COLUMBIA, SC – Collegiate seekers, keepers, beaters and chasers from all over the nation will converge at the Palmetto Health Fields at Saluda Shoals Park April 16 –17, 2016 for US Quidditch Cup 9. Columbia will welcome 60 teams (1,200 individual athletes), as well as five to eight thousand friends, family and fans to this national event.
Quidditch, first seen in the wizarding world of the Harry Potter series, is now a popular sport among muggles at colleges and universities across the country. The sport is full contact and inclusive of all genders.
Timeline of Securing 2016 US Quidditch Cup:
- The Columbia Regional Sports Council has had its eye on US Quidditch since 2012.
- The addition of the Palmetto Health Fields to Saluda Shoals Park made the possibility of hosting a quidditch event in Columbia a reality. The Sports Council began conversations with Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission in 2014.
- In April of 2015, the two entities attended US Quidditch Cup 8 in Rock Hill to evaluate the feasibility of hosting an event.
- Following the trip to Rock Hill, the Sports Council and ICRC collaborated to compile and submit a 41-page bid.
- In summer of 2015, representatives from US Quidditch traveled to the Columbia region for a site visit. Community partners rolled out the red carpet and showed them our famously hot southern hospitality. The quality of the facilities at Saluda Shoals Park, paired with strong relationships and resources throughout the state, contributed to USQ’s decision to host the championship in Columbia.
“Hosting nationals in Columbia will allow us to put on a championship event that highlights the high level of competition that our top teams have to offer,” said Sarah Woolsey, USQ Events Director. “The South Carolina Sports Alliance, of which the Columbia Regional Sports Council is a founding member, has demonstrated a deep commitment to quidditch, which is reflected in Columbia’s bid.”
Saluda Shoals Park is a 400-acre nature preserve on the banks of the lower Saluda River with access to miles of trails, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, biking and more. The new Palmetto Health Fields’ six lighted regulation soccer fields and other amenities such as bleachers, concessions, permanent restroom facilities and ample free parking make it an ideal location for US Quidditch Cup 9. This will be the first national event to utilize the Palmetto Health Fields.
“We are delighted to have been selected as host of the US Quidditch Cup 9,” said Elizabeth B. Taylor, ICRC Executive Director. “The Palmetto Health Fields at Saluda Shoals Park will offer fan-friendly experiences with convenient access to popular hotel accommodations, restaurants, shopping centers and local attractions. We look forward to introducing Quidditch competition at its highest level to the Midlands of South Carolina and showing our visitors a good time while they are here!”
“The Sports Council and ICRC attended US Quidditch Cup 8 in Rock Hill. We got to see firsthand how this event is run and knew we could host a successful National Cup. We are thankful to be a part of the South Carolina Sports Alliance, as we received abundant support during the bidding process from our colleagues in North Myrtle Beach and Rock Hill,” said Grayson Hopp, Sports Council Sales Manager. “We are especially excited to show off Saluda Shoals Park, as well as everything the region has to offer. USQ Cup 9 participants and attendees will enjoy all the things we love about the Columbia region: world-class attractions, outdoor recreation and local restaurants and breweries.”
This is the third consecutive year a South Carolina destination will host the championship event. The teams gathered in North Myrtle Beach in 2014 and Rock Hill this year, bringing tremendous success to both areas. US Quidditch Cup 8 in Rock Hill saw six thousand visitors generate 747.2 million social media impressions, 2,280 total hotel room nights and an economic impact of $917,520.
“The South Carolina Sports Alliance is truly honored to have US Quidditch once again call South Carolina home for the US Quidditch Cup 9,” said Auvis Cole, president of the Sports Alliance. “We know that Columbia will continue to carry on the tradition and be a gracious host for what will be a world class event. BROOMS UP!”
Enthusiasts don’t have to wait until April to experience the magic of Harry Potter in Columbia. Harbison Theatre will feature The Magical Music of Harry Potter by the S.C. Philharmonic on October 11, 2015. Tickets are on sale for $22 at http://www.harbisontheatre.org/. Call the Harbison Theatre box office at 803.407.5011 for more details on this performance.
How to play Muggle Quidditch
Three chasers must score goals by throwing the quaffle (a volleyball) through one of three hoops guarded by a keeper. Two beaters try to stop the chasers by throwing bludgers (dodgeballs) at them to make them stop what they’re doing and run back to touch one of their own goalposts before being allowed to reenter the game. Finally, a seeker must catch the snitch (a player dressed in yellow with a Velcro tail attempting to evade capture). Once a seeker has pulled on the snitch’s tail, the game is over.
About US Quidditch
US Quidditch is the national governing body for the sport of quidditch. USQ advances the sport by organizing events and programs that build communities and empower all genders to compete together. Inspired by the Harry Potter novels and founded in 2010, we serve over 4,000 athletes on almost 200 teams nationwide and provide a range of services, from hosting nine major tournaments and supervising regular season competition, to training and certifying referees, snitches, and tournament directors, offering grants, and working to expand the sport into younger age groups through outreach programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. US Quidditch is a 501©3 nonprofit.
About Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission
The Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission exists to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the district through the development of recreation programs that promote a lifestyle of wellness, physical activities and cultural experiences for all ages.
About Columbia Regional Sports Council
The mission of the Columbia Regional Sports Council is to strengthen the area’s economy by marketing and selling Columbia, S.C. as a premier destination for sporting events, partnering with local sports organizations to grow and develop existing events, and by recruiting new events that provide an economic benefit to the region by generating room nights, food and beverage sales, and associated tax revenues. For more information, visit columbiasportscouncil.com.