year-old tradition in Aiken, and some serious bragging rights come along with it. The 70th annual running of the Aiken Trials were Saturday.
Wes Carter, the owner of Wes Carter Training Stables, says, "We've been prepping for the last month or so trying to get them ready to perform here."
Steven Trainum is a jockey for the Wes Carter Training Stables, and he rode two horses in Saturday's race.
"They're young horses so this is gonna be like a schooling race," he said.
And Saturday's race was about a whole lot more than just horses. For some, it's about tradition.
The Williams family has been coming to the Aiken Trials for more than 30 years, and you can tell this isn't their first rodeo.
"The group has grown over the years and we've just gotten bigger and bigger," Williams said.
And they had a tailgate fit for a king, complete with a custom-made grill chock-full of shish kabobs, turkey, barbecued chicken and a spread of delicious food that you could smell for miles.
Generations of their family have come to see this race, all for one thing -- "BIG HORSIES!" said one of the youngest family members, Caden Williams.
"Big horsies" that take a whole lot of time and money to prepare for a race like this.
"We get on them every day -- they train every day for this kind of thing," Trainum said.
"It's great to win, but it's not the most important thing," Carter told News 12.
For Carter, Saturday's race was all about practice for his young horses.
"Neither of mine have started before. They haven't run in a race at all," he said.
And his young colt, named Man of the World, had a first race that turned out to be pretty dramatic.
"The first horse I raced ran really well, but the girl in front of me took a spill -- lucky for me I didn't run over her, I kind of swung wide to avoid hitting her," Trainum said.
And even though the horse lost its rider, he just kept right on moving, nearly running over anyone in his path, including our camera.
The jockey thrown from the horse was able to get out of the way and luckily wasn't injured.
But, even though it was a rocky race, Man of the World came out on top, and his handlers couldn't have been more proud.
"I feel pretty good," Carter said. Trainum mimics that sentiment, saying, "Pretty good, a little bit psyched still, my adrenaline is going."