Unique Flavors In A Fun Atmosphere At Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill

Unique Flavors In A Fun Atmosphere At Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill

Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill is serving up flavors that burst from unique recipes that dreams are made of.

Chef and owner Christian Ramirez not only follows his heart, but also his vivid dreams, to guide his creative cuisine at this family-owned restaurant.

“The name Q’Salsas came from a dream that I had,” Ramirez explained. “I love salsa music and salsa means ‘to sauce,’ so I wanted to give a name that will grab a smile from people.”

And people have been dining for the past three years at this rustic and inviting locale. Customers are welcomed by oversized booths and tables as they walk in.

“There are booths on both sides,” Ramirez said. “Customers tell me they feel like they’re on a train.”

Q’Salsas offers a casual but upscale feel as brightly colored hammocks are draped from the ceiling, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Music fills the background while the friendly staff serves up Columbian, Mexican and Peruvian fare.

“We just started a new menu. We offer different kinds of soups and salads. The new menu and some of the things I have now, they came from dreams,” Ramirez said. “I remembered the recipes, and I wanted to make it happen and see the dream come true.”

Ramirez’s dream began in Bogota, Colombia, where he was born. At age 8, he realized his love of food, flavor and bringing it all together by watching his grandmother and mother, a chef, cook family recipes.

He now puts his own twist on the family classics, with additional flavors, matching his lively personality.

“I came to the U.S. when I was 13. I wanted to become a chef. I went to culinary school at Lincoln College, got my bachelor’s degree, and from there I started cooking,” he said, noting that he gained experience at several prestigious establishments, including Mar-a-Lago. “I got a lot of knowledge from great chefs throughout Palm Beach County before I decided to open this restaurant.”

For starters, the “Chef’s Famous” lobster bisque is popular, ranging from $9 to $15.

The port wine poached pear salad with mixed greens is a unique blend of flavors. Shrimp, salmon or chicken can be added for an additional cost. Sweet corn cakes are also a staple.

The Trio Fajitas are among the most popular entrees, served with tender skirt steak, chicken and shrimp, tossed with zucchini, mixed bell peppers and bursts of flavor.

For those with a taste for Peruvian cuisine, the Lomo Saltado is a popular dish with marinated strips of sirloin with onions, served over a bed of French fries and a side of rice. Another Peruvian favorite is the ceviche made with white fish, corn, sweet potatoes and Leche de Tigre.

“Everything on the menu, the customers have been asking for. My goal is to make them happy,” Ramirez said.

From burritos to seafood, there’s also a selection of burgers, like the Avocado 2 Ways burger for $15. It’s topped with both fresh avocado and homemade guacamole, along with lettuce, tomatoes and a Mexican cheese blend.

For the kids, the Kung Fu Panda bowl made with beef, broccoli, rice and tomatoes is kicking up big taste for even picky eaters, according to Ramirez.

“People tell me, ‘I’ve never seen my kids eat beef.’ And, now they see the Kung Fu Panda bowl on the menu and want it instead of chicken tenders,” he said.

The 115-seat restaurant also serves breakfast until noon on weekends, from omelets to both Peruvian and Colombian dishes. There’s also an executive lunch offered ranging from $8 to $12. Daily happy hour is available from 4 to 7 p.m. with margaritas, Coronas and chips and salsa, all $3 each.

For a sweet way to wrap up a flavorful meal, try the newest dessert “Kiss of an Angel,” another creation inspired one night with flavors that vary daily, from blackberry to passion fruit, mango and more.

“It was in my dream. I was in the sky flying when I see an angel. He was eating dessert, and he told me how to make it. It was a sweet dream! So, I decided to put it on the menu. When I tell people, they laugh. They’re having a good time,” Ramirez said.

It’s a good time, that can be accompanied by a fresh coffee, espresso or the restaurant’s popular mocha latte to top off the dining experience.

“It’s all from the heart. I don’t compete with anybody but myself, and my goal is to make everyone happy,” said Ramirez, a man with a happy vision who is truly living his dream.

Q’Salsas Latin Bar & Grill is located at 123 S. State Road 7, Suite 201A, in the Publix plaza just south of Southern Blvd. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant is closed Monday. For more information, call (561) 619-9979 or visit www.qsalsas.com.

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Unique Equestrian Estates Available At Winding Trails

Unique Equestrian Estates Available At Winding Trails

With property in Wellington a premium, the architectural firm Cotleur & Hearing has teamed up with Ward Real Estate to convert a long-abandoned golf course along Aero Club Drive into nine unique estates called “Winding Trails.”

But these are not going to be just any estates. Each home will be on its own nearly 5-acre lot in a development enhanced with the shade, privacy and aesthetics of oak trees, palms, bougainvillea and clusia. Each home will enjoy its own lakeside view.

There will be room for stables, paddocks, practice rings and whatever else each owner dreams up. An equestrian-friendly trail around the perimeter will run alongside bright, fresh fencing. Separate points of entry utilizing private driveways and private gates will ensure the safety of both Winding Trails and adjacent Lakefield South residents alike. The grounds will all be under the protection of the Winding Trails Homeowners’ Association.

“These nine boutique properties are not for the person who has 20 horses,” Tricia Ward Holloway explained. “These are more for the horse owner who lives in Boca or Palm Beach. It’s a place they can come to on weekends or seasonally with all their needs consolidated into one property. Or maybe for an owner who wants to downsize from a huge barn.”

A Winding Trails model has just been completed that will give prospective buyers a good idea of what can be done. It features a three-bedroom, two-bath luxury owner’s apartment located on the second floor with a 10-stall barn and grooms’ quarters beneath.

The primary upstairs residence has vaulted and tray ceilings and a convenient entertainment center built-in, all of which add interest to a spacious, open floor plan. Banks of French doors with roll-down screens open onto an airy porch, making the porch a bit of a bonus room.

The model is decorator-furnished with high-end pieces. The kitchen features state-of-the-art Wolf appliances and the bathrooms boast imported marble with quartzite countertops in both baths and in the kitchen.

An elevator takes the owner down to the barn. Also located below is a one-bedroom, one-bath grooms’ quarters. Plans are also available to build homes and barns as separate buildings. Each property has been approved for up to 10 stalls, which is what is on display at the model.

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Designer’s Touch Jewelry Welcomes Community To Visit New Store Location

Designer’s Touch Jewelry Welcomes Community To Visit New Store Location

After many years of providing a bit of sparkle in the lives of Wellington residents, Designer’s Touch Jewelry has opened a new location with an eye on the future.

A true Florida native, Adam Yorke is the third generation in the jewelry business at Designer’s Touch. With roots going back to the Broward area in the 1980s, the firm started by his grandparents has had a convenient Wellington location since 2006. Now, it’s even more convenient with a new location at 2891 S. State Road 7, Suite 120, near Trader Joe’s in Wellington.

“My grandparents and parents have run the store, and now I am a part of it,” Yorke explained. “We’ve been a true family business for more than 35 years. Our business was established and built on trust and long-term relationships. Although we may have grown and developed into a bigger store in a nicer shopping center, we will always have that feeling of family and true personal care and attention to any jewelry want or need.”

Yorke is excited about the store’s recent move a few blocks down SR 7.

“Our new, more central, stand-alone location is near Trader Joe’s and Starbucks,” he said. “It’s a nicer place, a more modern venue, with updated tiles and nice lighting. While near the old location, it seems like a happier plaza environment that is more convenient for our existing customers and those who will become customers in the future.”

That clientele will find a great jeweler that does much more than just sell high-quality pieces. Designer’s Touch Jewelry uses artistry and technical know-how to design and create beautiful items.

With impeccable workmanship and a wide range of services, including jewelry cleaning and polishing, white gold dipping, heirloom repair and updating, they even carry the top brands for men’s and women’s watches, such as Michele, Movado, Citizen and more.

The store works with jewelry of all types and materials, including platinum, gold, white gold, silver and stainless steel, and with precious stones, such diamonds, gemstones and pearls.

“As for custom work, we can make anything, and it’s done by hand,” Yorke said. “Our customers can see the wax and mold of their piece before it’s created, and they are really made to be part of the process. We can use a customer’s gold and stones to turn old, rarely worn pieces into new and modern masterpieces.”

In addition to the custom work that Designer’s Touch is known for, the store has a reputation as the go-to experts for simple to intricate repairs.

“Our repairs are done in house. We have two expert jewelers on premise,” Yorke explained. “We make sure that the work is concise and quick, and that each customer is satisfied with the piece before walking away. One of the big benefits of this is having one of the jewelers be able to work hand-and-hand with a customer if needed, such as an intricate ring sizing or something along those lines.”

One thing Yorke is especially proud of is that his family’s work has been on hand in the marriage of so many Wellington couples.

“We truly have a variety of just about everything, but if I had to specify something we specialize in, it would probably be bridal jewelry,” Yorke said. “We truly have such a wide variety of diamonds and settings that you won’t really see anywhere else locally.”

When not working, Yorke helps teach a drumline at Palm Beach Central High School, and his mother is an avid painter who enjoys riding horses, so the Wellington community is a great home for them and their business.

“Since being here, it’s like we’ve grown a new family because Wellington is such a tightly knit community,” Yorke said. “Everyone seems to look after each other, and growing our business here, we’ve been able to see so much of that first hand and are happy to be able to serve the Wellington family and will continue to do so for years to come.”

Visit Designer’s Touch Jewelry at 2891 S. State Road 7, Suite 120, in Wellington, or call them at (561) 790-6220. Business hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit www.designerstouchjewelry.com for more information.

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Community Services Team Dedicated To Changing Lives In Wellington

Community Services Team Dedicated To Changing Lives In Wellington

Every municipality goes through the constant need to upgrade infrastructure to meet the needs of its population, but an integral part of making the Village of Wellington work for its people is the Community Services Department.

With a tightly knit group of individuals dedicated to helping their community, Community Services Director Paulette Edwards is proud of her team and the work being done every day.

“We’re a family that has come together to put our capes on and get out there and serve our citizens. They come up together with innovative ideas and always come to me with potential solutions, not just problems,” Edwards said. “I am the coach. I draw up the plays, and they go out and execute. They are passionate about what we are doing. It’s not just a job.”

Originally from Milwaukee, Edwards worked for almost 20 years with the City of Orlando, where she learned about some great programming initiatives and was excited to bring new ideas to Wellington.

Her team includes all demographics and ages, and the diversity reflects the population of Wellington itself. To meet the goal of becoming an inclusive community, the staff takes on a variety of tasks, including knocking on doors to help citizens in need. It was just such a case that led to Community Services Specialist Jenifer Brito saving a woman’s life.

“We got a call from village hall, and that’s when I started to go and check on her. We developed a relationship, and we went over and saw she had a really bad leg wound. I always take a fellow team member because we saw changes in her,” Brito explained.

Despite calling Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, the woman refused assistance and headed to New York. “The hospital in New York contacted me because she listed me as a contact and had my business card,” Brito said. “She was discharged back to Florida on a Thursday. I worried about her all weekend. On Monday, we needed to go check on her.”

That visit ended with emergency aid and the woman being rescued after being unable to get up from the floor for more than 36 hours. Brito discovered that had they not called for help, the resident would not have survived much longer.

Supporting Brito in helping the woman was Community Service Program Coordinator Kyle Ostroff. It all happened on his first day with Community Services. After being with the village for nearly 10 years, coming over from the Wellington Aquatics Complex, Ostroff has found that his work in a new department has changed his point of view.

“I grew up in Florida since fifth grade, and working here has been eye opening,” Ostroff said. “When this position opened, I thought it was a match made in heaven, and I like working with kids. Right now, we are working on the SWAG (Students Working to Achieve Greatness) program, where we tailor internships toward the students’ interest.”

In all, communication remains key, and the long-term goal of Community Services is to be a one-stop shop for information regarding any programs and services offered throughout the Village of Wellington.

Project Manager Gloria Kelly, who focuses on neighborhood needs, is also the go-to person for social media and communication for the rest of the department. She spent time working for the village both in social media communications and the Wellington Village Council’s office. This experience gives her more than just a diverse foundation.

“I grew up in Wellington. This past August, I moved over to the Community Services Department,” Kelly said. “We want to be that first step, so people don’t have to go to village hall or a council meeting to voice their concerns. We want to make sure to have contact and make sure they are stopping by our office to learn what resources are there.”

In many cases, residents’ feel that they need to go to the top of the administrative chain to get help or answers, but Community Services is there to connect first-hand with individuals, whether they are seniors or youth, affluent or in need of help.

“Right now, I’m on a mission to make community outreach efforts to all of our neighborhoods,” Kelly said. “I work with Neighborhood Watch captains a lot, so there can be a liaison to our office.”

Whether the team members are new, like Program Coordinator Gus Ponce, or have years in service as Code Enforcement Officer Helen Archer does, the group works as a cohesive unit of people filled with passion for what they do.

“The project that I love is the food drive. I know where it is going. I know these tenants, who the residents are — seeing their kids, I know their parents — and it’s really great to bring a smile to their faces,” Archer said. “We have so much, and you really don’t know that there are people in our community who have so little. The relationship between them and the village, it’s great.”

Community Grants Coordinator Jim Fackrell has worked for Wellington for more than six years. His résumé includes massive projects in his former home state of Wyoming, but he finds that the work being done here yields great impacts.

“We fund youth programs, Americans with Disability Act improvements and now a housing rehab program,” Fackrell said. “The Great Neighborhoods Program is one of the more successful programs, in my opinion. The program provides a forgivable loan so residents can complete repairs and bring their home up to code with our help.”

Edwards is proud of both her team and the direction of the Community Services Department. As a leader with passion herself, it works well for the team in its proactive pursuit of reaching out to the community.

“We are the department that can let residents know about what services are out there to help them,” Edwards said.

For more information about Wellington’s Community Services Department, call (561) 791-4796 or visit www.wellingtonfl.gov/communityservices.

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Dr. Andi Grossman Joins The Family Firm At Palms West Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Andi Grossman Joins The Family Firm At Palms West Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Andi Grossman was born into a veterinarian family, growing up as part of Palms West Veterinary Hospital, run since 2005 by her father Dr. Ira Grossman, who relocated from his successful practice in New York. They are a family who has devoted much of their lives to the pets of the Wellington area.

Grossman graduated from veterinary school in January and joined the family firm as the newest staff member at the veterinary hospital. But she has been following in her father’s footsteps and working around the practice her whole life.

“I love Wellington. I love the horses. I love animals. I love when the horse people come to town. They always have dogs and cats that need to be treated, and everyone in the horse community knows everyone else in the horse world, and they are great people,” Grossman said. “I used to ride horses a lot in Wellington. I haven’t in years, but I’m hoping to get back into it.”

Meanwhile, Grossman has been bonding with a newborn puppy. “It’s a Shar-Pei mix who is my new best friend,” she said.

Busy excelling in school for much of the past few years, Grossman graduated from veterinary school in the accelerated program at Ross Veterinary College on St. Kitts, a fully accredited curriculum by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. It offers a high-tech campus in a Caribbean island setting and is the same school attended by her brother Neil, who joined the practice just over a year ago upon his graduation and completion of his clinicals. “It’s a beautiful place to go to school,” she said.

Grossman believes that two major factors set Palms West Veterinary Hospital apart. The first is that it is a family firm with father, sometimes mother, brothers, sister and sister-in-law all working there with a total staff of more than 30.

“We are run by a family with a family attitude, we are run like a family, treating patients and their pets like family, and we understand that a client’s pets are their family,” she said. “Our cats and dogs are our babies and our children. We want to take as much care of them as we possibly can.”

Grossman continued that the other major factor is that the hospital is never closed. “We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we are always there to help clients out and their pets with really anything they need,” she said. “We always have a doctor there all day and all night, so if they have any concerns or questions, they can always call us, and we will help them out with anything.”

The practice takes appointments but understands that you can’t schedule when your pet is going to be sick, so it also takes walk-ins. “When someone comes to the door, it could be a vaccine or a major emergency. We cover everything,” Grossman said. “Because we take walk-ins, you don’t have to have an appointment to come in. If you see that something’s wrong with your pet, you don’t have to wait for an appointment. You can come right away.”

The practice also offers a link on its web site to VetSource for medication, products and food, all available online, so patients can order any moment of any day and have the items shipped to their door. “The practice can help you choose and will arrange for any prescriptions,” Grossman said. “It couldn’t be more convenient than with our family team helping out.”

This family attitude and round-the-clock service combines with the in-house, state-of-the-art equipment, such as the digital x-ray, which allows for as many views as needed, and a complete chemistry facility that permits the team to work quickly, seeing comprehensive results in minutes. Grooming and other services make for a single-point operation for pet care and emergency service.

Extended office hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The critical care emergency department, staffed with a doctor and technician, is always open.

The Palms West Veterinary Hospital is located at 556 Folsom Road. For more information, visit www.palmswestveterinary.com or call (561) 798-2780.

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GPL Tournament Returns This Month for 10th Anniversary Event

GPL Tournament Returns This Month for 10th Anniversary EventOn and off the field, the International Gay Polo Tournament, hosted by the Gay Polo League in Wellington, keeps getting bigger and better, and the upcoming 10th anniversary celebration is maintaining that tradition.GPL founder Chip McKenney had a vision, and it has given way to something unique.

This year’s four-day extravaganza is highlighted by the return of the festive “GPL Polotini Presents Wigstock!,” an over-the-top pre-party for a purpose on Friday, April 5 at the members-only Mallet Grill at International Polo Club Palm Beach, followed by tournament games featuring the coveted Senator’s Cup and the famed tailgate competition on Saturday, April 6 at IPC’s Isla Carroll field.

“From the beginning, I dreamed that the GPL’s International Gay Polo Tournament would evolve into a destination event for LGBTQ polo players,” said McKenney, who has played every year since the event’s inception. “I believed the concept was unique and would be embraced by the LGBTQ community as something different and special. That said, I never dreamed the event would attract the attention and support of people outside the LGBTQ communities. Nor did I envision that the non-polo, social aspects of the event would evolve into what they are today.”

Several professional polo players, including Joey Casey, Charlie Muldoon, Sugar Erskine and Tiffany Busch, donate their time and skills, quarterbacking the teams.

“Through their involvement, these professional players give the GPL tournament a legitimacy of sport, and their participation helps to elevate awareness of the GPL tournament to the global polo community,” McKenney said.

Casey, who owns the Palm City Polo Club in Boynton Beach, was instrumental in helping McKenney get the event going.

“I read about the GPL and reached out to Chip 10 years ago and brought them to Florida,” said Casey, a fourth-generation polo player.

In that article, McKenney expressed a goal to one day bring the GPL to Wellington because it is the epicenter of polo in North America.

“Joey sent me an e-mail expressing his support and willingness to help make it possible for GPL to come to Florida,” McKenney said. “He offered to organize pros and ponies for our group. Since our initial contact, Joey and his team have been instrumental in the shaping and growth of the league. His club embraced GPL members without hesitation, and we are grateful for his involvement.”

Former 6-goaler Muldoon helped Casey run a polo clinic for GPL players, and that’s where he met McKenney.

“I loved the idea of promoting how inclusive our sport is,” said Muldoon, another multi-generational polo player. “It has been an honor and pleasure to be a part of it. It’s also crazy fun.”

Muldoon said the level of polo has progressed because the original group has improved so much due to Casey’s coaching, as well as the addition of so many new international GPL players.

McKenney began playing polo in 2006 after retiring from show jumping. Schedule permitting, he practices and plays polo three times a week at the Palm City Polo Club. When he began, he only played arena polo. Now he primarily plays on the grass in 6-goal tournaments and an occasional 10-goal tournament.

“My understanding of polo is probably the area I have improved the most,” McKenney said. “Understanding the strategy, the rules and how to contribute as a team member has opened up the game for me. When I first began, I simply ran to the ball and tried to hit it, often failing. Once I understood the offense and defense sides of the game, I enjoyed the sport much more.”

While the action on the field has improved, it is the colorful sideline activities that provides the flair of the event.

“The level of enthusiasm and support non-polo players, gay and straight, demonstrate for the event is remarkable,” McKenney said. “Everyone who has attended our event is thrilled by the tailgate competition, which has become a huge part of the event’s culture, and significantly contributes to the overall experience. Tailgates encourage interaction between all the people who come to the tournament, so our event is inclusive and engaging in ways other events are not.”

Every year brings a new layer of quality to the event, McKenney added, who explained that the biggest difference between the first year and now is the level of play.

“Our first year, most of us were new to the sport of polo, so the matches were a bit slower and less competitive,” McKenney said. “Now, many of our players are solid in their polo skills, which has significantly resulted in more advanced polo matches. To non-polo players, probably the biggest difference is the growth in the number of attendees. The first year, we had approximately 900 people come cheer us on. This year, we anticipate close to 5,000 people who will share the day with us.”

Every year, the GPL chooses a charity partner. This year, the not-for-profit partner is Sage, the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to serving and advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors.

“It is a great feeling to be able to use our event to raise awareness and much-needed funds for an organization that provides services to a segment of our community that is often overlooked, underserved and relatively invisible,” McKenney said.

From the beginning, the tournament was a team effort, with dozens of volunteers and committees organizing the biggest party of the polo season.

“I had the good fortune to align with great people who shared my vision of creating and producing a high-end sporting event within the LGBTQ space,” McKenney said. “Over the past 10 years, so many people have contributed to turning my dream into a reality, and I am well aware that the current success of the GPL tournament is a shared success and the result of a shared vision.”

Tickets for the 10th annual International Gay Polo Tournament and its festivities are currently on sale at www.gaypolo.com/tickets.

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Growing List of Sponsors on Board To Support International Gay Polo Tournament

Growing List of Sponsors on Board To Support International Gay Polo Tournament

When the 10th annual Land Rover Palm Beach International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by RSM US, returns to Wellington from April 4 through April 7, it will bring with it a growing list of sponsors helping to make the event a success.

Land Rover Palm Beach continues its longstanding commitment to the community as the title sponsor of the event for the third year.

“Participating in the annual International Gay Polo Tournament gave us a chance to promote our support for equality actively,” said Matt Adkins, general manager of Land Rover Palm Beach. “We’ve enjoyed working with [Gay Polo League founder] Chip McKenney in the past, and when he approached us about getting involved in the GPL tournament, something we knew was significant to him, we felt honored to take part.”

Whether it’s supporting local high school athletics, the area Boy Scouts council, or the dealership’s strong ties with Furry Friends Adoption Clinic and the Ranch Humane Society of Greater Jupiter/Tequesta, Land Rover Palm Beach enjoys supporting the community.

“The annual GPL tournament is unlike any other event we participate in throughout the year,” Adkins said. “It’s a chance to use our creativity as a company to celebrate diversity in an inclusive and fun way. GPL quickly became our favorite — and most talked about — community event of the year, and it’s one we look forward to every spring. Land Rover has always been a fantastic supporter of polo globally, and this was another way to support the sport locally in Wellington.”

No stranger to equestrian events, Land Rover is a longtime supporter of equestrian sports, with decades of show jumping and event sponsorships. Land Rover Palm Beach’s 2019 status will further solidify its pre-eminence in the equestrian sphere. As an elegant luxury brand, Land Rover Palm Beach aligns perfectly with the vision of the Gay Polo League’s flagship tournament, and the capabilities of Land Rover’s vehicles equally match the rigors of equestrian sport.

GPL is also thrilled to welcome back RSM US LLP — a leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market — as the event’s presenting sponsor.

“At RSM, we demonstrate our core values of respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence and stewardship every day through our interactions with one another, with our clients, and with our communities,” said RSM’s Kerensa Butler, partner, southeast private equity leader and national pride employee network group leader. “We’re honored to be a part of the Gay Polo League.”

RSM’s goal is to deliver the power of being understood to clients, colleagues and communities. Initially introduced to GPL through a major wealth management client, RSM’s support has grown tremendously over the years, as has the firm’s commitment to the LGBT community.

“Our decision to sponsor GPL started out of support for an organization that one of our clients was passionate about,” said Mike Lin, a manager with RSM Wealth Management. “Over time, our relationship with GPL grew as we learned more about its charitable mission and the potential to align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Meanwhile, Cherry Knoll Farm returns as the tournament’s VIP tent sponsor. Located at midfield, VIP guests will experience excellence from the ground up, feel the power of the ponies as they race toward the goal posts and be front and center for all the action. The royal treatment includes tableside service throughout the day with a full open bar and a gourmet lunch buffet catered by the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Cherry Knoll Farm, located in West Grove, Pa., operates on the philosophy of “quality over quantity.” This is true for its great success throughout the Angus industry, as well as high-performance equestrian sports, such as show jumping, dressage and para-dressage. Cherry Knoll Farm owns some of the most esteemed high-performance Grand Prix dressage horses and show jumpers in the industry today.

“Our sponsors represent organizations that proactively support and advance equality and diversity. It is important that we recognize the importance of our LGBTQ allies — the people, brands and companies who enthusiastically embrace and support our community, namely our wonderful sponsors,” McKenney said. “To these people and companies, we extend a heartfelt thanks. We are proud and grateful to be associated with you.”

Other sponsors include Black Hound Sports, Celebrity Cruises, Cedar Crest Stables, Chervo, Consign & Design, David Lerner Associates, Discover the Palm Beaches, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, GJ Racing, Goshen Hill/Caroline Moran, OutClique Magazine, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Patricia Quick, RBC Wealth Management, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Sperry Tents Miami, Stefano Laviano, the Tackeria and Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

Tickets for the 10th annual International Gay Polo Tournament and its festivities are currently on sale at www.gaypolo.com/tickets. The Gay Polo League is still offering sponsorship opportunities at different levels for the tournament. For more information, contact Chip McKenney at chip@gaypolo.com.

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Miss Rodeo Florida Cara Spirazza Got Her Start In The Wellington Area

Miss Rodeo Florida Cara Spirazza Got Her Start In The Wellington Area

Little did Cara Spirazza know how far her love of horses would bring her. Born and raised in Palm Beach County, Spirazza, now 24, recently competed for and won the title of Miss Rodeo Florida 2019.

The Miss Rodeo Florida competition was based heavily on horsemanship, as well as appearance, personality, interviews and knowledge of rodeo. These are all things Spirazza honed during her time competing in the Wellington area.

Spirazza started riding horses at the age of three and competed in equestrian events throughout her life. As team captain of the University of Central Florida Western Equestrian Team, she helped lead her team to the state championship in 2015.

“My reining trainer taught me so much,” Spirazza recalled. “When we were faced with high-pressure competitions, he would tell us to ‘just ride!’ and have fun. That was helpful advice. It was my trainer who first introduced me to Rodeo Queens.”

As Miss Rodeo Florida, Spirazza has volunteered to be the state’s official representative of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Miss Rodeo Florida travels throughout Florida and the country to promote rodeo and the western way of life. Spirazza takes tremendous pride when she rides into the arena carrying the American flag, and also when she rides “fast fly-bys.”

“We need to be able to ride any horse,” she explained. “You never know the temperament of the horse you will be riding. There are no practice runs — we just ride.”

Hospital and school visits, parade participation and community events are just some of the responsibilities of Rodeo Queens. Spirazza is especially compassionate about visiting children at hospitals and often asks rodeo cowboys to join her.

“The rodeo community is very supportive of one another,” she said. “We want to see each other succeed.”

Being raised in a medical family, Spirazza grew up with the satisfaction of helping others. She helped raise and train service dogs for disabled veterans through Paws for Liberty and derived great satisfaction from assisting hippo-therapists, especially when it involved treating disabled children. Spirazza enjoyed the time she spent volunteering locally at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.

Spirazza’s other unique experiences include being in charge of 32 horses at Rocky Springs State Park and giving trail rides, as well as serving as a volunteer firefighter for the Notasulga Volunteer Fire Department when time allows. Her first assignment was to be propelled down an abandoned well shaft to rescue a dog.

Spirazza’s innate altruism and love for animals has led her to rescue many animals and nurse them back to health, and she decided early in life that she wanted to become a veterinarian.

“I am often asked, ‘How do you handle school and rodeo?’ As a second-year veterinary medical student at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in Tuskegee, Ala., I have a very vigorous schedule. I must stay organized. I take my homework on the road… time management is important,” Spirazza said. “I am fortunate that my school is supportive and accommodating of my rodeo schedule, and I am fortunate that the Miss Florida Rodeo Association is equally supportive of my veterinary school schedule and workload. My passion for both veterinary medicine and rodeo is what keeps me going.”

Spirazza plans on becoming a large animal veterinarian with a focus on equine sports medicine after graduation.

At the end of each year, all of the state rodeo queens compete for the title of Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the National Finals Rodeo. The competition has all the glitz and glamour of the Miss America Pageant, but with a western twist — formal colorful gowns with cowboy boots and hats, dazzling crowns and beautiful belt buckles. You won’t see rodeo queens sing and dance. Their true talent is horsemanship.

After graduation, Spirazza said she would “love to get back to barrel racing and one day be a professional barrel racer. It’s such an amazing part of rodeo.”

Her suggestion for young equestrians is to “follow their passion while serving others.”

You can follow her journey on Facebook at Miss Rodeo Florida Association. She’s always willing to help young equestrians and welcomes them to reach out to her.

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Future Polo Star Hope Arellano Aims To Be The Best She Can Be

Future Polo Star Hope Arellano Aims To Be The
Best She Can Be

Polo player Hope Arellano, a rising 15-year-old star who regularly competes with men and women, has been busy making a name for herself in the sport since winning the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship in 2017. She was the youngest player ever to win America’s top prize in women’s polo.

“I’m going to keep striving to be the best that I can,” said Arellano, who has been heralded as a shining example of the next generation of polo players who are blazing a trail promoting the sport worldwide.

Born into a true polo family from Wellington and Aiken, S.C., Arellano played in her first match prenatally. “I was [still] in my mom’s tummy, and the other team said that we were cheating because there were actually five girls on the team, not four,” Arellano explained.

Hope is the daughter of Julio and Meghan Arellano, and sister to Agustin and Lucas Arellano. The whole family participates in the sport. “My dad is a professional polo player, and my mom used to play, but when my brothers started playing, she gave them her horses,” Arellano said. “My mom and my dad are very supportive of my polo career. Since I started competing in tournaments at age 11, my mom even traveled overnight with my horses from Wyoming to Santa Barbara to give me the opportunity to play in the highest-rated tournament on the West Coast.”

Proficiently swinging a mallet at age six, Arellano bypassed the transition from competing as a junior competitor to playing with adults because she began playing in adult tournaments when she was so young. Despite her mature talent, Arellano’s current string of horses gives a hint to her age. She named off the current mounts: “Hot Diggity Dog, Milkshake, BB, Bumble Bee, Cha Ching, Goosebumps, Got Milk, Jackson and Wild Flower.”

In addition to winning the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship in 2017, Arellano said other times on the field also stand out as highlights. “Winning the 12-goal Pete Bostwick Memorial with my two brothers and my dad,” she recalled. “Last year, I got to substitute for the Daily Racing Form team in the 20-goal season.”

Arellano enjoys the comradery of the sport. “The opportunity to play with players at this level was amazing for my learning experience, and they were so kind to me,” she said. “My favorite thing about polo is the horses… But I also love that polo is an extended family. Wherever you go, you’re welcomed.”

Arellano is currently homeschooled by her mother because it allows her to travel while still getting a great education. “Polo is a traveling sport, so I enjoy the opportunity to go back and forth from Aiken to South Florida,” she said.

The well-organized teenager makes efficient use of her time to balance schoolwork with the equestrian lifestyle and the game of polo. “I’ve always had to multitask, and we had a lot of family animals, like baby sheep, horses, racoons, etc.,” Arellano explained. “I always wanted to get up early to take care of the animals. This created an environment where I’ve never really had to not work hard.”

Currently Arellano is focusing on a new position as well as improving her playing prowess. “I am very excited to be partnering with U.S. Polo Assn. and being one of their global brand ambassadors,” she said. “I am also very focused on trying to learn and become a better player at all times. These two things are of great focus to me right now.”

Being the newest member of U.S. Polo Assn.’s growing roster of global brand ambassadors, she’ll be outfitted in company gear on and off the field. Arellano will post regularly about her polo-related and other daily activities on social media and engage in interviews. The goal is to boost awareness of the sport of polo among young women like herself.

Arellano described some of the goals she holds for women in the sport.

“Women in polo is growing every day, not only in the U.S. but globally,” she said. “Sunny Hale, a pioneer in the game, paved the road for women and created playing opportunities. I’m excited to be playing in this year’s U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship, which was recently moved to Wellington. It’ll be exciting to see the women come together to build awareness.”

Arellano is also featured in a “Women In Polo” digital and television show. “I also recently participated in an upcoming documentary-type show with Palm Beach County and U.S. Polo Assn., covering women in the sport and their lives on-and-off the field,” she said.

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Juan Matute Jr. Was Born To Compete, Following In His Father’s Footsteps

Juan Matute Jr. Was Born To Compete, Following In His Father’s Footsteps

In sports, great athletes achieve success with hard work, dedication and a passion to win. It takes guts and courage, too, to be successful. And, at times, it helps to have great bloodlines. Such is the case with Juan Matute Guimon, also known as Juan Matute Jr.

Matute Jr. has emerged in recent years as one of dressage’s best young talents. His family moved to Wellington from Spain in 2008. If you look at the career of his father, Juan Matute Sr., it’s clear that the younger Matute was born to follow his father’s accomplished footsteps, whose first big victory was at the 1982 Young Rider World Championships. During the elder Matute’s career, he won six Spanish National Dressage Championships and had three Olympic appearances for Spain.

Currently, Matute Jr. is living in Spain where he’s competing in dressage and going to college at Madrid’s Universidad Camilo Jose Cela. He moved to Europe last year in pursuit of new challenges and experiences, both as an athlete and in academics.

“I am pursuing a degree in business, but next year, I will change to international relations,” Matute Jr. said. “The winter circuit in Wellington has served as a launching pad for my career as a dressage rider. Over the years, I have gained a lot of experience as a competitor, and this has enabled me to grow as a rider from Juniors to Grand Prix. It was time for me to fly the nest and get out of my comfort zone to continue evolving in all aspects.”

Balancing an athletic career with college is not easy, but he’s making it work. “It’s challenging psychologically and with time management,” he admitted.

Matute Jr.’s most recent competition was a second-place finish in Doha, Qatar in February and a fifth-place finish at the World Cup in Lyon, France last November.

According to his accomplished father, Matute Jr. is a better competitor now at age 21 than he was at age 21.

Right now, Matute Jr. is ranked in top five dressage riders in the world rankings of riders under age 25, and in the world’s overall top 60 riders.

“He is the best at his age. He has a special sense of determination,” Matute Sr. said of his son. “He has a magical touch with the horses.”

Matute Jr.’s career started in 2012, when he competed for the first time in a CDI Juniors while riding Don Diego. He eventually won that division’s gold medal at the European Championships in 2015 while riding Dhannie Ymas. In 2016, Matute Jr. had a banner year. In Wellington, he competed on 36 occasions, and he won 17 of them. That summer, he won the bronze medal at the Under 25 European Championships in Germany, aboard Don Diego.

In 2017, Juan won a bronze medal with Quantico at the Under 25 European Championships in Austria. And in 2018, he won a bronze medal with Quantico at the senior Spanish National Championships and participated with the Spanish national team at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C.

The greater dressage world offers high praise for Matute Jr.

“He’s honest, hard-working, and he’s had good guidance in life,” Olympic judge Gary Rockwell said.

“He’s a real talent, following in his father’s footsteps,” German dressage rider Christoph Koschel said.

“He’s a wonderful young man, and he’s very committed to the sport,” added Allyn Mann, director of strategic partnerships for dressage sponsor Adequan.

During his early days in dressage, Matute Jr. maintained a family tradition. In 2014, he wore his father’s 30-year-old tailcoat in competitions. The tailcoat experience was short-lived. “It was a huge honor and privilege to wear his tailcoat,” he recalled. “I wore it for one year. I simply outgrew it.”

As Matute Sr. reflects on his competitive days, one of his fondest memories was coming out of retirement and participating at the 2013 Nations Cup in Wellington, where his two children were his teammates and his wife Maria was the team chef. The Matute triumvirate won the bronze medal.

As for his future in dressage, Matute Jr. explained that his dad has given him great advice. “He constantly reminds me to keep a broad perspective and to remain patient with my ambition to one day become one of the best in the sport,” he said. “Success in our sport depends on the human-horse partnership, and it takes years to form a powerful bond.”

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