Set against the rugged beauty of Scottsdale's McDowell Mountains, the Scottsdale Polo Championships event draws some of the world's top polo players and polo aficionados from around the world. This year, the event will feature an expanded schedule and one of the most action-packed polo line-ups in the tournament's history.
Last year, the event broke previous attendance records, drawing more than 12,000 fans over the course of the weekend. Event organizers predict nearly 15,000 fans will make the trek to Scottsdale this year to witness what the organizer's describe as "the polo event for everyone."
The tournament weekend kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. at the Omni Scottsdale Polo Field, located at the Westworld of Scottsdale Event Center. Events run through the following day.
The Scottsdale Polo Championship is one of the city's biggest annual sporting events — Photo courtesy of Scottsdale Polo Championships
Many of the world's top polo players will participate, including highly ranked professional female polo players like Paola Martinez, Sunny Hale, Caroline Anier and Sarah Wiseman. The players – all members of the Women's World All-Star Team – will be matched against the reigning tournament champions, the Clogau Wales Polo Team. In the past, Clogau Wales has faced off against luminaries like Prince Charles, William and Harry.
Another pairing that is getting attention is the match between the Arizona Polo Club and the Gay Polo League. According to event organizers, the Gay Polo League is currently the only organized gay sports league in the United States.
When fans aren't taking in the matches, they can enjoy many of the schedule's periphery events, including the Scottsdale Sizzlin' Showdown. The cook-off, which is open to both home cooks and professional chefs, is a Super Regional event leading up to the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.
Up to 60 chefs will face off in three cooking categories: seafood, cheese and sandwich. The cooks have one hour to dazzle judges with their culinary know-how and creativity. Prizes include up to $1,000 in cash per category and a free pass into the World Food Championships.
Other weekend events include a live art auction, a fashion show, a champagne brunch and even a dog fashion show. There are also two official after-parties scheduled for Saturday and Sunday nights.
Event-goers will also get a preview to next year's Barret-Jackson Collector Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Making its debut at the event this year is the 2014 Arizona Porsche Concours d’Elegance car show, which will give event-goers a close-up look at some of the fastest, sleekest cars being made today.
Advance tickets to the event cost $20 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday. Ticket price includes admission to all events. For more information about the Scottsdale Polo Championships, contact event organizers at (480) 495-3806 or visit the official event website.