Palm Beach County ushered in another successful LGBT event at the end of March with the 11th annual Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, hosted by the Gay Polo League (GPL).
Douglas Elliman Real Estate was the presenting sponsor. Lexus was the title sponsor.
The event took place in Wellington at the Land Rover Palm Beach International Polo Club, America’s only high goal polo venue. In 2020, they did not have a tournament, so this year was much different from the rest.
“Let’s face it, COVID-19 gave us the world a huge halt. It forced us to sit, to think about the world as it was,” said President Chip McKenney. “Twenty-twenty was a year of tremendous loss and profound sadness. On balance COVID brought out the best of us. ”
Since its founding in 2006, GPL has built an international network of LGBT polo players and enthusiasts in 13 countries. The tournament was named LGBT Sporting Event of the Year by Connect Sports in 2017. This year’s performance featured four teams competing on the field, some from Palm Beach County and some from out of state.
Those teams were First Republic Bank, GJ Racing, Provident Jewelry, and Cherry Knoll Farm. Each team has four members. Saturday's Game was divided up into GPL Founder’s Cup Finals, the GPL Senator Cup Finals, and The Tailgate Competition. The national anthem was sung by Island Soul singer Ki-Juan Minors.
In the years past, tents were much fuller. Attendees this year were spread out to make everyone feel safe and comfortable. However, “safe” was no substitute for spectacular. The GPL made sure new attendees and old feel the good vibes. Decor for the event featured rainbow table clothes that created a rainbow ombre. Guests were treated to an open and delicious buffet. Friday night's usual Wigstock party was turned into a Masquerade Ball. Randy Roberts did not disappoint. She danced the night away and lifted everyone’s spirits. The party was a benefit for SAGE, which is a national organization providing advocacy and service to LGBT elders.
Tailgating was still a sight to see. Except, this year there were no big food trucks or Wizard of Oz displays, but there were no shortages of flamingos and unicorns. Overall, the GPL brought back a much-needed event, and a much-needed break from the new normal.
“It feels amazing to be back,” McKenney said. “We all had to be COVID thoughtful and sensitive. So we scaled it back. We re-imagined. We re-invented. The sponsors have been phenomenal, and we had amazing sportsmanship on the field today. It was thrilling to be here today.”
Over $5,000 was raised for SAGE from the weekend's festivities.
Here is a list of winners:
Founders' Cup (early game)
GJ Racing 4-3 over Provident Jewelry
Cherry Knoll Hill over First Republic Bank 8-6
Lucia owned by Tiffany Busch
Best in Show Tailgate