PoloFest gallops into Sedalia this month

Fundraiser mashes music festival with polo sporting event

An event rolls into Sedalia this month that aims to make people believe in polo, while also serving up first-class music entertainment.

PoloFest, which as the name suggests is both a music festival and polo sporting event, kicks off Aug. 25 at the Denver Polo Club.

It’s bringing in names like Phantogram and Quinn XCII while also showcasing polo through the Women’s World Cup and Colorado Open Final.

Organizers say PoloFest is open to people of all ages and all backgrounds, including those new to polo. Here are a few important things to know about the event.

Who’s throwing PoloFest?

The faces behind this polo-music mashup are Ty MacCarty, of Sheridan, Wyoming, and Rob Jornayvaz, of Littleton. The 27-year-old and 25-year-old men, respectively, said they co-founded PoloFest because they love horses, they love the sport of polo and they want more of their generation to understand why.

“Horses, they’ve been a part of my life since the beginning and they really do have a special power, not just on the field, but off the field as well,” MacCarty said.

MacCarty and Jornayvaz play polo and call the sporting community close-knit. But they also say it has a reputation for being closed-off to the masses.

By keeping PoloFest casual — no need to wear big hats or pastel colors — they hope PoloFest makes the sport more inclusive.

“I think the thing that draws me most,” Jornayvaz said of polo, “is the horse and the connection that you can create with such an incredible animal that’s so athletic but, at the same time, so in tune with you.”

The setting

PoloFest takes place at the Denver Polo Club, 6359 Airport Road in Sedalia. Situated along the Front Range among open, grassy fields, the site is not only a burgeoning music venue but one rich in local polo history.

The club was founded in 1986 by John and Chris Gandomcar, who built the 100-acre Cottonwood Riding Club in Littleton, located south of Chatfield State Park and north of the Denver Polo Club.

Today, according to the club’s website, the Denver Polo Club is run by the Gandomcars’ daughter, Erica, an accomplished polo athlete and advocate for the sport.

How PoloFest works

The day of the festival will be a mix of polo events and musical entertainment.

“It’s going to be a really fun-filled day,” Jornayvaz said.

Doors open at 1 p.m. A Kid’s Polo match begins at 2 p.m., the Women’s World Cup runs from 4 to 5 p.m., and the Colorado Open Final runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The Equine Partnership Program will offer horse rides and other ways for people to interact with horses from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Now, soak in this artist lineup:

• Brandi Cyrus (yes, that’s Miley Cyrus’ sister) will DJ throughout the event.

• Chule & Curtis play at 3 p.m.

• ZZ Ward plays at 5 p.m.

• Quinn XCII takes the stage at 8 p.m. and headliners Phantogram follow at 9:30 p.m.

For a cause

PoloFest will benefit the Equine Partnership Program, based in Elizabeth. The nonprofit provides equine therapy for children, families and individuals, but also for underprivileged, abused or neglected children, “a very important population to work with,” Jornayvaz said.

People can make donations to the EPP or participate in a silent auction during the festival. Polo teams playing during the event are donating to the EPP as well.

Jornayvaz and MacCarty said they’re not sure what to predict for crowd size this year, but they hope to raise $40,000 for the EPP.

Funds will help bring kids from the Denver metro to the EPP’s Elizabeth location “to breath some fresh air,” Jornayvaz said, and support the organization’s building projects.

“Our goal,” MacCarty said, “is to really showcase the healing power of horses.”

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