By Denise Meridiths
After months of anticipation and preview parties, The Scottsdale Polo Championships took place on October 20, 2012, at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event was expected to attract 6000 participants. When asked why they came to see polo matches and stomp divots, a common refrain was “we wanted to do something different.”
While polo has been played in Scottsdale since the Arizona Polo Club was established in 1982, this is just the second annual attempt to introduce the sport to the general public in Phoenix. Some people, who have been involved, are happy to spread the word. Alex Devereaux, Chair of the School of Drafting and Design for the ITT Technical Institute, was one of only two African-Americans playing here years ago. Today, he and the crowd saw Work to Ride, a championship team of Philadelphian African-American teenagers, compete against Harvard University. “It’s exciting to see,” he said.
Another “something different” provided by the Championships is an opportunity to dress up. Women got to wear Kentucky Derby-style attire not usually seen in Phoenix. Two Scottsdale real estate agents, Margey Haneman and Nancy McKay, were among those attracting attention and compliments for their spectacular hats. “Today is a beautiful day for polo,” said Haneman.
The Championships also provided a different opportunity for businesses. Most people think about Bondurant, which has been in Phoenix for 25 years, as a service for professional car racers. But, at his booth, Cameron Corbin was able to promote the many other driving activities the company has for kids, teenagers, and parents.
Nic Roldan, a model and polo player, was featured in the Hamptons vs. Bel Air Polo Club match. Phoenix Fashion Week continued its campaign to showcase local designers with a fashion show. This was all inspiring for ten-year-old Martinique Acosta, who has already created her own fashion line—Meme Designs—and came with her mother, Christian, a jewelry designer.
Michael Roberts was busy attending to people enjoying crab cakes and champagne in the CUSP Exclusive VIP Tent by Neiman Marcus. The Scottsdale Championships was a wonderful opportunity for businesses like M Catering by Michael’s, which had 75 staff members serving people in the many corporate tents.
Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, Phoenix International Raceway, Rose Law Group, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and over 70 other companies were partners and sponsors for the event. “Something different” is exactly what Phoenix needs to boost its economy.