Herrouin will be playing alongside Chip McKenney, Gordon Ross and Dwight Tran. Photo by Scott Fisher.
WELLINGTON, FL – October 24, 2014 — The Gay Polo League takes center stage Saturday on the opening day of the fourth annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower at WestWorld of Scottsdale, Ariz.
It marks the first time the Wellington-based GPL has been invited to compete in America’s most attended polo event expected to attract 15,000 polo fans to the Omni Scottsdale Polo Field.
The GPL’s all-star team features Dwight Tran, Gordon Ross, Jean-Marc Herrouin and team captain Chip McKenney, GPL founder and president.
The GPL opens the two-day, premier four-match schedule on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. when the Sophisticated Living Gay Polo League team takes on the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia Arizona Polo Club team of Diego Florez, Bill Clark, Bill Stalcup, Dan Urness, Natalie Grancharov and Andres Camacho.
“I am very excited for the opportunity,” said California-based Herrouin, last year’s Most Valuable Player at the 5th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament in Wellington.
“I am looking forward to playing in front of the Arizona fans and hopeful our team will win. The adrenaline and the build-up is definitely intense at the moment. I am looking forward to channeling all of that into a great performance.”
Herrouin, a seven-year veteran player, was a member of last year’s Senator Cup champion RBC Wealth Management team at the 5th Annual International Gay Polo League Tournament. Herrouin has competed in all five GPL tournaments.
Herrouin is impressed by the Scottsdale tournament which has made great strides over the years to attract more fans to the sport and is looking forward to playing in front of the largest crowd he has seen for a polo game.
“It is a great sign for polo,” Herrouin said. “It just goes to show if the promoters of the event plan ahead and do a good job, then you will get this kind of turnout.
“It is incredible that so many people will be there to watch us. It is by far the largest group of polo spectators I have seen and played in front of.”
The exposure is also expected to generate more interest in the GPL and attract potential players.
“It will be a great opportunity for us to play in front of such a large crowd and have the opportunity to attract new members,” Herrouin said. “Hopefully, we will do a good job.
“We have been playing together for six years. I think it will come together once it is on the field. We have a really good shot of kicking some butt.”
The Gay Polo League, created in 2006, is an international organization and only organized gay polo league in the world.
The two-day Scottsdale event, which is promoting a diversity theme, includes four matches with teams from all the world and will feature some of the world’s top players including Julio Arellano, Sunny Hale and France’s top gay player, Caroline Anier.
The Wellington-based Gay Polo League’s flagship event is the International Gay Polo League Tournament Week which celebrated its fifth anniversary in April with a record five teams at Grand Champions and moves to world-class International Polo Club Palm Beach in April 2015.
The event was live-streamed worldwide for the first time and featured in a 15-page spread in Polo International Magazine, polo’s premier magazine and other periodicals.
Players travel from all over the world for not only the competition but camaraderie. The GPL has four U.S. chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Wellington.
GPL players come from several countries including France, England, Argentina, South Africa, Canada and Australia.
Attendance at the International GPL Tournament has grown from 1,500 in its inaugural year to more than 5,000. Spectators have grown so interested in the sport several have taken polo lessons and attended other polo games.
Sharon Robb for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International