Galloping with colors at the Gay Polo Tournament in Wellington
Photos by the Gay Polo League
From April 7 to 10, the Gay Polo League (GPL) will host their annual tournament. The LEXUS International Gay Polo Tournament is presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate and is held at the International Polo Club in Wellington. The game will consist of four polo teams and they will each compete for the GPL Perpetual Trophies: The Senators Cup and The Founders Cup.
The GPL is the only LGBTQ+ polo organization in the world and its annual tournament is one of many highly anticipated equestrian events. The tournament, held at the International Polo Club, allows polo players to join from the ages 23–73. The league assigns teams based on the players rankings.
Mr. Chip McKenney founded the league in 2006. For the first half of his adult life, he kept his sexual orientation a secret. After opening up, McKenney began searching for new ways to connect with people. He was an avid equestrian athlete, and when he took a polo lesson in California the rest was history.
Seven years later, GPL has grown to include members from 14 countries. Participants travel from all over the world to attend its annual tournament. McKenney describes this event as “the love child of Pretty Woman and Burning Man.”
GPL aims to raise money from the tournament to help fund LGBTQ+ organizations. They donated $4,700 in 2018 to the Compass Youth Program for new computers to homeless youths. In 2019 and 2020, they donated over $20,000 to SAGE, a national advocacy organization for LGBTQ+.
The league plans for a big turnout this year, after COVID-19 led to cancellation in 2020 and low attendance in 2021.
The 2022 tournament will donate all proceeds to the OnePULSE Foundation, an organization started by the owner of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were killed in a 2016 shooting.
You can purchase tickets for the VIP pavilion or tailgate tent. The VIP pavilion is presented by Cherry Knoll Farm and offers a premier experience with an open bar and gourmet food. VIP parking is included. Tickets and more information can be found at www.gaypolo.com.