Aiken, SC (WJBF)- Jim Herbert has been coming to the Aiken Trials for over 30 years.
“Except the year that it snowed,” he said.
Herbert is originally from Baltimore, but since moving to the CSRA, his history of growing up with horses has led him to the Trials horse races every year. Now, it’s a tradition for him.
“And you’ve got good friends” Herbert said. “You see the same people every year. ”
However, the event has grown significantly.
“The thing that has really changed is they opened up the infield I’d say about ten years ago. They brought in the tents. They brought in the big tent party. So they’ve really tried to open it up to a large crowd of folks.”
With the influx of people, staking out a tailgating spot is getting harder. Each spot must be reserved ahead of time, and those who bought tickets in the previous year get priority.
“You can’t move up unless someone either can’t pay their bill or passes away,” Herbert said. He said he’s had his spot for 25 years.
But the crowd hasn’t inhibited the event, attendees say, but made it better.
“The infield is full…the parking all out here…on the Westide is full. So it’s great,” said Debra Knapp, who owns a cottage in Aiken.