If you were handicapping steeplechase tailgaters, Rebecca Yount would be the odds-on favorite. She and husband George Wagman III have taken top honors at Maryland’s Grand National Steeplechase, the Mount Harmon Wicomico Hunt Point-to-Point and other events. Last May, they won first place in the jungle-themed tailgate contest at Willowdale Steeplechase. “It’s the attention to detail,” she says. “Our tailgate is a major undertaking, and we put a lot of thought into it.”
Yount shops consignment stores for finishing touches—like a framed portrait of the Queen Mother for a tailgate laid out as an afternoon tea. At Willowdale, she donned a pith helmet and served coconuts with holes drilled in them for straws.
Wagman, meanwhile, has anchored tailgates with a Range Rover and a Rolls-Royce. For the safari-themed repast, he rolled up in a Dodge 3500 diesel truck packed with campaign furniture, table linens, China, glassware and tropical potted plants. “George is an expert in stuffing everything in whatever vehicle we’re taking,” says Yount.
On race day, Yount rises at 4 a.m. and bakes pies. “My favorite is rhubarb, but not strawberry rhubarb. And I always make my crusts with lard,” she says.
At Willowdale, the star of the feast was a picnic pork shoulder and a cake with fondant frosting decorated with passion flowers from Yount’s garden in York, Pennsylvania. “I also recommend single servings—egg-salad sandwiches and cups of custard that you can put on a tray,” she says. “And we always have snacks and water on hand for the River Hills Foxhounds outriders.”
1 stick butter
1 small onion, chopped
1½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
Salt, pepper and marjoram to taste
3/4 cup cooked chicken, ham, shrimp or chopped nuts
Cream or sherry to bind
Remove and chop stems from mushrooms. Sauté stems in butter with chopped onion, salt and pepper and marjoram for about 2 minutes.
Mix in fresh breadcrumbs, and chicken, ham, shrimp or chopped nuts. Add cream or sherry to bind.
Brush mushroom caps (cup side down) with melted butter and broil for a few minutes.
Turn over mushroom caps, stuff with filling, and brush again with butter. Broil for about 3 minutes more.