Polo is a sport where you can’t help but be awed by the unrivalled athleticism and the raw speed, strength and beauty of the participants — and that’s just the horses.
Few sports offer the sheer drama and spectacle of polo. Man and animal, competing as one, working in harmony to best their foe on a thundering battlefield.
Now, the rapidly growing “sport of kings” is getting a tournament series worthy of its incredible scope and pageantry.
The United States Polo Association (USPA), USPA Global Licensing (USPAGL) and the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) recently announced a thrilling new high-stakes polo event — one with a title almost as epic as the sport itself: the Gauntlet of Polo.
Launching in February and culminating in April, this trailblazing competition offers a total purse of $1 million — a payday previously unheard of in the world of polo. And all a team has to do to claim the prize is win all three of the sport’s biggest tournaments at the IPC stadium field, home of U.S. Polo Assn., in a row.
Sounds easy, right? Think again. The Gauntlet of Polo is a true “survival of the fittest” competition, and teams are focused on making this one of sport’s most unique and memorable winner-take-all tournaments. That means that the world’s most skilled polo players and finest horses have to be at the top of their game for nearly three straight months if they expect to be crowned champions and hoist the Gauntlet trophy.
The series begins with the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup, held Feb. 13-24, where the winning team will take home the trophy and $125,000.
It is immediately followed by the USPA Gold Cup, held Feb. 24 through March 24. At stake is another title, along with $125,000 in winnings.
The Gauntlet’s final stage is the prestigious U.S. Open Polo Championship, held March 27 through April 21. The Gauntlet highlight show will be aired to millions of viewers on CBS Sports on April 28, and the world will see the winning team take home one of the most beautiful trophies in all of sports, along with $250,000.
Should one team survive the unrelenting competition and win all three tournaments, that team will win an additional $500,000 bonus — bringing total winnings to $1 million. More importantly, that team will be crowned the inaugural Gauntlet of Polo Champion and have its name etched into polo’s history books forever.
USPAGL Chairman David Cummings sees this new series as a turning point for the sport in America.
“The Gauntlet will challenge the world’s top players and horses like never before,” he said. “It will provide an entirely new platform for athletes, teams and sponsors. That means we’ll see an expanded interest in the sport that will literally change the trajectory of polo in this country while offering an incredible game day experience for all fans.”
If you’re a polo player or fan already, the Gauntlet of Polo brings an all-new level of intensity to a sport that already offers it in abundance. If you’re new to the sport, there’s no better opportunity to discover what the excitement of polo is all about.
Whether you’re cheering the non-stop action from the stands in your finest fashions, rubbing elbows with celebrities in the social tents, or stomping divots with a glass of champagne in hand, there is simply no experience quite like it.
Teamwork, strategy, mental strength and physical toughness — teams will need all of these and more from both players and horses alike if they want to call themselves Gauntlet champions. It promises to be one of the most incredible displays of raw power and refined athleticism ever seen in any sport. And if initial buzz for this historic new series is any indication, the world will be watching.
The inaugural Gauntlet of Polo will bring tens of thousands of polo players and fans from around the world to Wellington this winter. Make plans now to be part of this historic event.
For more information and tickets to see these incredible matches live at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.