Gay polo returns to Wellington

Get ready to stomp the divots at one of the most festive polo matches anywhere.

The LEXUS International Gay Polo Tournament — Presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s four days of festivities returns April 7-10 to The International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.

Beginning with an invitation-only Thursday night VIP reception at the 7th Chukker, players and sponsors will can meet and greet while hearing about the 2022 festivities and benefiting charity, One- PULSE Foundation.

Friday kicks off with Gay Polo League Senator Cup preliminary matches at both 10 and 11 a.m. before the GPL Polotini’s WIGSTOCK! presented by Baccarat, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Mallet Grille in the International Polo Club.

Organizers say it will bring together hair-raising fun, cocktails and light bites, live entertainment, and dancing. Tickets are $250.

On Saturday, April 9, International Polo Club gates open at 8 a.m. when tailgaters will begin to deck out their tents before the Parade of Teams and first match begins at 10:30 a.m. The colorful competition taking place off the field is always a sight during the world-famous tailgate competition recognizing winners in one of five categories: Best in Show, Best Cuisine, Best Cocktail, Best Single Tailgate and Best Multiple Tailgate, sponsored by First Republic Bank.



Highlights from past participants recreated moments from Steel Magnolias, Gray Gardens, Brunch at Tiffany’s, Gay Polo League (GPL) yacht club, Gert’s 1950’s Beauty Salon, Wizard of Oz, and more. The rolling thunder of majestic ponies only complements the lighthearted laughter from the tailgaters as they race up and down the field in the event culminating match featuring elite athletes from around the globe.

Highlight of the day will be the GPL Senator Cup Finals and GPL Founder’s Cup Finals, which begin at 10:30 a.m. Teams participating in the tournament include Baccarat, Cherry Knoll Farms, First Republic Bank and Woodford Reserve. Tickets range from $30 general admission to $1,800 for a VIP table for eight.Players and fans gather at the end of the Gay Polo League tournament in 2019. PHOTO BY GAIL DAMON

Sunday, April 10 brings brunch starting at 1 p.m. in the Mallet Grille. Feast while watching the US Open Polo Match. Tickets are $150. Organizers note these are not gay polo matches.

Founded in 2006 by Chip McKenney, the LEXUS International Gay Polo Tournament — Presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate brings together nearly 3,000 players, attendees and merrymakers from around the world. This year, 16 LGBTQ+ polo players, representing six countries, will participate in the matches.

The event was created to generate awareness and to move the needle forward for LGBTQ athletes, the event works to ensure athletes not only have the same opportunities, but also a safe place to learn, grow and excel in their sport. The tournament has created opportunities to connect wonderfully diverse people, have conversations with changemakers, and to elevate experiences to shift conversations.

The work expands beyond the game of polo and equestrian sports and the Gay Polo League has been named the recipient of the prestigious Palm Beach County Sports Commission “Champion of Equity & Diversity Award.”

“Being named the award recipient, from a non-gay organization, is validation for diversity event organizers like us,” Mr. McKenney said in a statement. “This reflects a belief in the value our event(s) brings to the community. This recognition is crucial for LGBTQ athletes and their supporters. We are proud that GPL has become an instrument of change and oftentimes introduces gay people into the lives and consciousness of people who may not have known gay people firsthand.”

In addition to the awareness and outreach, raising money in support of diversity and inclusion initiatives for other LGBTQ organizations remains a priority.

The 2022 event will benefit one- PULSE Foundation, an organization born after the events that unfolded at Pulse Nightclub where 49 people lost their lives in 2016.

The onePULSE Foundation’s mission is to create and support a national memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes and legacy scholarships that open doors.

“We are grateful to be back this year and invite everyone to join us for an incredible weekend,” Mr. McKenney said.

For tickets and info, visit ¦

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