Tag Archives: Gladiator Polo

Team Charlotte Fights to Victory in Gladiator Polo “Battle for North Carolina”

Team Charlotte. Photo Credit ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – June 16, 2018 – The Gladiator Polo™ “Battle for North Carolina” saw Team Charlotte, sponsored by North Carolina Education Lottery, avenge last year’s loss to defeat Team Asheville, sponsored by Ingles Markets, 13-12, after an intense battle in the George Morris Arena at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

Team Asheville was held scoreless until the second chukker and trailed by four until the fifth, but the match came down to the final second of play: Team Asheville was able to put up a trio of points to close the gap in the fifth chukker and trailed by one heading into the sixth. Collingwood was able to slam a two-point goal to keep Charlotte’s dream alive, and when the final horn sounded, the team in teal remained on top.

Team Asheville, sponsored by Ingles Markets, was comprised of Santi “The Polo Kid” Torres, Nano “The Snake” Gracida, and Patrick “Tricky” Uretz, in purple. Team Charlotte, sponsored by North Carolina Education Lottery, saw teal jerseys donned by Mariano “Nino” Obregon, Tommy “The Great White Shark” Collingwood, and Kris “Colorado” Kampsen.

Tommy “The Great White Shark” Collingwood, a newcomer to Gladiator Polo™, scored the first goal of the match as well as the two-point shot that sealed the deal for Team Charlotte, ultimately being named the night’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts. Collingwood, 25, is a two-time winner of the $100,000 World Cup and complimented his team’s chemistry as well as the venue:

“This game was crazy. Team Asheville was pretty unlucky when we took the seven-goal lead, which can sometimes come back to bite you, and it almost did,” he admitted. “In the second half, Team Asheville played unbelievable and almost took the game right out of our hands. But luckily, we got a few quick goals at the end that gave us the lead. The great thing about our team is we all get along very well, which kept it very natural despite the intensity.

“It has been a great experience so far,” said Collingwood. “This arena is unbelievable. I personally know the Bellissimo family and [Mark] does an incredible job in Florida, and an incredible job around the country. TIEC is an amazing facility for world-class riders from every part of the sport, and my hat is off to them.”

Both Kampsen and Obregon credited Collingwood with the victory, and both acknowledged that Team Asheville didn’t go down without a fight: “It got very rough and physical, and Asheville really brought it to us with physicality in the game,” said Kampsen. “They had a bad first few chukkers, and we were lucky to capitalize on that, and that helped us hang on to that lead at the end. Tommy saved us with the two-pointer at the end – that was huge. Our plan always was to play strong defense, and allowing that to lead us into offense.”

Kampsen, a three-time winner of the U.S. Arena Polo Open Championship®, was notably effective muscle for Team Charlotte, but humbly credited his teammates for the opportunities they created, saying, “Following Nino and Tommy worked well, and just picking up whatever they left!”

“It was really intense,” added Obregon, who is coming off a recent U.S. Open Polo Championship® win. “It got kind of competitive at the end. The arena plays amazing, and it’s very open, and the crowd is great. It’s a lot of fun!”

Heading into next week’s final, Team Charlotte plans to study film and discuss strategy to overcome Team Greenville, and all players emphasized the importance of a good North Carolina crowd against the strong South Carolina opponent. “Come cheer us on in the finals, North Carolina! We’re going to need you,” concluded Obregon.

Gladiator Polo™ was inspired by Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG) and Managing Partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) and Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP), who understood that the sport of polo was in desperate need of revitalization in order to attract and broaden its traditional audience base. Combining elements of both Field Polo and Arena Polo, the concept of Gladiator Polo™ took form in Wellington, FL during the annual high goal season in South Florida and from there, the game expanded and has garnered both a national and international following. This is the second season that Gladiator Polo™ has been played at TIEC.

The “Battle for the Carolinas” Series presented by Coca-Cola® will conclude on Saturday, June 23. Team Charlotte, sponsored by North Carolina Education Lottery, will compete against Team Greenville, sponsored by Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, for the coveted champion title.

For more information on Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com. To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Team Greenville Prevails in Gladiator Polo “Battle for South Carolina”

Photo Credit ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – June 8, 2018 – Gladiator Polo™ presented by Coca-Cola® returned to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to kick off the “Battle for the Carolinas” Series presented by Coca-Cola® with the “Battle for South Carolina”. Team Greenville emerged victorious at the close of six chukkers, with a final score of 11-7. Both were sponsored by Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP).

Team Greenville, comprised of Jared “The Fuego from San Diego” Sheldon, Pelon “Bam Bam” Escapite, and Jared “Soco” Zenni, held the lead throughout the entire match and surged ahead in the second half to lead by five. Team Spartanburg, comprised of Obregon brothers Juan Martin “The Stitcher”, Facundo “Chachi”, and Geronimo “Chori”, put up a fierce fight in the last chukker, but were unable to close the gap and avenge last season’s defeat. Team Greenville is chasing their own revenge: in last year’s $50,000 “Battle for the Carolinas” Final presented by Coca-Cola®, Team Asheville prevailed 14-10.

Pelon “Bam Bam” Escapite was named MVP, scoring six points throughout the intense competition, but his teammates are well-decorated, too: Jared Zenni recently became the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final, and Jared Sheldon is a back-to-back winner of the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship®.

Escapite complimented his two new teammates and emphasized how important crowd energy was to their performance. “This year is a different crew. I played against Jared Zenni last year in Gladiator Polo™, and I have played outdoor with Jared Sheldon this past year. To get in here and come out with this win is very important,” he continued. “We needed a little bit of time to figure each other out, but after the third chukker we really worked well together. [Both Sheldon and I] are aggressive players, and it took us until the fifth chukker to click. Having Jared Zenni on the team, he brought a lot of energy and he played very consistent throughout the whole game and I think that kept us very honest,” he added.

Newcomer to Gladiator Polo™ and to Team Greenville, Jared Sheldon, noted that the innovative sport took a little bit of adjustment: “This arena definitely took me three chukkers to figure out, especially the angles on the goals,” he admitted. “The game was fun, fast, open, and there were not too many penalties. It was so much fun overall and I’m looking forward to coming back for the finals on June 23rd! We want the crowd to get as rowdy as possible and we want everyone to come on out,” he emphasized.

Jared Zenni has now participated in a three Gladiator Polo™ matches at TIEC, and notched his first win with Team Greenville. “It feels great to finally win,” he recounted. “I had never played arena polo before Gladiator Polo™, so it has taken me a little while to figure it out and adapt to it. It is a totally different game, but every time I play I am able figure it out and read my teammates better, and tonight they played amazing.”

Zenni echoed Escapite’s emphasis on the importance of a great crowd on Saturday, June 23. “I’m really excited for the Final,” said Zenni. “I think the crowd is going to be amazing and a lot of fun. I love when the crowd gets into it and they start yelling and cheering for Team Greenville and South Carolina. When you are a player, we get pretty tired, you wouldn’t think we get pretty tired, but we do, so the having the fans behind us really makes a difference in that last half.”

For more information on Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com. To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Gladiator Polo Returns to TIEC June 8 for Three-Game ‘Battle for the Carolinas’ Series

Photo Credit ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – May 29, 2018 – After a successful inaugural season at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in 2017, the fast-paced sport of Gladiator Polo™ is back for another month of action-packed competition. Gladiator Polo™ served as a crowd favorite last season and the 2018 calendar will not disappoint. The “Battle for the Carolinas” Series begins with the ‘Battle for South Carolina’ on Friday, June 8, followed by the ‘Battle for North Carolina’ on Saturday, June 16, and concludes with the Gladiator Polo™ Battle for the Carolinas – North Carolina vs. South Carolina Final on Saturday, June 23.

The fun will begin each evening at 6:00 p.m. with TIEC’s signature entertainment including free carousel and pony rides, face painting, live music, Gladiator-inspired activities, and more. There will be an exclusive autograph signing session with players in the front of Legends Plaza before the game, as well as a player Meet-and-Greet after the game at the Silo Bar. Fans of all ages can enjoy an authentic Argentine Asado buffet from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. in the Legends Club. The first Gladiator Polo™ match of the season will start at 8:00 p.m. Tryon Resort’s onsite shops, restaurants and bars will be open throughout the night. General admission and parking at Tryon Resort are free.

“Our organization has been very excited to announce the Gladiator Polo™ schedule for this season at TIEC. We received such a tremendous response to the tournaments we hosted last year and wanted to ensure top tournament play remains on the event calendar here for many years to come,” said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG) and managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP). “Gladiator Polo™ has allowed us to bring more focus and attention to the sport of polo, which has been our mission since getting more heavily involved with the sport two years ago. We anticipate a very competitive season this year and are eager to welcome our Gladiator Polo™ fans back to the venue in June.”

The first installment of Gladiator Polo™ will welcome Team Greenville and Team Spartanburg on Friday, June 8, in the “Battle for South Carolina.” The second match, taking place on Saturday, June 16, will see Team Asheville, sponsored by Ingles, and Team Charlotte duke it out during the “Battle for North Carolina.” The third and final game of the season, “Battle for the Carolinas”, will take place on Saturday, June 23.

During Gladiator Polo™ matches, two teams of three players are pitted against each other in an enclosed arena, giving spectators an up close and personal look at the action. In this Roman-themed event, horse and rider teams wear distinctive colors – from the players’ helmets all the way down to the horses’ leg wraps – making it easy for spectators to follow the game and cheer on their favorite team.

The game consists of six chukkers, or six periods of five minutes each. Riders change horses at the end of each chukker. Gladiator Polo™ does not require the large number of horses to play that outdoor/grass polo demands. Many Gladiator Polo™ players use five to six horses in their string as opposed to the traditional ten to twelve.

The Gladiator Polo™ ball is similar to a mini soccer ball, larger than the small and hard plastic ball used outdoors. While the larger size gives the new player confidence in learning to hit the ball, proper technique is necessary because the arena game is played on a dirt surface with the ball bouncing on the uneven surface and off the arena wall.

Unlike traditional equestrian competitions where audience participation is encouraged only before and after a rider competes, Gladiator Polo™ is fueled by a rowdy crowd. Spectators are encouraged to cheer on their favorite team throughout the entire match.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Team Asheville Upsets Team Greenville in Gladiator Polo “Battle for the Carolinas” Final

Photo Credit ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – September 30, 2017 – Team Asheville presented by Ingles Markets took a surprising lead in the Gladiator Polo™ $50,000 “Battle for the Carolinas” Final presented by Coca-Cola® and never looked back, topping match favorite, Team Greenville presented by Greenville Turf & Tractor, to earn the coveted honors in the series finale. Team Asheville roared to victory, outscoring Team Greenville 14-10 at the final buzzer to clinch the overall Gladiator Polo™ “Battle for the Carolinas” title.

The Gladiator Polo™ “Battle for the Carolinas” Series began in late June and revved back up at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in early September, featuring four competitive matches between a set of teams from North Carolina and another from South Carolina: Team Greenville, Team Spartanburg, Team Asheville, and Team Charlotte.

Offensive powerhouse Team Greenville faced off against a trio of young guns in Team Asheville, who ultimately set the tone of the match and outpaced the veteran group of Team Greenville in the early chukkers. While Team Greenville attempted to make a comeback late in the fifth chukker, Team Asheville held them at bay and capitalized on key plays, ultimately helping them secure the win.

“The night was great. The crowd was even better than the last one. We threw out some crucial two pointers in the second chukker that really stepped up our game and gave us a heavy lead,” said Patrick Uretz, who was voted the Most Valuable Player of the match. “From then on we just kept the momentum going. Costi was so fast up front that it makes my job in the back really easy. That was the key to success today, my team’s quickness.”

Urtez has been the quiet yet consistent force for Team Asheville, playing a stellar game only a few weeks ago against Team Charlotte to push his team through to the final match. The more defensive-minded Uretz helped regulate the play of Team Asheville and has become a standout player in Gladiator Polo™ play.

“This is so cool to be able to come here and have people screaming my name,” smiled Uretz. “They know us and we get to represent a great city like Asheville. They gave us a lot of support, so it’s great to have them around and cheering, like when you score a free throw in the NBA – totally amazing. The future of Gladiator Polo™ looks bright and I hope to be a part of it.”

Urtez played alongside teammates Costi Caset and Geronimo Obregon, who meshed well as a team in their two matches together and each display different strengths and talents on and off the ball in play.

“I think the team played really well. I think our strength was always having a man in the back and pushing forward,” commented Obregon. “They never caught us flat-footed and they never really scored a goal in the breakaway. We played a lot better with that than last time, and we shot a lot better from outside the two point and that just changed the whole game.”

Caset accounted for many of the goals Team Asheville was able to safely put away. His speed combined with his tricky mallet and ball work pose a major threat upfront in offensive play. A perfect complement to his defensive teammate Uretz, Caset elaborated on the importance of Team Asheville’s two point plays, helping to further separate the score. He said, “It was a really close game on a tight playing field. I think we made the difference with making the two pointers, and before the game we made a plan to go for clean shots and when we could we went for those shots, and luckily they went in.”

In only his second appearance in the Gladiator Polo™ Fall Series at TIEC, Caset commented on the improvement Team Asheville experienced from their first appearance to their play tonight in the series final and how the energy of the crowd helped to change the momentum of the game.

“The night was amazing, even better than I could’ve imagined. I think we played against a great team, but we knew we had the chance to win if we played well, so this was amazing,” he added. “The arena is unbelievable. The footing, the size of the arena, around so many people, everything is perfect. I see a lot of potential in Gladiator Polo™. It’s growing really quickly, as it only started at the beginning of the year and it’ll only get bigger.”

Gladiator Polo™ was inspired by an ideology of Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG) and managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) and Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP), that the sport of polo was in desperate need of a revitalization in order to attract and broaden its traditional audience base. Combining elements of both Field Polo and Arena Polo, the concept of Gladiator Polo™ took form in Wellington, FL during the annual High Goal season in South Florida and from there the game expanded and has garnered both a national and international following.

“We have been thrilled with the support and engagement of the fans and spectators surrounding Gladiator Polo™ this year at TIEC and have been thoroughly impressed with the level of play we’ve seen across the board from each of the participating players,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon International Equestrian Center. “Our goal is to expand this game on both a national and international level and feel that these players and this atmosphere translates well anywhere in the world. We’re looking forward to the future of this game and are already planning the return of the series to this venue in 2018.”

For more information on Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Inaugural Showcase of Gladiator Polo Brings Record Crowd to TIEC

Photo Credit ©MegBanks/TIEC.

Team Greenville Surpasses Team Charlotte 6-5 to Capture Top Honors

Mill Spring, NC – June 24, 2017 – Welcoming a crowd of more than 10,000 fans and spectators, the first Gladiator Polo™ presented by Coca-Cola™ game held at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) exceeded all expectations. Hosting an enthusiastic and engaged crowd while simultaneously showcasing the rapidly expanding sport of arena polo, the match featured two teams of top international arena polo players. The game saw Team Greenville sponsored by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, top Team Charlotte sponsored by Circle K, 6-5 in a riveting six-chukker match.

The seating of George H. Morris Arena was filled to capacity with spectators, fans, and families eager to watch, learn, and participate in the high-paced and action-packed arena polo game, which brought together teams representing two of the major cities in close regional proximity to the venue, Charlotte, NC, and Greenville, SC. The event saw crowds begin to pour into the venue nearly two hours ahead of the scheduled start of the match, which began at 8:00 p.m. and continued on under the lights.

“Tonight was just unbelievable. It was something unique. I’ve never played in front of a crowd that big before,” said Mariano Obregon, who was a member of the winning Team Greenville. “Everyone was cheering so loud and it was just a great experience. I’m really hoping that we get to do it again.”

Each of the six players selected to participate in the inaugural match at TIEC have built impressive records and amassed top performances in the sport of arena polo, which has grasped tightly to a new, forward-thinking spin on field polo, helping to bring a fresh energy and flare for both players and fans.

“That crowd really gets you going. We were down by one or two the whole game and they lift you in those moments. You get into it and you put your heart into it to get the people behind you,” added teammate Carlucho Arellano. “It was just an incredible night.”

Gladiator Polo™ is a direct example of the creativity derived from Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP). Bellissimo realized early on after acquiring the International Polo Club Palm Beach with the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) in 2016 that a transformation was desperately needed for one of civilization’s oldest sports. He put forth the Gladiator Polo™ concept in Wellington, FL, a world-renowned hub for international and national polo players during the winter season, in early 2017 to gauge response and interest. The concept blossomed, giving players an entirely new platform to demonstrate their skills while reaching a broadened audience.

With a series of matches highlighting the Gladiator Polo™ season in Wellington, FL, Bellissimo announced the arrival of the sport at TIEC in early May, marking a substantial step forward in the effort to bring the game to a more expansive national and international audience.

“The community in this area has been so receptive and supportive to our concepts and events,” said Katherine Bellissimo, who also serves as a managing partner of TEP and oversees the marketing, communication, and sponsorship departments of the partnership. “Even when we first opened this facility and only hosted small grand prix classes on Sundays, we would still get a tremendous crowd. To see how that has expanded in only three years is truly incredible. We feel honored to experience such support and encouragement from this community, which has ultimately allowed us to grow and expand these sports to new heights.

“This game wouldn’t have been possible without the gracious support of our sponsors Coca-Cola™, Circle K, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, and the U.S. Polo Association,” she continued.

The game marked the first display of the sport of polo at TIEC and the players were thrilled with the positive response and final result of the game. Arellano commented, “It means so much to win this game tonight. You never know what to expect and everything just exceeded expectations, but foremost the crowd. They just blew us away.”

“The ring size was different from what we played with in Wellington and I think it was really interesting for the crowd and for us as players,” added Obregon. “You’re further away from the goal, so it’s harder to get to, which makes the play really interesting. You have to really play with your teammates and it becomes a more open game. It makes it more fun for us and the play becomes much more dynamic.”

Veteran force Pelon Escapite wowed throughout the game, showcasing his distinctive play and tenacity in the arena. Escapite was the heartbeat of the match, amassing goals, assisting plays and exemplifying an exceptional sense of hustle and accuracy in each of the six chukkers.

“As a player that kind of atmosphere is unbelievable and it makes you want to give it your all on every play. When you’re playing you’re surrounded by people cheering for you and against you. It’s just a great environment. It was great for the families here and great for the sport,” said Escapite.

Escapite was a standout player during the Gladiator Polo™ series in Wellington and was eager to participate in the next installment of the game at TIEC. He added, “I think this type of game is really appealing to the spectators. You can be up against the boards and all around the arena. It’s right there in front of you and it’s close. It’s like having courtside seats for every game.”

“The last goal of the game was for anyone today. I called Nino [Obregon] off the ball and he honored that and I scored. It was team play until the end,” explained Escapite. “The way the management of this series has been and the way Mark [Bellissimo] is promoting and providing a platform for this sport is unbelievable. We had concerns about the turnout with the potential weather tonight, but you wouldn’t have known with the crowd that came. To bring that many people here, to the first game ever held in this arena, is just impeccable work from Mark [Bellissimo] and his team.”

For more information on Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.tryon.com or www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Team Spiculus Captures $250,000 Gladiator Polo Title 17-10 in $50,000 Final Match

Team Spiculus player Pelon Escapite.

Wellington, FL – April 9, 2017 – Team Spiculus rode to a rugged win in the 2017 final of Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. tournament Saturday night, defeating Team Spartacus 17-10. The seven-game series took place at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as Equestrian Village, and began with four teams. Saturday’s game concluded the inaugural season.

The play of the day happened early in the game, when Sebastian Merlos launched the ball three-quarters the length of the arena for a 2-point goal. Merlos came through again for Spiculus with two 2-pointers in the third chukker. Felipe Viana, playing for Spartacus, also contributed three 2-pointers.

The Spiculus line-up of Merlos (9), Mariano Obregon (7) and Pelon Escapite (7) dominated play for most of the game. The score was tied at three going into the third chukker, but Spiculus promptly put an end to that and stormed ahead to an insurmountable 10-5 lead at halftime. The gap continued to widen systematically, with Spiculus leading 14-7 at the end of the fourth chukker and holding Spartacus scoreless. Merlos poured it on for two goals in the fifth, giving Spiculus a 9-goal lead.

Viana gave Spartacus a glimmer of hope in the final chukker, adding three points (one 2-pointer and a 1-pointer). Spiculus clearly would have none of that. They sewed up the 17-10 victory in the final chukker, courtesy of yet another goal by Merlos (9 points on the day).

Joining Viana (7) on the Spartacus line-up were Jason Crowder (7) and Tommy Biddle (10). They were among a group of last evening’s players who autographed complimentary Gladiator Polo T-shirts for spectators before the game.

“This has been a tremendous inaugural season for Gladiator Polo™,” said Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who organized and hosted the series. “We want to thank all the patrons, players and sponsors who generously supported the tournament and were so enthusiastic.” He added that Gladiator Polo™ will be back in Wellington for the full 12-week winter 2018 season.

Mackenzie Weisz in the youth chukker

“I am almost speechless,” said Missy Sullivan of Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division, who sponsored Spiculus. “Mark Bellissimo, with his endless vision and what he has done for the sport, never ceases to amaze me.”

In the youth chukker played before the game and at halftime, children of the world’s top players competed for the junior teams of Spiculus (Poroto Cambiaso, Santos Merlos and Kristos Magrini) and Spartacus (Lucas Criado, Mackenzie Weisz and Benjamin Quiroga).

Polo fans can learn what all three players on the winning Team Spiculus had to say after the game in exclusive interviews for the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) by Juan Cruz Diaz de Céspedes at www.internationalpoloclub.com.

To learn more about Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Witness $250k Gladiator Polo Final Match Sat., April 8, between Teams Spartacus and Spiculus

Wellington, FL – April 6, 2017 – The grand finale of the 2017 season’s hottest ticket, the $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ Final presented by U.S. Polo Assn. will take place this Saturday, April 8. The event is hosted at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) at13500 Southshore Blvd., Wellington, Florida.

With each team ranked between 23 and 26 goals, this will be one of the top arena polo matches in history. Total prize money for the final is $50,000, to be divided between the two teams. To showcase a gladiator theme, teams are all named after top Roman Gladiators: Spartacus, Crixus, Priscus and Spiculus. Team Spartacus and Team Spiculus have earned the right to battle it out in the final match.

The seven-game series began February 26, and has seen huge success since its inception. The final game has a later starting time than the previous matches. Gates will open on Saturday at 7:00 p.m., and the match will begin promptly at 8:00 p.m. Players will appear at a Meet & Greet before the game to talk with spectators and sign autographs.

While general admission is free, an optional dining experience, spectators can watch the game while enjoying an authentic asado buffet. The view of the competition doesn’t get any better than from the dining tent, where spectators get an up-close-and-personal view of the action. Asado tickets are $40 a piece, and reserved tables for six with premium VIP seating are available for $500 per table. Click here to purchase tickets for the event!

Top-rated Gladiator Polo™ player Tommy Biddle (10) is a member of Team Spartacus. “For me Gladiator Polo is the second-best thing to representing my country,” he said. “This event is doing great things for the sport of arena polo.” His teammates are Felipe Viana (7) and Jason Crowder (7). Spartacus’ team sponsor is Carol Sollak and Engel & Völkers.

Playing for Team Spiculus are Sebastian Merlos (9), Pelon Escapite (7) and Mariano Obregon (7).

“Gladiator Polo™ just keeps getting better,” said Merlos after a recent win. “We understand the game more now, and there is more speed.” He praised Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who created and organized Gladiator Polo™. “Mark has done a great job. He is very serious about bringing polo to the people and making it fun,” added Merlos.

Gladiator Polo™ players wear colorful jerseys to make the action easy to follow. Team jerseys are crafted by sponsor Horseware® Ireland. Roman-attired gladiators walk around the venue, greeting guests and posing for photo opportunities. The evening offers an optional asado buffet for just $40 as well as an after-party open to all at the onsite “Lions’ Den,” with music by DJ Maximus, drinks and dancing. Polo players mingle and socialize with the partygoers. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Spartacus Scuttles Priscus 18-11, Will Face Spiculus in Gladiator Polo Final April 8

Photo ©David Lominska/International Polo Club.

Wellington, FL – April 1, 2017 – In a sixth-chukker surge, Team Spartacus doubled their score and knocked Team Priscus out of the competition Friday, March 31, in round six of Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. Gladiator Polo™ takes place at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Team Spartacus’ win earned them a place in the Gladiator Polo™ League Final on Saturday, April 8. They will oppose Team Spiculus in the match.

With the game tied at nine going into the final chukker, Spartacus scored a stunning nine more goals to clinch the win 18-11. The 11th-hour victory was due in large part to three stunning 2-point goals by Spartacus (two of them by Tommy Biddle and the other by Felipe Viana). Biddle added another regular goal and teammate Jason Crowder contributed two, bringing their team’s game total to 18.

“It was a battle out there!” said Crowder, who credited the win to his teammates. Motioning to Biddle and Viana, he said, “They pulled it out with those 2-pointers and saved us.”

Viana received the MVP Award presented by the Triple Crown Group. He said he is “super-excited about the final,” adding, “We had won all our games but we still had to win tonight to get to there.”

Biddle, a legendary arena polo player who has competed all over the world, said, “For me Gladiator Polo™ is the second-best thing to representing my country. I am really excited to be part of the first final because this event is doing great things for the sport of arena polo.”

Spartacus’ sponsor, Carol Sollak of Engel & Völkers, said she was proud of her team. “They played amazing!” she said. “I’m very excited about the final. The boys are ready!”

Spartacus’ lineup was: Jason Crowder (7-goal arena handicap), Felipe Viana (7) and Tommy Biddle (10).

Nic Roldan (8) was high-scorer for Team Priscus, with seven goals. His teammates were Jeff Hall (8) and Facundo Obregon (7).

During halftime children of top international polo players competed in an exhibition chukker. Team Spartacus included Poroto Cambiaso, Fran Spinacci and Benja Quiroga. Santos Merlos, Kristos Magrini and Tobias Rey played for Team Priscus.

In the children’s chukker, Spartacus defeated Priscus 3-1. Magrini made the first goal. Then Cambiaso went on a scoring spree, with his last goal sealing the win for his team in the final 15 seconds of play.

Gates open at 7:00 p.m., and the game starts at 8:00 p.m. General admission is free. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Friday Night Fight-to-the-Finish at $250k Gladiator Polo to Determine Teams for Championship Final

Photo ©David Lominska.

Wellington, FL – March 29, 2017 – Teams Spartacus and Priscus are gearing up for what will be the most exciting game to date: round six of $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. on Friday, March 31. The competition takes place at Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), also known as “The Coliseum.”

The event pits top high-goal U.S. and international polo players against each other in the $33,000 match. The victors take home $24,000 and the opposing team receives $9,000. Friday’s event is the last round before the $50,000 Gladiator Polo™ Final on Saturday, April 8.

Three teams are still in contention for the Gladiator Polo League championship and the inaugural “Gladiator Cup” to be presented to the winner of the final. If Spartacus wins March 31 they advance to the finals and face Team Spiculus for the Championship. If Priscus wins there will be a three-way tie for first place among Spartacus, Priscus, and Spiculus (all would have records of 2-1). The tie would be broken by a penalty shootout.

Team Spartacus, sponsored Carol A. Sollak, P.A. and Engel & Völkers, features players Jason Crowder (7), Felipe Viana (7) and Tommy Biddle (10). The roster for Team Priscus, sponsored by Richard Schechter and Bainbridge Companies, includes Facundo Obregon (7), Nic Roldan (8) and Jeff Hall (7).

In the Roman-themed event, the horses and players wear a distinctive team color from head to toe (from the players’ helmets all the way down to the horses’ leg wraps). Team Spartacus is red, and Team Priscus is teal.

Results of the first five rounds, starting with round 1, are: Spartacus 23, Crixus 10; Spiculus 20, Priscus 9; Spartacus 13, Spiculus 10; Priscus 13, Crixus 12; Spiculus 15, Crixus 11.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and the game starts at 7:00 p.m. General admission is free. The Equestrian Village at PBIEC is located at 13500 South Shore Boulevard, Wellington, FL. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Spiculus Soars to 15-11 Win over Crixus in Round 5 of Gladiator Polo

Players from Team Spiculus and Team Crixus battle it out against the boards at the “Coliseum” at Equestrian Village. Photo ©David Lominska.

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2017 – Team Spiculus took a 15-11 win over Team Crixus in round five of $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ presented by the U.S. Polo Assn. on Thursday, March 16. This week’s $33,000 matchup between two titan teams was the highest-scoring match in the 7-game series. The event took place at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), where Roman-attired gladiators roamed about the venue, greeting guests and offering photo opportunities.

International superstar player Sebastian Merlos (arena handicap 9) was high-scorer of the game with 7 goals. He led his team in a battle to the finish, with Spiculus seizing control in the third chukker and never looking back. Merlos earned the MVP Award presented by the Triple Crown Group.

“Gladiator Polo just keeps getting better,” said Merlos after the victory, which marked his third game in the series. “We understand the game more now, and there is more speed.” He praised Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who created and organized Gladiator Polo. “Mark has done a great job. He is very serious about bringing polo to the people and making it fun,” added Merlos.

In addition to Merlos, the Spiculus lineup included Pelon Escapite and Mariano Obregon. Crixus players were Santi Torres, Matias Magrini and Mike Azzaro. Crixus is sponsored by U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Spiculus is sponsored by Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division.

“We are delighted to support such an exciting sport,” said an elated Missy Sullivan of Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division, after her team’s victory. “Anything to support polo and other equestrian sports in Wellington is great.”

As it stands now, three teams are still in contention for the Gladiator Polo™ League Championship and the inaugural “Gladiator Cup” to be presented to the winner of the April 8th Final. Team Spartacus is the only team that controls its destiny as they lead the league. If Team Spartacus wins on March 31st, they will go to the final and face Team Spiculus in the championship. If Spartacus loses there will be a three-way tie between Spartacus, Priscus, and Spiculus, who will all have records of 2-1, which will be determined by the tie breaking procedure.

Children of the world’s top polo players competed in a juniors’ match during halftime: Spiculus (Santos Melos, Kristos Magrini, Miguelito Novillo Astrada) took a 3-1 win over Crixus (Landi Daniels, Hope Arellano, Hunter Azzaro). Santos Merlos is the son of Sebastian Merlos, who watched proudly from the sidelines.

“I have four children, and they all love horses. To watch Santos play means so much to me. I kind of melt,” said an emotional Sebastian Merlos.

Spectators who purchased VIP tickets for the American-style Barbecue buffet, watched ringside from close-to-the-action tables in the main VIP Pavilion. A lively and packed after-party in the “Lion’s Den,” open to all, featured dancing to tunes spun by DJ Maximus.

The next game takes place Friday, March 31, and the final is Saturday evening, April 8. General admission is free. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Darlene Ricker
Media Relations
International Polo Club Palm Beach
dricker@internationalpoloclub.com
(310) 210-4004