If you go to a polo match in Santa Barbara or Palm Springs, you might see a crowd of 400 people, the vast majority white and at least 70, and half with oxygen tanks.
That’s not the case for the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower, says Jason Rose, co-founder of the event. The annual polo party will return to WestWorld of Scottsdale for its fifth year Saturday, October 24, but it’s more than just polo matches that draw crowds.
Since its launch, the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships has become the most-attended polo event in the United States, drawing 11,969 guests last year, and what Rose says is the most interesting in the world.
“…No one has the crowds that we do, and no one has the funky atmosphere that we do where we create numerous events within events,” Rose says.
Attractions from past years that will make an appearance again this year, including Canine Couture, a dog fashion show; the Longest Catwalk Fashion Show with a runway stretching nearly 200 yards; the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction Preview; the 2016 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show preview; and the Larsen Live Art Auction.
Something new for this year is High Tea presented by The Phoenician. It will be a tea party like never before and guests will be able to sip tea out of the resort’s traditional fine china while taking in a polo match and the scenery of the McDowell Mountains.
Another new event is the It’s a Date! Singles Auction—the second year of the event, but the first at the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. Valley bachelors and bachelorettes will be auctioned off in the Saguaro Hotel Lounge with all proceeds contributed to The Care Fund, a charity organization dedicated to helping families with mortgage or rent payments when experiencing financial hardship due to unforeseen childhood medical hardship.
Lastly, the event will introduce ballroom dancing and a Phoenix Symphony performance.
“It’s kind of wacky, it’s kind of classy, and it’s kind of fun––all at the same time,” Rose says. “We have three matches on the event upcoming. And so for one [period], we’re shutting down the announcer, we’re shutting down the DJ and the only thing that you’ll hear is symphony. And that’s either gonna be really, really boring or really cool. But it’s gonna be fun and different and something you can’t experience anywhere else in the United States.”
The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships may seem like a strange assortment of events, but it works.
“This whole thing’s been an experiment: can you do polo this way?” Rose asks. “…[The United States Polo Association has] been stunned about this crazy setup that we’ve put on in the desert with no polo heritage and [that we]are able to draw the crowds and put on the event that we do.”
The Fifth Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower, WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, thepoloparty.com, Saturday, October 24, 10:30 a.m., $17-$4,025