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Tuckahoe’s Trail Ambassadors by Katherine O. Rizzo


Nestled on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Car- oline and Queen Anne’s Counties, the 4,000- acre Tuckahoe State Park is one of Maryland’s hidden wonders. Many people do not know what the park truly has to offer. Woods, streams, marshlands and a 60-acre lake make the park a perfect destination for scenic hiking,


biking,


canoeing, fishing, pic- nicking, camping and horseback riding. Tuckahoe is part of the Maryland Parks System and run by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Te land acquisition for the park began in 1963 with the first facilities open to the public in 1975. Te park includes the 500-acre Adkins Arboretum, which pre- serves over 600 species of native plants, and the 20-acre Tuckahoe Equestrian Center. Although the park’s official website says it holds 20 miles of scenic multi-use trails, thanks to the efforts of Tuckahoe Equestrian Center members, it will soon boast 48 miles of multi- use trails!


The Equestrian Center In 1992, the former Crouse farm became the


Tuckahoe Equestrian Center under the guid- ance of founding member Cindy Berkey. Te 20-acre center within the state park is located in Queen Anne’s County and includes a barn with several stalls, clubhouse, picnic area, out- door arena,


announcer’s


stand and jousting path. Supporters of TEC


joined forces to create the non-profit 501(c)(3) orga- nization to both promote all types of equestrian activities at the park and help maintain the eques- trian center. Like many other non-profits around the state, the organiza- tion is staffed by a group of volunteers that organize activities and trail upkeep. Various fundraisers are held throughout the year to pay for maintaining TEC’s facilities. Current TEC president


During “Cindy Berkey Weekend”, TEC is packed full of campers and their horses to honor the club’s founder and raise funds to facility improvements.


Linda Middleton is proud of the variety of equestrians who use the center, stating, “We have more than just trail riders come here. Peo- ple can use the ring and camp out with their horses. Plus there is jousting!” According to Tuckahoe Park Ranger Debbie Cooper-Hughs, camping in general is the park’s biggest draw. Linda pointed out that camping within the TEC grounds is re- served for members only. “It is a perk of be- ing a member and draws a lot of people,” she said. Interestingly, the idea for member-only camp- ing came from not only a longtime supporter of TEC, but a longtime supporter of the Mary- land Horse Council, Royce Herman. “Tuck- ahoe is one of the few state parks that you can camp with your horse and by adding a bit to our membership dues, it makes camping a big draw for our members and helps support reno-


vations to the center,” he said.


Royce’s Vision Royce Herman began riding when he was


10 years old living in New Jersey. He never had any formal lessons and learned from watching those around him. Royce was a 4-H member as a kid and seemed drawn to Western riding at an early age. At some point he was introduced to Cowboy Mount- ed Shooting and was hooked! In 1979, Royce packed up his things after


a divorce and headed south. He ended up in Queenstown and stopped there. Working with a firm in Washington, D.C., he wanted to be close to the city but still live the coun- try lifestyle. He soon met his current wife, who also had a love of horses, and the two started logging trail miles together, “she’d be riding in her Stübben and me in my 1800s vintage western saddle,” Royce said with a chuckle. Royce first met Cindy Ber-


“People come from all over to ride and camp here,” said TEC current President Linda Middle- ton. “We have members from all over the state as well as neigh- boring states like Delaware and Pennsylvania”


www.equiery.com | 800-244-9580


key around 1994 when she was looking for fundraising ideas for TEC. By this point, Royce was also participat- ing and orchestrating


sev- eral “Wild West” shows and


Tuckahoe Equestrian Center offers mem- bers a little bit of everything from miles of trails to camping and even jousting!


mounted bank robbery skits. Cindy thought a staged train robbery would be a unique fund- raiser. Royce called up some friends as well as members of the Maryland Rough Riders and the whole event was set. But on the day of the fundraiser, the train never showed up! “We were all sitting on our horses ready to go in the heat and I just started thinking of what else we could do without the train,” Royce said. Instead, they marched an authentic stagecoach down Greensboro’s main street and acted out a stage- coach robbery. “Well, the sounds of the blanks from our guns and the noise we were making caused people, including the local sheriff, to come running out of the corner restaurant!” he


The Eastern Shore Jousting Association runs its competitions and practices at TEC.


added. All in good fun and with proper permits in place, the crowds seemed to love it! “We knew this would be a great show to do


each year but needed a more controlled environ- ment than Main Street,” Royce explained. Tus, TEC’s Outlaw Days was formed. “Since it was going to be run within a state park, we had to get all the proper clearances but I knew a lot of the [county] players and once we showed them what we wanted to do, everyone got on board.” Outlaw Days became an annual event with


Royce writing the scripts and club members continued...


JUNE 2020 | THE EQUIERY | 17


Katherine O. Rizzo


photo submitted by Diane Sherwood


Katherine O. Rizzo


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