Palm Beach County celebrated another successful LGBT event last weekend with the 10 annual Land Rover International Gay Polo Tournament, hosted by the Gay Polo League (GPL).
The lavish event took place in Wellington April 4-7 at the Land Rover Palm Beach International Polo Club, America’s only high goal polo venue.
The tournament was named LGBTQ Sporting Event of the Year by Connect Sports in 2017. This year’s performance featured six teams battling it out on the field, some from Palm Beach County and some from out of state.
The GPL is the only LGBT polo league in the world. GPL has created an international network of LGBT polo players and enthusiasts in 13 countries. Known for its diversity, the league embraces a cross section of ages, abilities, professions, and riding experience.
“Our platform is using our tournaments and our events to give back to LGBT charities that we partner with or, that we feel are doing something important for the LGBT community,” said GPL president and founder Chip McKenney, who also played on the Goshen Hill team.
GPL hosted events and activities the entire weekend, like Wigstock, a cocktail party that benefitted an LGBT elder advocacy group called SAGE. In the past, proceeds have gone to Compass Community Center, among other organizations.
“The GPL is an awesome, supportive group for the LGBT community and allies alike — we cater to everybody and we have a fabulous time,” said Goshen Hill player Peter Secor. “I fly down a couple of times during the winter to play at Palm City Polo Club in Boynton Beach.”
The tailgate competition before the tournament on Saturday was a highlight for many attendees. CJR Fine Arts’ tent presented a mini gallery that featured several original pieces, and Little Moir’s food truck from Jupiter boasted their creative Wizard of Oz display made in partnership with Land Rover. Their display featured a painted yellow brick road and Dorothy also made special appearance, along with a mini Toto.
Celebrity Cruises, the organization that sponsored the tailgate competition, shocked polo fans as they ushered them into their air-conditioned tent.
“If you’re going to do a tent, you’ve got to do it right,” said Yolanda Sheppard of Celebrity Cruises.
This year's tailgate was filled with different colorful themes, like flamingos, butterflies, and the ocean.
"Last year was my first time coming,” stated West Palm-native and tailgater Weldon Mumford. "We did a floral theme last year; this year we wanted to pay homage to Wakanda, so we wore African attire.”
Commemorating 10 years was an important milestone for GPL. It was made possible by several sponsors including Land Rover, Discover the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County Sports Commission, and McKenney Media. Cherry Knoll Farms sponsored the VIP tent which featured table side service throughout the day with a full open bar, a gourmet lunch buffet catered by the International Polo Club Palm Beach, and more.
“It has been a real pleasure to watch this event grow over the years,” McKenney said. “What particularly interests me is that the event is maturing into a more elegant event. People come to this event happy and they leave happier. To me that’s a signal that we are doing our job.”
List of winners:
Senator's Cup: RSM US LLP
MVP: Bruce Schreiber
Futures Cup: Palm City Polo Club
MVP - Pete Grove
Founders Cup: Goshen Hill
Best Playing Pony: Joey Casey, Palm City Polo Club
Best Tailgate: GPL Yacht Club
Best Spirit: Flamingo
Best Corporate: Land Rover Palm Beach
Best in Show: Seminole Casino
Best Pony: Peli
For more information on the GPL, contact Chip McKenney at