POLO RETURNS TO ROSE HILL TO HONOR VETERANS, FIRST RESPONDERS
Polo returns to the Rose Hill Polo Field in October, and while it may look like the sport you’ve watched for more than 20 years, this year’s event will be unlike any Rose Hill match to date.
The Okatie-Bluffton Rotary has officially handed the reins of the event over to the Savannah Harbor Foundation, Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire after staging more than 25 matches throughout the past two decades.
LFWMH has raised more than $1.5 million to support the needs of veterans assimilating back into the civilian population. The 200 Club provides services to surviving spouses and dependents of fallen first responders.
The event was renamed Polo 4 Heroes in 2019, and after a year off due to the COVID pandemic, the three foundations are excited to get polo back out to Rose Hill on Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.
“This is such an exciting event, a way to honor our veterans and first responders, have a lot of fun and raise money to help the folks that help us so much,” said David Moses, event director for Polo 4 Heroes. “We feel like we can do so much good here, make this a staple event on the level of the Heritage and the Concours d’Elegance while raising awareness and funds for those in need.”
The Oct.17 polo match will feature military veterans squaring off against each other on the field, but that is just the culmination of a full weekend of events.
A VIP sponsor kickoff will take place at the Mighty Eighth Museum in Pooler to begin the festivities on Thursday, Oct. 14. On Saturday, Oct. 16, the action shifts over the border with the Galloping with the Ponies 5K at the Operation Patriots Forward Operating Base in Ridgeland.
The OPFOB is a sprawling 268-acre property that gives veterans with emotional and physical setbacks a place to enjoy the outdoors and think of anything other than their everyday struggles.
“It is a tremendous facility Operation Patriots has built and this is a way to draw attention to this worthwhile cause, and for runners to meet the veterans who will be playing in the polo match,” Moses said.
It will be the second high-profile OPFOB event of the month following the Oct. 8 concert featuring country star Mark Chesnutt at the Lakeview Drive facility.
Elevating the polo match to a tentpole event on the level of the RBC Heritage and Concours is a lofty goal, but Moses and his team have a history of creating buzzworthy charity events with the Savannah Harbor Foundation, including the Boat Parade of Lights and Gourmet Seafood and Spirits Festival in Savannah.
“We can’t thank Joe Grimm and the Okatie-Bluffton Rotary for the work they’ve put in to establish this event and for trusting us to take it to the next level,” said Moses, who has a five-year plan to continuing growing the event.
Fans will see noticeable differences as they attend this year. The event is no longer a “bring-your-own-cooler” outing. There will be full food and beverage concessions available this year powered by SERG Catering.
Tickets begin at $25, which includes general admission, socially distanced bleacher seating.
Enthusiasts looking for a more exclusive experience can buy an eight-seat private tent starting at $400. All sponsors who purchase bronze sponsorships ($750) and above will still be allowed to self-cater.
“We have had dream-level support from the Rose Hill Homeowners Association as we work to build up the presentation of the event,” Moses said. “We’re looking to properly spotlight polo, highlight the veterans who are playing and to shine a light on the equestrian community here in the Lowcountry.”
While previous eventgoers may have seen the polo matches as a social event with equestrian elements, Moses and his team look to make Polo 4 Heroes an event that helps build the equestrian community with an event to hang its hat on.
“You have the stables at Moss Creek, the Rose Hill Equestrian Center, and many others — we’re looking to connect that community and enhance the notoriety of all these groups,” Moses said.
The Pegasus Riding Academy and Over the Moon Ponies will provide interactive equestrian activities at the Oct. 17 event. Moses said his team is looking for all levels of volunteers, including event operations and marketing, in the final weeks leading up to the event. There will be an Oct. 15 “thank you” barbecue at Rose Hill to honor the group’s volunteers.
To learn about volunteering, visit polo4heroes.com.