Photos, video: Weather holds up for Carolina Cup

82nd annual Carolina Cup horse race lives up to tradition of as much action outside Springdale Race Course as inside

ccope@thestate.comMarch 29, 2014 

— Rain jackets covered sundresses Saturday at the 82nd Carolina Cup in Camden.

But the bad weather held off mostly. With clouds covering the Springdale Race Course, Cup goers enjoyed the horses and the party.

“The Loving Cup” was the theme of one tailgate adorned with ’70s inspired decorations to celebrate the day.

Wanda Elkins had made much of the decor, including handmade, funky bell-bottom pants and a hat that had a plastic horse and toy Volkswagen Beetle attached.

The early-on sprinkles and threat of rain did not deter Elkins and her group of friends from attending the event.

They would attend the Cup rain, shine, sleet or snow, she said.

“We’re like the postal service,” she said.

She had the hippie theme down to all the details. She jokingly pointed out they had a bag of “grass” and a “joint” as she showed off a plastic bag holding fake grass often used in Easter baskets and a plastic cockroach.

The decorations weren’t the only outlandish items at the Cup.

Adam Ruonala wore a red, white and blue get-up that made even a sober person dizzy.

He spent about $500 on his outfit, he said. His girlfriend had picked on him for spending more on his outfit than he did on hers, he said.

The College Park section was literally booming with the thumps from loud music audible across the racetracks.

Inside the section populated by young adults, hand-painted coolers to match the occasion could be seen every few feet.

Painting coolers with custom designs is a tradition among sororities and fraternities.

Claire Minch, a Western Carolina University student, said it took her weeks to paint a cooler for her boyfriend, Ryan Mullins.

Three friends lined up against the rail early to get a good view of the race.

Clemson University students Amanda Dominick and Sarah Jane Petrucciani watched the race with their friend Elliott Andrews, who attends Wake Forest University.

“We had to see at least one race,” Petrucciani said.

Behind College Park, law enforcement had a space set up to complete the booking process for those who were arrested.

Those with minor offenses were released and had the opportunity to meet with pre-trial intervention officials.

By early afternoon those officials had met with about 70 people, said Mia Masella, program director.

And some of those were upset, with lots of tears, she said.

“We have our tissues handy,” she said.

The benefit to pre-trial intervention and the alcohol education program is that those arrested can clear their record, which is beneficial for folks seeking college scholarships and jobs, she said.

Others were carted off to jail with a booking staff on site and vans that could take them to the Kershaw County Detention Center. Judges would be at the jail later that evening to start the process of releasing those detained, said Peggy Spivey, director of the detention center.

Officials have streamlined the arrest process at the cup, said Camden Police Captain Mike Stone.

“Not only for us, but the people that are charged,” he said.

WATCH: Scenes from the 82nd Carolina Cup

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