The Carolina Cup

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Carolina Cup—Eight decades, hundreds of races, millions of spectators

The Carolina Cup has endured The Great Depression, major world wars, and the state’s conservative laws governing gambling and drinking.

The first race was run in 1930 and 19 South Carolina Governors and 15 United States Presidents later, millions of guests have made their way to Camden. 

The Carolina Cup consistently ranks with the Carolina-Clemson football game and the Southern 500 as one of the state’s most popular sporting events.

For some, Carolina Cup Day will always be South Carolina’s largest outdoor cocktail party. For steeplechase fans, it marks the beginning of the race season. And for others, this rite of spring means extra benefits to the Camden community, with profits from the race going to benefit KershawHealth and other charitable organizations.

Harry D. Kirkover and Ernest L. Woodward co-founded the Carolina Cup in 1930. The races have been run since then except for a brief interruption during World War II. The two-handled silver loving cup known as the Carolina Cup is one of the oldest pieces of silver still in use as a sports trophy. The race was initially run as a three-mile event over timber; however, in 1968 it was converted to a mile and three quarter chase over brush hurdles.

Carolina Cup day has become an annual “rite of spring” for many in the Carolinas. The race draws crowds of 60,000-70,000 and remains one of the most popular outdoor social events in the state of South Carolina.