She is undoubtedly the best female polo player in the United States. Sunny Hale is the first woman in the country to be on the winning U.S. Open Polo Championship team and on November 1 and 2, Hale will bring her elite brand of polo and unparalleled skills to the Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships: Horses + Horsepower.
Hale, from Palm Beach, Florida, will captain a Women’s All-Star Team which will take on men from the Arizona Polo Club in a Battle of the Sexes match on Saturday, November 2 at WestWorld of Scottsdale Polo Field.
“I am really looking forward to the Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships and what should be a really fun and entertaining game against the men’s team,” said Sunny Hale. “For those people who have never seen a polo match, this match will be a lot of fun to watch. The event will be a great way to come out and enjoy their first polo match and a great day with lots to do.”
Polo fans who purchase an advance ticket to the Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships will have a chance to meet Hale and her biggest competition on the men’s side – U.S. Polo Champion Jeff Hall – at a meet and greet Polo Preview Party on Thursday, September 5 at Dominick’s Steakhouse from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. RSVP at SJones@ThePoloParty.com.
Hale attained the highest rating ever given to a woman in the history of the sport. Her mother, the late Sue Sally Hale, was also a sports trailblazer, breaking American polo’s sex barrier in 1972 when she gained membership in its national governing body after playing matches disguised as a man (hair tucked under helmet and mascara-drawn simulated mustache) for two decades.
More women are discovering polo, known as the Sport of Kings. Now, with women accounting for about one-third of registered players, “and Queens” may need to be added to that moniker. Hale stands out as the best of the best, having attained the highest rating (five-goal) ever given to a woman in the history of the sport. She’s been named player of the year seven times and has played in professional matches in a dozen countries.
“If you have any athletic inclination and like horses, you’re done for. Once you get connected to polo, you’re addicted,” Hale told ESPN in 2011.
Polo fans in the Scottsdale area and from around the country will get a chance to see not only the greatest female polo player in the U.S., but also a woman who has become a legend for transforming the sport. In 2005, Hale launched an international women’s polo tournament series, the Women’s Championship Tournament, which now boasts more than 100 participants.
The following year she created the American Polo Horse Association, which collects, records and preserves pedigrees of horses used in polo matches and allows players to learn about the history of the horses they will be using in upcoming events. An accomplished rider, Hale told ESPN that before the registry, there was “zero information available out there about these horses, their pedigree or their history.”
“What motivates me to train and encourage others to play polo is the passion I have for the sport of polo and horses,” Hale said. “I have had the amazing opportunity to play with some of the best players of my generation and to travel around the world all because of polo. I love to share with other players who are interested in learning just what they can accomplish in the sport and with horses, using what worked for me.”
Last October the Scottsdale Polo Championships drew the biggest crowd in the country for a one-day polo event with approximately 9,180 fans enjoying the three-match showdown at the annual Polo Party.
This year, with an expanded event schedule and an amped-up polo lineup including the sport’s top players, more vendors, more sponsors and the 2013 Arizona Porsche Concours d’Elegance car show, the Polo Party is expected to draw up to 15,000 polo fans and revelers to WestWorld of Scottsdale.With the breathtaking backdrop of the McDowell Mountains and the beautiful white tents lining the field, the Polo Party will again be a weekend destination for both local residents and tourists.
It all gets started on Friday, November 1, when gates will open at 3 p.m. for a sneak preview of the Championships as well as a fashion show. There will be an all-star match at 4 p.m. and then a 5:30 p.m. introduction of the players. It will culminate with a 6 p.m. Sunset Equestrian Fashion Show presented by Phoenix Fashion Week.
On Saturday, November 2, gates open at 10 a.m. for the Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses + Horsepower. The first match on the docket will pit America’s high school champions, Work to Ride, against the country’s 2012 college champions, the University of Virginia. The Work to Ride team has been featured on ESPN and “60 Minutes” and is repeat National Interscholastic Polo Champions. The University of Virginia team (sponsored by Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati) were 2012 NCAA Champions and Winner of 10 Men’s National Championships.
The next match, at 1 p.m., is the previously mentioned Battle of the Sexes.
At 3 p.m. the U.S. Military Polo Team will square off against the Clogau Wales Polo Team (United Kingdom). Jeff Hall, one of the best polo players in the world, and one of just a few top-rated Americans, will be captaining the U.S. Military team. Hall has played every major tournament in the U.S. and Argentina and is a six-time winner of the USPA Silver Cup and a 2003 winner of the U.S. Open.
The Wales Polo Team, sponsored by Scottsdale Ferrari, is captained by Ricky Cooper, who has been the team’s captain since its inception. The team is a member of the Hurlingham Polo Association, the prestigious governing body for polo in the U.K. and other European countries. Prince Charles is the Patron of the team and the Association. The Wales team finished runner up in the 2012 British Beach Polo Championships and boasts an overall record of 14 wins against 4 losses and a draw.
Attendees will also enjoy a sneak preview of the 2014 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and see some serious horsepower with a preview of the world-famous Barrett-Jackson 2014 Collector Car Auction along with local car clubs lining the field. This year will also feature the 2013 Arizona Porsche Concours d’Elegance car show.