This year’s Steeplechase was as always, a multi-faceted event, celebrating love of horse racing and gathering with friends for food, fun, tailgating and lots of competition.
Steeplechasing can be traced back to 18th century Ireland, when two men raced one another from one church steeple to another. From this humble beginning, Steeplechase racing burgeoned into an international sport.
In 1995, Steeplechasing made its way to Charlotte thanks to the determined efforts of Queens Cup founders Bill and Carrington Price. The Queens Cup Steeplechase is an all day experience, offering an assortment of activities including Jack Russell Terrier races, a popular tailgate contest and a much antici- pated hand decorated hat competi- tion. This year’s hat contest was sponsored by Neiman Marcus.
Of course, the day is dominated by the main event, horse racing. Six races are run throughout the day, the highlight being the signature Queen’s Cup.
Racing may be the main event but, according to Bill Price, giving is the main goal. Price explains, “This day is primarily about charity. Our partner this year is Make A Wish Central and Western North Carolina. This is our fifth year with them, and they are a great partner.” The Charlotte Steeplechase Association is a nonprofit organization and all proceeds from the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase go to charity.
When asked how he chose Make A Wish from all the many worthwhile charities out there, Bill replied, “It was important to Carrington [his wife] that we choose a charity benefiting children. We also wanted an organization that wasn’t too large, so that we would know our donation would be significant. We are one of their top 10 donors.”
Summer Lee, a representative from Make a Wish, detailed the needs the charity is currently facing, “Make a Wish of Central and Western North Carolina covers 51 counties and we have over 300 children waiting in the pipeline. We have 65 children waiting for wishes in Mecklenburg County alone.”
The 2012 Steeplechase raised $40,000 to help make some of those wishes come true.
- Melinda Willms, photos by Grant Baldwin