Advertisement

‘With heavy heart.’ Popular Charlotte-area sporting tradition nears end. What happened?

A popular Charlotte-area sporting tradition is ending after a nearly three-decade run, its organizers said Friday.

“After months of evaluation and planning, the very difficult decision was made ... to cancel the 2024 race,” Queen’s Cup Steeplechase co-founder Carrington Price said in a statement.

“It is with heavy heart the announcement is being made,” she said.

Since 1995, thoroughbreds have raced before 18,000 spectators at Brooklandwood Racecourse in the Union County town of Mineral Springs. The Carolina Panthers played their first NFL game that year.

The race course spans at least 260 acres off Waxhaw Highway, about 33 miles southeast of uptown Charlotte.

The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase is ending its long run as a premier Charlotte-area sporting event.
The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase is ending its long run as a premier Charlotte-area sporting event.

The announcement came the same day an even higher profile Charlotte sporting event delivered major news.

Wells Fargo said Friday that the bank is ending its longtime sponsorship of the Wells Fargo Championship played at the Quail Hollow Club, with the change starting in 2025.

In a statement, PGA Tour officials said the tour plans to remain in Charlotte “for the long-term and we are in active discussions with potential new title sponsors for 2025 and beyond.”

Factors leading to the bank’s decision included uncertainty about the PGA Tour’s long-term financial structure; the bank wanting to spread sponsorships to other Charlotte-area sports; and concern about sustaining the record $2 million charitable donations by the tournament this year, The Charlotte Business Journal reported.

Queen’s Cup challenges

Carrington and her husband, Bill, founded Queen’s Cup Steeplechase after moving to Charlotte when Hornets NBA games were the biggest sporting events in the city, Charlotte Five reported in 2019. The couple grew up around horse racing in Maryland.

The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase is ending its long run as a premier Charlotte-area sporting event.
The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase is ending its long run as a premier Charlotte-area sporting event.

The non-profit Charlotte Steeplechase Foundation, which produced the races, has raised at least $1 million for local charities, according to Queens Cup.org.

Earlier this year, Carrington and her husband, Bill, said they would retire from the foundation board of directors and from daily Queen’s Cup operations immediately after the 2024 race, according to Friday’s statement.

After the announcement, others involved in the Queen’s Cup got together to save the event and spent months evaluating its prospects.

The event faced too many challenges, they concluded, and the foundation board unanimously approved canceling the 2024 race, according to the statement.

Organizers cited “complex logistical challenges” to produce the race and continued cost increases.

The board, however, “will continue to evaluate the viability and future of the event,” according to the statement.

Co-founder thanks loyal supporters

Carrington Price said her family is “indebted to the Queen’s Cup team, volunteers, and all those who have worked tirelessly over the nearly three decades to help produce the Queen’s Cup.

“We are most appreciative of the loyal support from our sponsors, PSL holders, patrons, vendors, and board,” she said. “It has been a true honor to host Charlotte’s largest philanthropic outdoor cocktail party where the horses were invited.”

Sponsorships, corporate hospitality tents and tailgate purchases made after May 1, 2023, will be fully refunded, foundation officials said.

The Queen’s Cup office is closed this month and will reopen on Jan. 3, then officials will answer any questions about the closing.