Heath Lewis and his friends held a tailgate party Saturday, but it wasn't at their usual venue: a parking lot near USC's football stadium.
Instead, they were at the Colonial Cup steeplechase races, drinking beer and soaking in the sights on a pleasant autumn afternoon.
"I'm already having fun," Lewis said. "It's kind of cool being outside like this."
Knowing that the Gamecocks were off this weekend, Colonial Cup organizers switched the annual horse race from its usual Sunday slot to Saturday in an attempt to boost the crowd. It was one of the few times in the event's 40-year history that the Colonial Cup was held on a Saturday.
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Attendance figures weren't immediately available, so it remains to be seen whether the switch increased the crowd. In some spots, attendance appeared sparse, particularly an area beyond the infield where a rock band played.
But the infield at Springdale Race Course had plenty of fans. That's where Lewis and his college friends partied.
During each of the six horse races, those who tailgated in the infield stood shoulder-to-shoulder along the fences, cheering the horses as the animals went by.
In between races, children tossed footballs, rode a carousel or petted livestock brought to the infield for viewing. Their parents sipped cocktails and caught up on the latest gossip.
"Having this on a Saturday is just a little more convenient," said 16-year-old Devan Vaughn, who traveled with his family from Pickens County to spend the day at the course.
Typically, the Colonial Cup draws 10,000 to 15,000 fans.
Race officials haven't decided whether to make Saturday a permanent date for the Colonial Cup. Some of that would depend on whether the race would compete with a home Carolina football game. But Cup spokeswoman Pam Mosier said she was pleased with what she saw.
"I don't think I could have asked for anything better at this stage of the game," Mosier said.
Saturday's events had a few scary moments. Two jockeys in separate races were thrown from their horses, and one of the riders suffered a slight concussion. But neither injury was serious, said Mosier and Kershaw County Emergency Services officials.
Founded in 1970, the Colonial Cup is one of two major steeplechase events each year at Springdale Race Course. The Carolina Cup, an older event that attracts a much bigger crowd, is held in the spring. It typically draws people wearing the latest spring fashions.
The Colonial Cup is more casual and attracts more families to tailgate. The Colonial, however, is the more prestigious race since it comes near the end of the steeplechase circuit.
Lewis and his buddies Doug Demoya and Landon Payette said they usually go to the spring race but were pleasantly surprised by the Colonial Cup.
For them, having it on Saturday meant not worrying about going to class on Monday after a day of partying - possibly even with a hangover.
"That's basically what it boils down to," Demoya said.
Other tailgaters said holding the Colonial Cup on Saturday is better for an entirely different reason: They didn't have to choose between church on Sunday or one of Camden's biggest annual social events.
Kershaw County "is the Bible Belt," said Johnny Deal, who grew up in Camden and has attended the Cup for most of his life. "I go to church every Sunday, but you missed church when the race was on Sunday morning."