Since 1984, Mason Lampton's Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens has raised more than 4 million dollars for six major arts organizations in Columbus, Ga. The annual event (taking place on November 6 this year) has become a tradition for many families. Attendees return for the gorgeous setting, the opportunity to watch some of the top horses and jockeys of the National Steeplechase Association, and yes — for the social networking that happens on Race Day every year.
But how exactly does attending a horse race benefit the arts?
Where does that ticket money go?
What's the result of my table reservation?
How does bidding in an auction in November actually impact local schools the following March?
And then, of course, there's our very favorite question we've gotten for years now...
"Isn't Steeplechase just a big party in a field?"
(Can we all please agree, once and for all, that the answer to this question is a resounding NO ?!)
2021 Steeplechase Race Day Art by local artist Jo Farris.
After nearly a decade of working to promote Steeplechase's role in advancing the arts in the Chattahoochee Valley, our team has come to realize that the actual impact of Steeplechase can get lost in the excitement of Race Day.
Though it's one of our very favorite days of the year (for many reasons), it's important to us that you, our audience, understand why we're passionate about doing everything we can to support Steeplechase every single year.
So, if you're on the fence... here's a love letter from our team about why we believe supporting Steeplechase is essential to the future of the arts in our community, and why we at The Columbusite will continue to invest in its mission and impact for as long as possible.
1) The Beneficiaries
Steeplechase supports the following six non-profit organizations:
The Historic Columbus Foundation
RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
The Columbus Symphony Orchestra
These organizations were chosen as beneficiaries because they provide the heart of Columbus, Ga.'s arts & culture offerings every year. If you've spent any amount of time in our community, there's a solid chance you've been impacted by one or more of these organizations personally.
If not, we invite you to seek them out and learn more about what they do! Steeplechase is a wonderful opportunity to encounter all six of them for the first time. Each one will have members of their staff on site at Race Day. They'll happily answer any questions you may have about the important way Steeplechase continues to support their programming each year. Don't miss the Vendor Village where you can even get a photo with the Race mascot Horace the Horse this year at the Springer Opera House tent!
2) The Financial Structure
In 1984, when Mason Lampton decided to Race for the Arts, it was important to him and his family that the funds raised support whatever needs the beneficiaries had at the time. The funds received are important, but they're even more impactful because they are unrestricted. This means each beneficiary is allowed them to use them however necessary to best serve their organization's needs.
This structure is unusual in that large donations or grant funds for non-profits often come with restrictions that can hinder the way they are able to be utilized. Because Steeplechase does not dictate how and where Race Day funds must be applied, many of the beneficiaries are able to use them as additional annual funding toward their arts education initiatives for local children.
It's good to know that every dime spent on reservations, tables, auction items, and raffle tickets goes directly back into providing a more secure future for the arts (and arts education/accessibility) in our community.
3) The Races, Horses, and Athletes Involved
For those interested in the sport, it's important to know that many of the top horses and jockeys from the National Steeplechase Association travel to race at Steeplechase every year. You can read more about what we learned about this last year, here.
4) The Auction & Raffle
When it comes to local events, the annual Steeplechase auction is known for having some of the best prizes around. Expect to see the work of local artists, options to bid on custom & luxury experiences, and access to site-specific sponsor and vendor products.
This year's grand prize raffle drawing is for a $5,000 Travel Voucher for a Trip of Your Choice planned by Frances Boyce of Columbus Travel. Past raffle prizes have included tickets to exclusive hunting excursions, season tickets to various organizations, etc.
5) The Fun
This year's Race Day schedule is packed FULL of all of the fun events that Steeplechase is known for. Here's a sneak peek at some of what's available for Race Day this year.
Silent Auction Tent
Blade & Bow Pavilion
Atholl Highlanders Bagpipes and Drums
Midland Foxhounds Parade and Game
Lampton Bronze Award Presentation
Jack Russell Terrier Races
Steeplechase Hat Contest
Excited to attend? Here are the details...
Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens
November 6, 2021
Get tickets here!
Already have tickets? Don't miss our 2021 Steeplechase Race Day Guide coming your way on November 1st! ◾️