West Meets East

A Western man travels East in search of love, opportunity and happiness.

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Name:Michael Strickland

This blog chronicles my adventures as I leave my native California and travel east to northern Virginia to start a new life. I can only imagine the funny stories I'll recount here as I experience a wildly different climate, culture and way of life.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tailgating for Yuppies

Yesterday, I got my first taste of life as a Virginia yuppie. CJ took me with some of her friends to the annual running of the International Gold Cup, one of the region’s most prestigious steeplechase events. Staged deep in Virginia’s horse country with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, Gold Cup hosts more than 25,000 people who come to watch eight races across the rolling green fields. Cars lined the grass along the fence where people had laid out spreads of finger sandwiches, cheeses, fruit, wine and other treats. Imagine “Tailgating for Yuppies.”

Having grown up in Del Mar, with its famous racetrack, I was no stranger to horse races. But I’d never seen a steeplechase race before. I was quite impressed by the horses’ ability to jump so many fences, especially during such long-distance races (the longest, the Gold Cup race itself, presented 20 jumps over a three-and-a-half-mile distance). One horse didn’t quite make it, and took a tumble over the fence right in front of us. Both horse and rider did somersaults, but neither walked away with anything worse than a bruised ego.

Beautiful scenery, perfect weather and great company made it a day to remember: my first social event as a Virginian. CJ likes to stay as active as I do, so I know we’ll have many more such events in store for us in the near future.

Riders race in the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Virginia.


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