Aiken Grand Prix organizers remember the person behind Bruce's Field
Friday, Sept. 7, 2018
News 12 @ 6 o'clock / NBC 26 at 7
AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- More than 500 equestrians are competing at Bruce's Field, but 4 years ago, it was empty.
Tara Bostwick is the Vice President/Treasurer of the Horse Park Foundation. She says, "Until 2015, this was a huge big field with the steeple chase tower and the steeple chase track and that was it. Nothing else."
Now, it's named in honor of the man who made all of this happen.
"It just seemed the right thing to do- to call it Bruce's Field. Because if he were alive, he would be right in there."
Bruce Duchossois lived in Aiken for most of his life. He rode his horses on this very field just years ago. But, in 2010, he found out developers wanted to buy the land and build houses.
"So, he bought it. Because he wanted to make sure that the land wasn't developed, he wanted to be able to preserve it."
Three years later, Bruce was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
"I mean he was just a really warm, down to earth guy who wanted to have a facility that was not only well respected as an equestrain facility, but also one that had that enviornment and atmosphere where everyone was welcome."
When cancer won, his family and friends swore they wouldn't let his dream die with him. Four years later and Bruce may not be here in person, but friends say this is exactly what he would've wanted."
He would've wanted to see equestrians like Freddie Vazquez with a big smile.
"This field... it was a dream he had," Freddie Vazquez said. "To bring a great horse show, which is exactly what they're doing."
Freddie came all the way from Chicago. He didn't know Bruce, but he says Bruce's Field has made a name for itself.
"I think Bruce would be really happy with the direction the horse show. I think he'd be proud and I think that he looks down and he's really excited about what's happening."