Polo adapts to ‘new normal’

Polo adapts to ‘new normal’

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

One of the world’s most recognizable polo events is in the books for 2020. The reconfigured Stella Artois Polo Classic: Presented by Kettle One wrapped up a day of festivities November 7 with new victors—and rave reviews from attendees for the socially distanced setting at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

As part of the city of Scottsdale-approved changes for 2020 and after receiving certification from HealthyVerify, the Stella Artois Polo Classic returned with a reduced capacity of 3,132, which was sold out. The event featured an extensive social distancing plan, mandatory masks for guests, sanitation stations, temperature checks and an all open-air approach with tables, lattice fencing and umbrellas instead of tents.

The day kicked off with Scottsdale Maserati’s Arizona Polo Club victorious over Mark Taylor Residential’s Denver Polo Club 6-5. Diego Florez scored four of the Arizona team’s goals.

In the featured match of the day, EPR Polo went head to head with Celebrity Cruises in a match supporting Arizona Equine Rescue and Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. Celebrity Cruises won 6-4, and the match donated $10,000 to the benefiting charities.

In the final match of the day, alumni representing Safeway Albertson’s Work to Ride took on Sanderson Lincoln’s Women’s All-Stars, resulting in an 8-4 victory.

Fans also enjoyed a variety of shows within the show, including Phoenix Fashion Week’s Longest Catwalk Fashion Show, as well as the Canine Couture presented by Lugari Pet Salon, which gave 35 canines a chance to compete for prizes.

Arianna Dueñez with Brownie (shih tzu) won Best in Show, Bernadette Parra with Lucky (shih tzu) won Best Costume, Damaris Portillo with Molly (pug mix) won Fancy Fifi and Jason Gunawardena with Enzo (Yorkie) was awarded Bow Tie Stud. All winners received cash prizes, ribbons and gift baskets from Lugari Pet Salon.

Fans enjoyed halftime performances by the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, a preview of Barrett-Jackson’s 2021 Collector Car Auction and luxury car displays by McLaren Scottsdale, Scottsdale Maserati, Courtesy Volvo, Sanderson Lincoln, Earnhardt Genesis of North Scottsdale and others.

Attendees also enjoyed another new charity experience called “Million Dollar Mingle.” The concept was organized and led by former NFL Player AC Caswell and brought together celebrities, professional athletes, corporate executives and socialites to support local charities. To conclude the day and night, R Entertainment produced a “drive-in” concert with local rocker Roger Clyne.

The following charities were also able to raise money through the event for their programs and services: Phoenix Chapter of African American Scholar Athletes, Phoenix Children’s Museum, Hoof and Paw Rescue and Vision Lake Consulting.

The event will return as The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships in November 2021.

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