The eighth Annual International Gay Polo Tournament takes place at the International Polo Club Palm Beach located at 3667 120th Avenue in South Wellington Saturday, April 8. The polo players and those regulars who come out to watch the tournament every year are planning the best version of the event yet, and it’s not too late get in on the fun, even if you don’t know the first thing about Polo.
Over the years the annual tournament has grown from something that wasn’t at all meant as an LGBT event, to something that has blossomed into one of the most fun weekends of the year.
“Having attended Gay Polo since its inception, I find it amazing to see how it has developed over the years,” said Rand Hoch, President, and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. “The first season, when I was a guest, most of the spectators were not LGBT. There were only handful of tailgate spaces. Most of us spent more time watching the polo matches than socializing. It was a pleasant afternoon diversion, but nothing like what it is now.”
“The following year, Gay Polo League promoter Mason Phelps invited PBCHRC to lunch, letting us know that GPL had selected PBCHRC to receive 50 percent of the proceeds of the sale of individual tickets to the gay polo tournament. Mason also told us that GPL was encouraging people to decorate their tailgate spaces, and there would be prized in several categories. He really wanted it to develop into the premier LGBT-friendly sporting (and social) event in Palm Beach County.”
Over the years, the Gay Polo tournament has become as much about the festivities before and after the matches, as much as it is about the matches themselves. Tailgating for the event has taken on a life of its own, and guests are actually encouraged to kick it up a notch.
“Over the years, elaborate tailgating became the primary attraction for most attendees, with the polo matches going on in the background,” Hoch said. “People recreated airline cabins, hair salons, and even a wedding chapel. (I was honored to marry a gay couple in that chapel at gay polo a few years back). Each year the number of tailgates as increased and teams really got into competing for the tailgate awards.”
Tailgate spaces are available for reservation for $395 and include six general admission tickets, a 10×10 tent, and one designated parking spot. Tailgaters are encouraged to decorate their spaces any way they would like and are encouraged to get ultra-creative to top their competitors. In addition to the available tailgate spaces, a Cherry Knoll Farm VIP tent that will be positioned on the mid-field line is available to reserve. The VIP table for six includes gourmet food and beverages, table side service, an open bar, and VIP parking, all for $1,500. Individual VIP tickets are available for $250.
For those who have never come out to experience the Gay Polo Tournament, Rand Hoch says don’t be shy; it’s a wonderful event, and experiencing it couldn’t be any easier.
“Newbies to gay polo will be amazed by the festivities,” Hoch said. “Getting a group together and having a tailgate, even if it just a simple space with chairs and a cooler, is a great idea because it provides a base, and a place to watch the matches between visits to the various tailgates”