Gay Polo League Tournament Returns To IPC In Wellington This Weekend

The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, will feature four days of festivities at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington from April 7 through April 10.

Beginning with an invitation-only Thursday night VIP Reception at the 7th Chukker, players and sponsors will have the opportunity to meet and greet while hearing about the 2022 festivities and its benefiting charity, the onePULSE Foundation.

Friday kicks off with the Gay Polo League (GPL) Senator Cup preliminary matches before the fun turns up a notch during the GPL Polotini’s Wigstock, presented by Baccarat, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at IPC’s Mallet Grille. Experience hair-raising fun, cocktails and light bites, live entertainment and dancing. Tickets are $250.

On Saturday, the gates open at 8 a.m. when tailgaters will begin to deck out their tents before the 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.

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 8.

Sunday is the conclusion of the weekend with an exclusive brunch beginning at 1 p.m. in the Mallet Grille. Relax while indulging in delicious foods, cocktails and great company while watching a U.S. Open polo match. Tickets are $150.

Founded in 2006 by Chip McKenney, the tournament ­has grown in popularity, creativity and impact with nearly 3,000 players, attendees and merrymakers from around the world attending the event annually. 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 work expands beyond the game of polo and equestrian sports, and the Gay Polo League was recently 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,” McKenney said. “This reflects a belief in the value our event 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 onePULSE Foundation, an organization born after the tragic events that unfolded at Pulse Nightclub where 49 people lost their lives in 2016.

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

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