The folks who planned the 22nd Hard Scuffle Steeplechase must have had a rabbit's foot. They were in luck, because on the night before this marvelous benefit for Kentucky Opera took place, a powerful storm had left some 25,000 Louisville-area homes out of electricity. Trees had fallen and tree branches of all sizes could be seen all over the East End. It rained torrentially.
The weather was clearing about noon on the drive out scenic Brownsboro Road. And when bugler George Sallee, 35-year veteran at nearby Keeneland, announced post time for the first of six thrilling races, it was a beautiful spring day, but without the mugginess some folks thought was in the offing.
Added to the thrills of steeplechasing was a hole-in-one contest, held for the second year, offering some lucky and skillful golfer a chance to go home $100,000 richer. For folks who delight in tailgating, there was time to relax and socialize, plus chances to win some delightful prizes.
Once again, this singular event was hosted by the distinguished Kentucky gentleman Dinwiddie Lampton and his daughter Nana. A few lucky persons got a close-up view of the Lampton Farm during a wagon trip with Dinwiddie himself at the reins. The vehicle reminded some folks of the wagons that could be found on many a Kentucky farm in early days.
There are a great many interesting and picturesquely dressed people to meet at Hard Scuffle and when counting up the many volunteers of all ages, it becomes apparent why Kentucky Opera General Director Thomson Smillie referred to them as a "small army."
Among the people who caught this observer's eye was the artist Peter Williams, at work painting horses. Williams is a native of New Zealand and is now married to a local woman. They "commute" between here and his 1600-acre sheep farm half a world away.
There was also the eye-catching costume of Bonita Springs, Fla., writer Dan Williams (no kin to Peter), which, he told us, resembled an "hallucinogenic pansy." This Williams hopes to be announcing publication of his first novel soon.
The Lamptons announced the Spirit of Hard Scuffle Award for General Dillman A. Rash. Gen. Rash's generosity to the arts in our community is long-standing and he well deserves this prestigious award.