The United States Polo Association, USPA Global Licensing and the International Polo Club Palm Beach hosted an exclusive media day on Wednesday, Jan. 16 sponsored by the Palm Beach Sports Commission to unveil the highly anticipated Gauntlet of Polo trophy.
The buzz and excitement surrounding the new Gauntlet program will provide a fresh platform for the sport of polo in Palm Beach County, one of the leading polo destinations in the United States.
Starting Feb. 13, the world’s preeminent polo teams will battle head-to-head on the U.S. Polo Assn. field at the International Polo Club in Wellington in what promises to be an incredible display of athleticism as teams vie for the $1 million purse.
The newly revealed trophy design incorporates three rearing polo ponies that represent the three original events of the Gauntlet. These sculpted equestrian figures stand guard around a sleek tower supporting a Gauntlet logo crafted out of sterling silver, and the impressive trophy will stand nearly three feet tall at its highest point.
“The Gauntlet combines the three most prestigious events to create one spectacular challenge for the players to win all three. We are building the Gauntlet into a highly visible and respected sports property,” said David Cummings, chairman of USPA Global Licensing. “We are confident that through this challenge, future generations of competitors, fans and media sponsors will recognize the sacrifice, skill and commitment it takes to be crowned the Gauntlet Champion and have your name inscribed on this trophy.”
Members of the regional and national press heard from USPA CEO Bob Puetz, IPC owner Mark Bellissimo, USPA Global Licensing Chairman David Cummings and Palm Beach County Sports Commission Executive Director George Linley during a session moderated by Michael Prince, president and CEO of USPA Global Licensing. The speakers not only provided an in-depth overview of the upcoming tournament highlights, but also shared details about its impact on the Palm Beach County community and discussed how the Gauntlet will change the trajectory of the sport and increase player participation. The Gauntlet already brings great value to the table for players and fans alike, and will have a monumental impact on the destination’s economy, its global media exposure, future business development and continuing community engagement.
“From a player standpoint, it’s important to know that the sport is evolving,” Puetz said. “The evolution of the sport will play a huge role for young polo players, who will be watching closely to see the types of competition they can aspire to join in the future and who will be motivated by the Gauntlet’s success. The Gauntlet of Polo is going to elevate and test all of the participating teams, and the players are going to test themselves, and they are all eager to accept the Gauntlet’s challenge.”
This thrilling, high-stakes event will span three months at the U.S. Polo Assn. field at IPC in Wellington. Internationally acclaimed polo stars such as Jared Zenni, Luis Escobar and Agustin Merlos, who were on hand for the media event, acknowledged that they have been strategizing for months and pre-planning the coordination of the polo horses and the team. The players in attendance said that they are thrilled to compete for the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup and USPA Gold Cup, as well as the lauded U.S. Open Polo Championship. If a team wins all three tournaments, they will be crowned Gauntlet Champion in a winner-take-all format, bringing home the largest prize purse in polo history.
The Gauntlet is expected to draw tens of thousands of fans from around the world to the area from February through April. Each tournament will be livestreamed on USPA Polo Network each week, and the final match will be viewed by millions of people on CBS Sports on April 28 at 2 p.m. The final match will also be re-aired globally in Latin America, Europe, Asia and India.
Tickets for all Gauntlet of Polo events are available for purchase at www.internationalpoloclub.com.