By: Angela Caraway-Carlton
The world’s best polo players hit the sands of South Beach.
The stylish sport of polo takes center stage in Miami Beach, as players from all over the globe compete for the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.
Polo on the Sand
It's not every day that you see horses galloping down the beach, but once a year, the famed Miami Beach Polo World Cup brings four days of glamorous, polo fun to the sands of South Beach. The oceanfront equine event typically takes place in April and all of the matches are held on the beach, at Collis Park, between 21st and 22nd streets, near many of the area’s high-end hotels.
The posh event attracts 10,000 to 15,000 spectators, looking for a blend of sport,celebrity hunting, fashion, cuisine and cocktails.
"It allows spectators to enjoy a Great Gatsby day at the beach, while being entertained by well-trained thoroughbred horses and talented athletes, with a comforting tropical breeze fanning you from the ocean," saysAlex Webbe, president of the International Beach Polo Association.
Polo Players and Celebrities
Between Miami’s enticing blue water and the action on the sand, spectators won’t know where to look first. Those there for the thrill of the game will catch the top-ranked men and women’s polo players from as far away as Argentina, Brazil and Germany.
The competitions are held round-robin style, with three matches each day. For those spectators new to the game of polo, each team is made up of three members, and the game is divided into four periods called "chukkers." Eight women’s teams kick off the first day of play on Thursday, vying for the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup. Six teams of men then compete Friday through Sunday for the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.
In the past, 10-goalers such as Argentine players Gonzalito Pieres and Matias Magrini, along with Ralph Lauren polo model Nacho Figueras, and John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" fame, have all played in the renowned sporting event.
And you never know who’s hiding under that large hat or behind the big sunglasses in the cosmopolitan crowd. In the past, Beyoncé, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Russell Simmons have shown up for the competitions.
The first Miami Beach Polo World Cup tournament took place in 2005, one year after beach polo was introduced in Dubai.
But polo isn’t new to Miami; Carl Fisher, who is considered the father of Miami Beach, created the city's first polo grounds in South Beach in the 1920’s.
"The event brings the sport to the people and reminds them of the rich polo history that was created by Fisher nearly 100 years ago," adds Alex Webbe.
Tickets and Tips
Polo isn’t just for the elite. Attendees may take in the action from the beach area for free. If you’d like to be inside mixing and mingling under the covered grandstands, there are VIP tickets available. VIP tickets range from $130-$250 with food and beverages included.
Expect chic spectators dressed to impress in their polo best, from light linen suits to flowing dresses. Keep in mind, the event is outdoors, so dress comfortably.
And it’s not just all polo, all the time. During the four days, there are many A-list activities to attend from fashion shows, concerts on the beach, after-parties, and a Sunday Brunch.
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