Sunday afternoon, the sporty, the social, and those seeking out the Florida sunshine — in particular, polo enthusiasts from over 20 countries and all 50 states — saw the conclusion of the 2015 Palm Beach polo season (a high-goal winter polo season) at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, FL.
Perhaps the epicenter of all things equine, this premier polo destination hosts some of the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States.
A coveted cup of the “Sport of Kings,” the annual U.S. Open Polo Championship attracts top players from around the world… and has since it began in Van Cortlandt Park, NY in 1904. Since 2004, the tournament’s home has been in sunny Wellington, and this year attendees were treated to a match that pitted the world’s very best player against his closely ranked #2 rival.
Valiente’s Bob Jornayvaz (team patron, Owner and Principal at Intrepid Mining, LLC), Alejo Taranco, Guillermo Terrera, and Adolfo Cambiaso (considered the top player in the game for the last 20 years) took on Orchard Hill’s Steve Van Andel (team patron, Founder Amway), Polito Pieres, Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario, and Facundo Pieres (currently #2 ranked player in the world).
But not all of the action was on the field. As the players battled it out in an adrenaline filled high stakes match, the event’s jet-and-style-setter social set was creating its own friendly competition in the grandstands (field tailgates/lawn seats/sponsor boxes as the case may be).
Whether speculating on the winning team, taking odds on the number mimosas they could handle with their smorgasbord brunch buffet, betting on a lively and entertaining Veuve Clicquot sponsored divot stomp, or taking a gamble on an ostentatious outfit or proper polo hat topper, it was clear from the 111th event’s sold out crowd of thousands that the day’s stakes weren’t just about the sport, but equally about the scene.
So yes, Valiant defeated Orchard Hill, and Cambiaso maintained his status as the #1 chukker champion, and also yes, at the end of the match, everyone rushed to the afterparty feeling like a well-heeled winner.
Kate Michael is a Writer, Emcee, On-Camera Host and Fashion/Commercial Model. Follow her at @kstreetkate