When people think of Thoroughbred racing in South Carolina, they might think of equine-centric cities such as Aiken, the “Horse Capital of the South,” or Camden, home of the Steeplechase Museum and the Carolina Cup. Yet, since 1995, the annual King’s Tree Trials race in the Cedar Swamp community of Kingstree has been entertaining horse lovers from Williamsburg County and beyond.
The McCutchen Training Center, seen above, not only trains race horses but is also the site of the King’s Tree Trials. Owned by businessman R.B. “Bobby” McCutcheon, the event is held annually the first Saturday in November. Built on a former tobacco field, the training center is a family business operated by Bobby, his wife Debbie, and their son, Jason. The McCutchen family learned how to train horses from Bobby’s father, Jimmy Sharp McCutchen, a tobacco farmer and horse trainer. The McCutchens recently added a 40-stall barn to the property for the comfort and well-being of horses traveling for the trials. Such amenities are better for horses than leaving them trailered as they await their run. The popular social event is sponsored by the McCutchens and the Williamsburg Home Town Chamber of Commerce.
Reflections on the McCutchen Training Center
Contributor Linda Brown shares: “The McCutchen Training Center trains race horses but it is best known throughout South Carolina and the Southeast as the site of The King’s Tree Trials, which takes place on the first Saturday in November. Saturday, November 7, 2015, will mark the 20th running of the King’s Tree Trials. Locals as well as visitors from all across the state and southeast tailgate on the infield and enjoy a full card of racing. The photo shows the starting gate, as well as several barns and outbuildings associated with the training center.”