The Annual International Gay Polo Tournament is often regarded as one of the most highly anticipated affairs of the year in the polo community and it is now also officially an award-winning event. After the incredible turnout for the 2017 four-day event, it may come as no surprise that the Annual International Gay Polo Tournament is slated to be honored as the LGBTQ Sporting Event of the Year at the Connect Conference – Sports Marketplace, which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana in August 2017.

Every year, the Connect Conference gathers together the most active planners, suppliers and experts from a multitude of diverse organizations for high-quality networking, roundtable discussions and keynote general sessions to promote national business development and new ideas across industries.

For the first time this year, the conference’s Sports Tourism Excellence Awards included the “LGBTQ Sporting Event of the Year” category, making GPL the inaugural winner, a testament to the event’s impact on not just the local polo community, but the national LGBTQ and sporting communities at large.

“Not only is this a well-deserved recognition [for GPL], but I’m extremely happy to be putting an LGBTQ event on the same level of award recognition as the NCAA, AAU, and so on, which is why I created the awards category,” said Patrick Higgins, Vice President of Meetings and Events for Connect.

Nominees for awards are evaluated and voted upon by the Connect Sports Executive Advisory Group, Marketplace Advisory Committee and Professional Development Committee, each of which are comprised of sporting and venue industry leaders, as well as other qualified judges. The Annual International Gay Polo Tournament is in good company as an award recipient, as other category winners include ESPN Wide World of Sports, USA Football, Hilton Worldwide, T-Mobile Arena and the NCAA National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championships, among other high-profile honorees.

“This is incredible. Connect is a huge organization and to win an award for our event is fantastic! Judging by the list of other winners, we are in top company. It feels great to receive the recognition from a national organizational. Truly this is a team effort and a team win and everyone involved – players, organizers, event partners and spectators – should feel very proud.  I know I am,” said Chip McKenney, Founder and President of the Gay Polo League.

The Gay Polo League’s GPL Polo Club is a 501(c)(3) charity organization that promotes the sport of polo as a means to provide equality, pride, inclusion, and confidence for those individuals within the LGBTQ community. For eight years, GPL has hosted its Annual International Gay Polo Tournament in Wellington, Florida, attracting athletes and spectators alike from across the globe.

2017 Annual International Gay Polo Tournament Teams. © Snoopy Productions.

With plans already getting under way for the 9th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament to be held on April 5-8, 2018, potential players and attendees now have yet another reason to make the trip to the International Polo Club Palm Beach to experience for themselves why this tournament is not just a humanitarian event, but also a deserved award winner.

For more information on the Gay Polo League, please visit

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