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Tradition & Romance the Carolina Cup

Posted: March 31, 2013 5:02 p.m.
Updated: April 1, 2013 5:00 a.m.

There’s one thing that’s been a staple at the Carolina Cup as long as the horses have been. It’s not the extravagant hats or the pastel colors. It’s the Redfearns.

The Redfearn family has had a spot at the horse races for 81 years. The tradition started with Rufus and Scotty Redfearn when they decided to reserve a space at the very first Carolina Cup in 1932. Mrs. Redfearn came to Camden for the equine industry and so, naturally, the Carolina Cup became a favorite annual event. According to Jean Redfearn who married into the family Cup tradition, the founders of the Redfearn spot never missed a race and neither has she since becoming a part of it. Four generations later, and the legacy continues every single year, even including at each Colonial Cup in November.

As far back as anyone can remember, the Redfearns have taken up residency in spot 119 -- closest to the grandstand. In fact, the Redfearns have been there since before the grandstand was even built in the 1950s. Townley and Jean Redfearn (Rufus and Scotty’s son and daughter-in-law) are now the proud owners of spot 119.

The Carolina Cup also holds a bit of romance for Townley and Jean because the 2013 Carolina Cup is the anniversary of their first meeting 47 years ago. Jean said she came with one of her college friends who was from Camden. She and Townley were both set up on blind dates with other people and ended up only having eyes for each other. Jean also had her first experience with the popular Southern dance “The Shag” that weekend which Townley taught her how to do. Being from St. Louis, Jean had never had any experience with “The Shag” but now says that she loves the dance and is a pro at it.

“We sent out our invitations to the Cup this year and also joked that this was our 47th anniversary,” Jean Redfearn said.

She said the Carolina Cup means a lot to her family and will always hold a special significance not only because it was how she and Townley Redfearn met, but also because of the tradition and the time they get to spend with their entire family and friends -- and anyone else who happens to stop by their space.

To them, the families and friends in the surrounding spaces are more like neighbors rather than strangers. The entire Redfearn clan attended Saturday, all except for the youngest grandchild. The Redfearns look forward to carrying on this special tradition for many generations to come and passing the spot on to their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren.

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