Some of the most prominent figures in the polo community gathered together the evening of Friday, Feb. 14, to celebrate the 31st Annual Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner Gala. On that milestone occasion, six elite human and equine athletes were honored for their achievements in the sport of polo: Joey Casey, Cyril Harrison, Pat Dix, George C. Sherman Sr., and polo horses Wembley and Gargantilla. A highlight of the polo community’s calendar, the evening was one to remembered by inductees, their families and friends, players and patrons, and fans alike.
Comprised of many of the sport of kings’ most recognizable names, guests congregated for an elegant evening at the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame’s landmark location in Lake Worth, Fla. to enjoy delicious cuisine, hand-crafted cocktails and distinguished awards, each of which have been made possible due to a series of returning and new sponsors’ ongoing commitments to enhance the sport of polo and memorialize its heroes. Attendees were treated to a red carpet welcome to the black tie event, which featured a cocktail hour thanks to the incredible support from sponsors Robert S. Lipman, Margaret Lipman Orthwein, Lipman Brothers, LLC, Brown-Forman, Bacardi USA, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Old Hickory Bourbon, Line 39 Wine and Korbel Champagne. Photo opportunities were plenty, as guests mingled in the beautiful setting while inductees and their families had the opportunity to take photos in front of the prestigious Hall of Fame area with their new awards.
Following the cocktail hour, guests were invited to a lavish three course meal featuring filet mignon and salmon while enjoying music from a live band, thanks to Jan Pamela Polo Ranch, as they savored their dinner. The dinner celebration was graciously underwritten by Melissa and Marc Ganzi, Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC and the Grand Champions Polo Club. The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame was thrilled to welcome two new supporters to the festivities in 2020: US Polo Assn., made possible by USPA Global Licensing and Michael Prince, and Jetcraft, thanks to Matt Brandon and Charles Ward. These benefactors all played a significant role in the evening’s activities and making it a fundraising success. During the celebration, guests were gifted the Poloart Gift book, a commemorative piece produced every year by acclaimed artist Melinda Brewer, which was graciously underwritten by Maureen Brennan’s Iconica Foundation, Martin and Amanda Cregg and Mike Egan.
The first awards of the night went to two of polo’s most remarkable horses, Wembley and Gargantilla, who received the “Horses to Remember” award. Bob Jornayvaz accepted the award for Wembley, a now 26-year-old Thoroughbred gelding and veteran of the sport, having earned numerous awards in his tenure including multiple Best Playing Pony Awards and the Horse of the Year Award in 2004. Harry Payne Whitney’s mare Gargantilla was recognized as the honoree of the early era, having been well known for her amazing efforts in the 1920s played by Whitney’s best friend Devereux Milburn. Gargantilla won the Prince Friarstown Cup in 1923, the most prestigious award of the time.
Following the awards for the equine inductees, four polo athletes were recognized for their various contributions to the sport of polo: Joey Casey, Cyril R. Harrison, Pat Dix and George C. Sherman, Sr. Casey, a world-class polo player, pony breeder and trainer, was honored with the Living Hall of Fame Award for his achievements in many American tournaments, including the USPA Sunshine League Championship six times, the International Gold Cup four times, and the 1988 Westchester Cup. Harrison will have his name etched in history as the 2020 Posthumous Hall of Fame Inductee. During his lifetime, Harrison was known for his revolutionary hitting style and skillful team play, as well as for being one of the USPA’s first polo instructors of the modern game.
The 2020 Living Inglehart Award was presented to Pat Dix, a veteran of the sport with over 60 years of experience in the USPA. Dix received the 1986 Hugo Dalmar National Sportsmanship Award and was inducted in 2004 to Cornell University’s Polo Hall of Fame. The last award of the evening was presented to Wendy Sherman, granddaughter of infamous polo player George C. Sherman, Sr., on behalf of “the father of indoor polo.” Sherman, Sr. was honored as the 2020 Posthumous Inglehart Award Inductee for for his efforts in organizing and refining indoor polo as well as being the founder and first president of the Indoor Polo Association.
The Hall of Fame Dinner is the largest fundraiser for the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame each year, and it could not take place without the support of the polo community and all of the incredible sponsors. The organization would like to further extend its gratitude to the photography, exhibit and social media sponsors, Alex Pacheco, Krystal Zaskey Photography, Morning Line and Chukker TV for aiding in providing guests with reminders of the historical evening. Each benefactor’s generosity allows the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame to continue its mission to preserve the history of polo for generations to come.
For more information, please visit polomuseum.com.