Palm Beach County had the opportunity to bring back the beloved Gay Polo Tournament.
This year marked the twelfth time GPL has held the Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament. Douglas Elliman Real Estate was the presenting sponsor. Lexus was the title sponsor.
Last year’s event was fantastic, but it lacked some of the bells and whistles due to COVID-19. GPL did not have a tournament in 2020. This year’s event took place at the Land Rover Palm Beach International Polo Club in Wellington, America’s only high goal polo venue.
“I'm so happy for this year because we all know that the world has gotten crazy, so it's nice that this feels like normal, our world has not felt normal for three years,” said J.P. Davis from J.P. Davis Partners in Louisville, Kentucky.
Davis played a huge role in the fundraising.
“The tournament has become a tradition for me, I enjoy coming down here and seeing people I've known for years.”
GPL’s tournament featured four teams battling it out on the field. These teams were from Palm Beach County and beyond. The teams represented were First Republic Bank, Cherry Knoll Farm, Baccarat, and Woodford Reserve. There were some new updates to the teams this year. All 16 GPL Polo Players are members of the LGBT community. Seven of the GPL Polo Players made their debut, and the teams represented six countries. Those countries are Argentina, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, and the United States.
Before the tournament started, Wellington native and singer Tom Blake sang the national anthem. His laid-back and acoustic version was the perfect way to start the tournament. Gus Whitelaw returned this year as the official announcer for the tournament. This is the second time the West Palm native has been involved with GPL.
Last year's tailgate was toned down. This year was the return of the elaborate tents that GPL is accustomed to having. Some of the more memorable tents came from Sip Smith, Palm Beach County Sports Commission, and The Palm Beaches Florida. There were also some unique ensembles as well. One group deemed themselves “The Mod Squad” as they were seen dressed in ‘60s attire, complete with knee-high boots, short shirts, and floral crowns. There was also a group dressed in Great Gatsby attire as they represented the roaring twenties. First Republic Bank was the sponsor for the tailgate competition.
GPL’s Polotini Friday night Wigstock party was sponsored by Baccarat. It was held at the IPC Mallet Grille. Varla Jean Merman did not disappoint with her comedic timing and glamorous outfit. She performed the night away and lifted everyone’s spirits, and there wasn't a shortage of fabulous wigs and men in the building. The party was a benefit for onePULSE Foundation, which “is a sanctuary of quiet reflection and love dedicated to honoring the senseless loss of innocent life and remembering the horrible attack that occurred on June 12, 2016,” according to their website.
“It's not about being LGBTQ, it's about being human, and sometimes being human just means love,” said Ward Simmons, the senior vice president of Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, and Visual for Baccarat. “In this world, there is so much hatred and division. We have people of color and we have several other groups of people that are not treated the same. The one thing we do have is love. So on behalf of Baccarat, we would like to present an additional check for $25,000 to the onePulse Foundation.”
The founder of the onePulse Foundation, Barbara Poma was on hand to receive the check.
GPL raised a total of $100,000 for the entire weekend. The Gay Polo League (GPL) is the only LGBTQ-identified polo league in the world. Since its initial founding in 2006, GPL has built an impressive international network of LGBT polo players and dedicated enthusiasts in 14 countries.
Founders' Cup: Woodford Reserve
Senators' Cup: Baccarat
MVP: Austine Arellano (Baccarat)
Best Pony: Voodoo
Best in Show Tailgate: Sip Smith
Best Decor: Emerald Elite Care
Best Drink: Tent #22(Sierra and Olivia)
Best Food: Woodford Reserve
Best Dressed: Great Gatsby Crew (dressed up in honor of their friend that passed away Kevin Ray)
Honorable Mention: Mod Squad