It’s called The Polo Party for a reason – and the enormous party tent “Riot House” complete with trendy lounge seating, Dom bottle service and rotating DJs situated immediately next to the entrance and at the end of the WestWorld polo field was my first clue this was going to be a rockin’ good weekend. Let me rephrase: There would be very little sleep for any of us – fans, sponsors, polo players, and organizers. From the opening night party given by Molina Fine Jewelers to the closing moments of Sunday’s showdown between Talking Stick Resort and Spiritual Gangsters, the pace matched the music: fast, loud and sometimes frantic.
In order to throw a party of this magnitude, The Polo Party founder, Jason Rose of Rose Moser Allyn PR, relies on heavyweight polo personalities. This year, probably the best-known player in the world, Nacho Figueras, effortlessly filled this role. The Phoenix fans, not unlike fans around the world, adored Nacho. And he, in typical Nacho fashion, took endless selfies, posed, smiled, exchanged pleasantries, and scored goal after goal after goal, much to the delight of fans and organizers. Playing for Barrett Jackson on Saturday, Nacho led his team to victory over title-sponsor Team Bentley. On Sunday, he led Spiritual Gangsters on a victory lap after defeating Team Talking Stick.
Bentley General Manager Beli Merdovic wasn’t phased by his team’s loss to Nacho’s Barrett Jackson. “We had a wonderful team of fantastic players who played well together,” he said from the Molina VIP tent. “I may have loss this year’s bet, but we’re having a great time.”
The bet Merdovic referenced is a traditional $20 bet between team sponsors. This year, he was obligated to fulfill the $20 debt.
The Polo Party, for all its international headlining stars, is, purposefully, a very localized event. The presenting sponsors are regional luxury dealers, brokers, and boutiques, among them Molina Fine Jewelers, Russ Lyon Sothebys, France Luxe, Black Label Lincoln, Riot House, and, of course, Bentley Scottsdale. The latter, and title sponsor, had the brand-new Bentayga SUV on display, making laps around the polo fields between matches.
Bentley’s first SUV comes none-too-soon in the luxury market, as Roll-Royce introduced their own SUV earlier this year. The Bentley appeals to a luxury purveyor, while possessing the strength and power of an SUV. It is a perfect fit for the rugged Phoenix-area landscape. Merdovic uses the annual polo event to entertain his current and prospective clients. “Bentley Scottsdale and The Polo Party continue to complement each other’s business goals,” he said. “Jason (Rose) is a visionary, the ultimate organizer, and luxury purveyor.”
If Saturday’s event was a rockin’ continuation of Friday’s kickoff party, then Sunday’s schedule was geared toward the slightly hungover crowd. With a lower profile of activities, the brunch tents buzzed; the party tents at the end of the polo fields were much emptier. Spirits picked up for the two matches and the announcement of free glasses of champagne at a local restaurant for party-goers emptied the grounds out quickly after the closing ceremonies. Let the good times roll (and flow).