The National Polo Center, Wellington’s destination for polo and equestrian sports, will transform into a colorful five-day fete with celebrants coming from around the world to support the LEXUS International Gay Polo Tournament – Presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate (GPL) from April 6-9. Creating a culture of community, togetherness, and high fashion, the event inspires and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in sports and beyond.
“As our world continues to evolve, we remain a constant at the forefront, working to create inclusiveness and equality in not only polo and equestrian sports, but in the community as a whole,” shared Chip McKenney, founder of the Gay Polo League. “We are honored to have so many friends and allies join us each year.”
The robust itinerary for the 2023 event kicks off with the GPL Polo Players Welcome Reception (by invitation) on Thursday, April 6. Players gather for camaraderie, joie-de-vivre and much fun before the weekend’s festivities fully begin. Everyone’s favorite pre-event, the GPL Polotini Wigstock cocktail reception will take place on Friday, April 7 at The National Polo Center and will feature a hair-raising extravaganza and exciting special guests, cocktails, and light bites. Wigs are highly encouraged for this event!
Saturday, April 8 is the main event tournament and tailgate competition. Sixteen polo players from around the world will compete on the Isla Carroll West Field for the prize (and bragging rights) during both The Senator’s Cup and The Founders Cup beginning at 1pm. Not to be missed is GPL’s world-famous tailgate competition. Tailgaters are already dreaming up their whimsical tablescapes and decor in preparation for the fun-spirited competitiveness that lines the polo field, with each tailgate becoming its own experience that collectively contributes to the overall flare and exhilaration of the day. Coveted awards for Best in Show, Best Cuisine, Best Cocktail, Best Single Tailgate, and Best Multiple Tailgate are up for grabs. All in attendance are anxiously waiting to see what themes tailgaters will bring to this years’ competition. Favorites over the years have included themes 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.
While each tailgater and team might be in competition, it is the desire for equality on and off the field that resonates with all in attendance. The impact that The Gay Polo League has made can be seen in the receiving of the Champion of Equity & Diversity in Sports award from the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in 2022. The first award from a non-gay organization, the recognition symbolizes 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.”
Back again this year after a wildly successful launch is Haute House– an exclusive tent filled with social influencers that add to the stardom of the event’s attendees. The energy from the jovial groups and vibrant scenes will once again uplift the athletes on the field feverishly pursuing title championship.
Acting on its vision of providing equality, pride, inclusion, and confidence for those who face discrimination simply due to having non-traditional sexual or gender identities, the tournament will once again benefit the OnePULSE Foundation. In 2022, this GPL event raised $135,000 for the nonprofit organization, born after the tragic events that unfolded at Pulse Nightclub, where 49 people lost their lives in 2016. Aiming for even more money raised in 2023, the GPL is working tirelessly to support efforts by onePULSE to fund scholarships while creating a sanctuary for and to honor the victims who lost their lives.
“While triumphs in financial impact, anticipation, and attendance each year are always highlights, it is the thousands of athletes, supporters, and attendees celebrating diversity together as one that is truly what makes this event so special,” ended McKenney.
This year’s event sponsors include Cherry Knoll Farm, Village of Wellington, Woodford Reserve, Churchill Downs, 3 Graces Dressage, and NOMAD. GPL members, players, and attendees will receive a GPL Preferred Rate of $199.00 per night, including Continental Breakfast, when they stay at the Hampton Inn Wellington. To receive the special GPL rate, reservations must be made directly with Robert Colletti, Robert.email@example.com, or by calling 561-472-9696.
Tickets and additional information can be found by visiting www.gaypolo.com.