Helicoptering over the Far Hills Race Meeting

Tailgaters pack the hillside at the Far Hills Race Meeting.

Today was my annual helicopter flight over the Far Hills Race Meeting in Far Hills, NJ. The race meeting is steeplechase horse races on a large farm where 30,000 people pack onto the hillside and infield area and kinda watch the horses run. The main purpose of the event is to raise money for a local hospital and for people to consume too much alcohol and show off their riches. The tailgating event draws the high-end crowd, people bring their Rolls-Royces and have large catered parties, complete with ice sculptures, the finest wine and food.

I’ve been photographing the party from the air for at least the last 15 years for the organization that puts on the event. I started in a little Robinson helicopter that I barely fit in, then for many years I chartered a Bell Jet Ranger out of Princeton. It was my favorite, they’d take the door off and I would wear a climbing harness and hang out the side. It was fun and expensive. Last year they found a local guy with a helicopter who donated the ride, which saved lots of money. I rode in that one again this year, it is a six-seat Bell 470. The original owner had the interior done in leather to match his Porsche. It is really nice but I can’t ask them to take the door off and risk something flying in and ripping up the leather. So I just slide open a little window and shoot through there.

A barn in a Bedminster, NJ, field.

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