Elloree’s annual horse-racing event is back on track for 2024, according to Elloree Palmetto Jockey Club Vice President Marykay Ulmer Martin.

The newly formed club is coordinating the 59th running of the Elloree Trials, set for March 23 at the Elloree Training Center, located at 170 Wishbone Circle.

Elloree Training Center owner Franklin “Goree” Smith announced in November 2022 that the Elloree Trials would no longer take place. The event was held in 2022, but was on hiatus for the two previous years due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns.

The longtime planner of the Elloree Trials, Anne Garrett, had an illness and died on Jan. 12 of this year.

In addition, employee Debbie Jobe retired.

Also, membership was declining in the local civic groups that supported the Elloree Trials in the past.

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Smith said the return of the trials “is a good thing.”

“It’s a lot of effort in getting it done,” he said.

Martin, Howard Shuler and Nancy Oliver volunteered to revive the trials shortly after Smith announced the event would no longer be held.

“We just couldn’t let this happen,” Martin said.

The trio asked for a meeting of volunteers who would be interested in bringing the Elloree Trials back.

“About 25 people showed up,” she said.

From there, the Elloree Palmetto Jockey Club was founded and four committees were created, she said. It’s named after the club Smith previously operated to host the Elloree Trials.

Several local civic clubs have agreed to volunteer with the Elloree Trials, as they’ve done in years past. Those clubs include: the Lions Club in Elloree, the Elloree Garden Club, the Evergreen Garden Club, the Mentor Book Club, the Elloree Training Center, the Knights of Pythias, Charity Lodge #62 AFM and the Elloree Athletic Club.

Martin said the 2024 Elloree Trials will be like the events held in years past.

“It’s a big deal. It’s a big reunion, seeing old friends and family,” Martin said.

“It’s just a fun day for everybody,” she added.

The Miss Elloree Trials contest will also be held in addition to the hat contest, best tailgate contest and the skydiving exposition.

“People are so excited!” she said.

Tickets for the event are $25 per person. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.

Individuals who reserved parking spaces in 2022 and would like to retain those parking spaces in 2024 are asked to email the Elloree Palmetto Jockey Club at elloreetrials@outlook.com or call 1-803-395-9068. Those who have reserved parking spaces also receive two tickets for the event.

The deadline for previous reserved parking space holders to renew their spaces is Nov. 20, 2023, with no exceptions.

The unclaimed reserved parking spaces will be available to rent beginning Dec. 1, 2023.

The Elloree Training Center is no longer coordinating parking reservations and ticket sales.

A group of volunteers is responding to calls and emails regarding parking reservations and other Elloree Trials questions.

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