With socially distanced and safety precautions in place, the LEXUS International Gay Polo Tournament was a rousing success. Loaded with safe, socially distanced, frivolity, fun, fanciful attire, and fancy footwork by ponies and party people alike, it was a day of celebration.
Held on March 27, history was made with the Senator Cup Final played on Field 1 of the International Polo Club Palm Beach for the first time. It’s also the first time that both teams competing for the game were all LGBTQ+ polo players!
For the 11th annual celebration, horses galloped down the field, champagne corks were popped on the sidelines, and fierce competition—both on the field and off for the renowned tailgate contest—was second to none. High-flying mallets swung by players of all skill levels carried the day, and a spirit of inclusion helped to even the scores. On a day that applauded not only safe practices and good sportsmanship but also, more importantly, love, diversity, inclusion, and equality, everyone was a winner.
The final score of the heavily contested match was 8 to 6; Cherry Knoll Farm took home the coveted Senator’s Cup trophy with players Andres La Placette, Gustavo Larrosa, Ryan Peter Secor, and Ryan Cronin-Prather, who took the MVP honors. First Republic Bank was the runner-up team, consisting of Tiffany Busch, Agustin Arellano, Adrian Pia, and Scott Hartzel, with Best Playing Pony awarded to Lucia, owned by Tiffany. The action was open and fast in front of a sold-out VIP pavilion. Spectators also watched from their festive and COVID-compliant tailgates. Fun and games continued with the tailgate awards with Best in Show top honors to FlockFest.
Meanwhile, the Gay Polo League (GPL) Futures Cup Finals were played on IPC’s Ilsa Carrol Field East. GJ Racing won with players John Gobin, Tareq Shalani, Miguel Wilson, and Darrell Gabel, who scored the winning goal in a tense shoot-out. Provident Jewelers was declared the runner-up with Hector Galindo, Bruce Schreiber, and Aimee Waters.
“To have two all gay teams play on IPC’s Field 1 was an extraordinary happening. GPL has come so far and continues to evolve into a highly competitive league, and when polo clubs, like IPC, offer us their best field, it is a thrill!” GPL president and founder Chip McKenney says. “We are so appreciative to all who supported our event this year. Last year threw us a curveball, so this year was special for GPL. Thank you to all the players, professionals, sponsors, and spectators for bringing our event to life.”
GPL also celebrated its 11th anniversary with the “GPL Polotini Presents ‘Mask-erade’ Party!” kickoff party on March 26. The event served as a fundraiser for SAGE, the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to serving and advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders.
Photographs by Sara Cole
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.