Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships, one of the world’s most recognizable polo events, announced that it had received final approval from the City of Scottsdale to return on November 7, Saturday, to the WestWorld of Scottsdale’s outdoor polo field. This announcement follows the commencement of polo action around the country and limited events in the greater Phoenix area, including at the Valley’s upcoming NASCAR race and Phoenix Rising matches.
Under a new name, the Stella Artois Polo Classic: Presented by Ketel One, a production of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships, will return with some new teams as well as a new focus on social distancing and a key focus to help schools, nonprofits, and charities hit hard by COVID-19.
As part of the city-approved changes for 2020, the Stella Artois Polo Classic will feature an extensive social distancing plan. It would incorporate a social distancing enforcement team, mandatory masks, sanitation stations, temperature checks, and an all open-air approach with tables, lattice fencing, and umbrellas to make guests as comfortable as possible within a fun environment.
The event has also been certified by HealthyVerify, a collaboration between Arizona State University and Barrow Neurological Institute, to ensure significant safety precautions and measures are being carefully planned and implemented.
“I am proud to support the polo community and the 2020 Stella Artois Polo Classic. I look forward to a safe and exciting experience to be enjoyed by everyone. Polo has been a part of my life for the last 25 years, and I am grateful to see the event in Scottsdale grow with such prestige and class,” says Alfredo J. Molina, chairman and CEO of Molina Fine Jewelers, a longtime sponsor of the event.
All of the popular tents on site will now be open-air with umbrellas, while tailgating and lawn seating has been expanded. To create additional spacing for social distancing, an elevated South Road seating option will also be available for guests for the first time. Reserved seating areas will also be modeled after guidelines for restaurants with noticeable distances between tables.
The day begins with Arizona Polo Club taking on the Denver Polo Club. Arizona’s highest goaler Andres Camacho Castilla has played in the event every year since its inception in 2011. It will be followed by the signature charity match of the day. EPR Polo introduces the Celebrity Cruises Match Up supporting Arizona Equine Rescue and Southwest Wildlife. It will be the day’s highest goal polo match featuring professional polo players John Gobin and Jared Sheldon.
“On behalf of the United States Polo Team presented by Celebrity Cruises & Hotels at Sea, our World Cup champion pro-polo team is thrilled to be the signature match of the day. Be part of this exciting afternoon that is considered to be one of the best polo events in the United States,” says Tareq Salahi, team captain of the United States Polo Team by Celebrity Cruises & Hotels at Sea, a first-time sponsor of the event.
For the final match of the day, alumni of Work to Ride, the first all African-American high school polo team to win a High School Championship, will take on the Women’s All-Stars in a “Battle of the Sexes” match. Work to Ride has played in the event twice before.
“From the exciting new match-ups to the charity endeavors to a new site plan with extensive seating options, 2020 will certainly be a year like no other. This event offers people looking to get outside to enjoy polo in a new way while staying distanced,” adds Jason Rose, co-founder and co-owner of the event.
The event is also putting a new and substantial focus on helping schools and nonprofits whose fundraising and operations have been devastated recently. In response to this unprecedented situation, the Scottsdale Polo Classic offers local charities the chance to raise money by utilizing its unique platform and event. Participating organizations will keep all revenue generated from ticket and table sales.
Other elements of the tournament returning in 2020 include several fan favorites such as the car displays, the Lugari Canine Couture Dog Fashion Show, the World’s Longest Catwalk Fashion Show presented by Phoenix Fashion Week, and a post-event concert with local rock legend Roger Clyne. His performance will be produced by R Entertainment and will take place immediately adjacent to the field.
The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships will return as previously produced in 2021. Despite the changes for 2020, organizers and sponsors believe it might be the most rewarding year yet.
Tickets are on sale now at www.thepoloparty.com, with limited capacity in response to COVID-19.