As if hot men on horseback weren't enough, in some circles "The 4th International Gay Polo Tournament” is THE social event of the season.
The Gay Polo League – yup, that is a very real thing – presents the tourney in Wellington this Saturday, April 13 from 1 to 7 p.m. (gates open at noon).
The equestrian event will be staged on the field at Grand Champions Polo Club on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road.
“This has really been embraced by the polo community,” says Mason Phelps, one of the organizers and a former equestrian Olympian. “Marc and Melissa Ganzi, who own the Grand Champions Polo Club, are both polo patrons themselves. [He] has the Audi Polo Team and [she] has the Piaget Polo Team and they play with all the big boys in polo, so their endorsement means a lot.”
Gay Polo League founders Chip McKenney and Tom Landry have added a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign this year as the South Florida chapter (there are other GPL event in Palm Springs) has really taken off. Participation from corporations such as Peroni and "Compete" magazine have helped to propel the local tournament into one of the top 25 events for the party-hearty Palm Beachers, says Phelps. And local players are signing up in big numbers.
“I’ve been playing for about two years now,” says West Palm Beach’s Phil Tremo, who works in technology when not practicing polo. “I was there when the Gay Polo League had their first tournament here in 2010. And at that one they had guys and women from all these other cities come in to play…and then they said they were starting a team here. Polo is a pretty seasonal thing, so that was in April and we didn’t start until the next winter in January of 2011. I was practicing and learning, but I wasn’t ready to play. In 2012 I was actually able to play.”
Tremo said that he wasn’t a horse novice, having experience before as “…a hunter jumper when I was in my 30s.” He went on to say that unlike that experience which is a solitary sport, he like the GPL because “I like that it’s a team and social.”
Friday, April 12 there will be a “Jewels and Jeans Kick-Off Party” starting at 6:30 p.m. at the International Polo Club Pavilion at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. Admission for the party is $75.
For the tournament, general admission is $25. The tailgate price (with 8 tickets and 1 field-side parking place) is $225. VIP tables with seating for 8 people (with 4 beverage tickets and a gourmet food tickets for each guest as well as tableside service hors d’oeuvres) is $1,000.
For tickets call 561-753-3389.
For Tailgate and VIP tickets call 561-753-3389.
For more information, visit GayPolo.com.