Wellington, FL – April 5, 2010 – The First Annual International Gay Polo Tournament was a huge success on and off the field.
Equestrian Life, led by 6-goaler Juan Bollini, edged bluhorse 4-3 to win the championship game played in front of almost 1,500 spectators at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington.
In the preliminary game, 7-goaler Jeff Blake scored on a breakaway with 31 seconds remaining to lift Step by Step Foundation over Buchanan Screen, Rail & Windows 5-4. Blake scored all five goals for Step by Step. Nine-goaler Nicolas Roldan scored three goals for Buchanan Screen, Rail & Windows and Jack Hoffman added one goal.
Bollini scored both of his goals in the final chukker to lead Equestrian Life. Gay Polo League (GPL) Founder and President Chip McKenney and Gordon Ross also scored for the winners.
Former 5-goaler John Wigdahl of bluhorse, currently the president of GPL, Southern Florida chapter, was named the MVP Amateur. His 40-yard penalty shot in the third chukker gave bluhorse a 3-2 lead.
McKenney, whose goal gave Equestrian Life a 1-0 lead, was thrilled with the entire event.
“Wellington is the polo capital,” said the 51-year-old McKenney, who lives in Los Angeles. “If you want to be taken seriously, you have got to play here.
“The pros were amazing. I think we’re all leaving as better players. In the fourth chukker, in every game, we were better than we were in the first chukker. We want to return next year and make this a tradition.”
Each of the four teams were anchored by a professional player – 9-goaler Nicolas Roldan (Buchanan), 7-goaler Jeff Blake (Step by Step), 6-goaler Juan Bollini (Equestrian Life) and 5-goaler Joey Casey (bluhorse).
McKenney was praised by all of the participants, including Lowell Gibbs, who played for Step by Step Foundation.
“Chip’s vision is what got us playing here,” said Gibbs.
Six-time U.S. Olympic dressage rider Robert Dover, a long-time Wellington resident, was among those enjoying the game in the VIP tent.
“It is such a pleasure and an honor to have this event in Wellington,” Dover told the crowd during the trophy ceremony.
Equestrian Life, sponsor of the winning team, enjoyed their time at the tournament and were elated about the team’s victory. Deana Bergquist, Co-Founder & President, Equestrian Life explained, “Equestrian Life is proud that Chip McKenney and Tom Landry led the Equestrian Life team to victory on Saturday in the inaugural Gay Polo League (GPL) tournament in Wellington at the Grand Champion Polo Club’s fields. More importantly, though, we are proud of the successful efforts of the GPL and all its members to create an opportunity for more people to participate in the great sport of polo.”
Equestrian Life is dedicated to bringing together people around their passion for horses across all disciplines via their Web site at www.equestrianlife.com and their soon to launch television programs on HRTV.
Berquist added, “Congratulations to everyone who participated in the inaugural GPL tournament, we look forward to watching the GPL continue to grow in popularity and participation worldwide.”
Among those in attendance were Senator Ted Deutch, former U.S. Congressman Mark Foley, socialite Gale Brophy, who owned Strike the Gold, the 1991 Kentucky Derby winner as well as several top polo pros, including Nacho Figueras and Adolfo Cambiaso.
Sponsors included Baterbys Art Auction Gallery, Bluhorse Clothing Company, Equestrian Life, Step by Step Foundation, Tackeria, Melissa and Marc Ganzi, Tudor & Company, Palm Beach Rox, Inc., Joy and Hugh Bancroft, Bright Star 158 LLC, Gracie Street Interior Design, Steed Training (Rick Steed), Taylor Made Café and the Gay Polo League.
Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386