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Publisher's comments: Horse industry benefits Camden

Posted: September 6, 2011 4:13 p.m.
Updated: September 7, 2011 5:00 a.m.

In the Aug. 31 Chronicle-Independent, we announced the launch of The Camden Horse magazine. In one short week, the positive feedback from those in the horse community has been nothing short of astounding. Due to the extremely close ties this newspaper has shared over the years with the local equine industry, this reaction is particularly gratifying. Incidentally, the Chronicle-Independent traces its roots back to its founding in 1889, 122 years ago. Coincidentally, this time-frame occurred almost exactly with the arrival of the horse scene here in Camden. As a result, we have always made it a part of our business model to give complete coverage of the Camden horse industry to our readers since it is so integral to our community.

As we mentioned in last week’s announcement, Tom Didato has been named editor of The Camden Horse. Besides being a superb writer, Tom has been covering the local horse scene for a quarter of a century. No other writer, current or former, has the thorough knowledge of the local horse industry or the local equine contacts that he has developed during his extensive, award-winning career here in Camden. And for those of you who may be worried, Tom is definitely not giving up his regular job as sports editor of the Chronicle-Independent.

Our local horse industry has brought to Camden not only national but international recognition. Because of this, it is a good idea to sit back and reflect on what a special asset our community enjoys by having the horse industry located within our midst.

Yes, Camden’s “history, horses, homes and hospitality” establish Camden as the wonderful small Southern city that it is, but it is the horses and the people associated with it that definitely make it unique … make it special. And it is not just the financial impact, which is considerable, as the last economic projections show the horse industry contributes many millions of dollars annually to our local economy.

Not only that, but some of the people who have been drawn to Camden and are involved in the horse industry have been huge benefactors to our city and county. Local churches, schools, the hospital, charities, the Fine Arts Center and other organizations have benefited greatly from the generosity of those individuals who came here because of the equine business. Almost every fabric of our daily lives has been positively impacted by those involved in the local horse community.

Then, of course, there is the social aspect that horses have brought to Camden. Both the Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup are wonderful events for horsemen and spectators alike. They are well run and are enjoyed by locals as well as throngs of people throughout the Southeast. The three most recent directors -- Dale Thiel, John Cushman and Jeff Teter -- have all put their individual stamps on these events and should be commended for the excellent jobs they have done and continue to do.

Camden is equally fortunate to have the National Steeplechase Museum located here. It is a beautiful gem of a facility that solidifies Camden’s distinction as the steeplechase capital of the world. It is a multi-faceted facility that offers tours, exhibits, research resources and rental space availability for community events. The museum is expertly run by Hope Cooper, its executive director.

The South Carolina Equine Park is the newest addition to horse facilities in Camden. This venue was the longtime dream of many local leaders in the horse industry. It has quickly made a huge impact in the area and will only continue to do so and grow in the years to come.

These are some of the reasons that we, at Camden Media Co., have now decided the time is right to launch The Camden Horse magazine. The magazine will be inserted in home-delivered and news rack editions of the Chronicle-Independent as well as placed in strategic locations throughout Kershaw County, guaranteeing a distribution of 8,000. We are extremely excited to be offering this new publication to the benefit of both our readers and advertisers.

The names of past and present men and women who have contributed to Camden’s horse community are too numerous to list here. However, a big thank-you to all who have done their part in making Camden the place it is today.

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