Photo | Caroline Bramlett / LCB Style
Locals of Fairhope, Herndon Radcliff turns the ball and Chip Campbell follows behind, playing back.
The celebrated Polo at the Point event, traditionally billed as the largest one-day fundraiser in Alabama, is returning to the Baldwin County social calendar. The 30th annual event is set for Saturday at the Clearwater-Sonny Hill Polo Complex off U.S. 98 in Point Clear.
In 2017, torrential rains turned the fields into a quagmire. It was decided not to risk the safety of the players and the horses in those difficult and dangerous conditions.
“When the rain stopped, we held the awards ceremony by selecting winners by the places they held before the day’s matches,” Linda Lou Parsons, who has served as chairperson of the event for the previous decade, told Lagniappe. “When all was tallied, we had acres of damaged, wet soaked grass that became mud mush due to all the foot and vehicle traffic. It took close to six months and loads of dump trucks of sand for the grass to repair itself.”
Following this, the organizers decided to take a sabbatical in 2018 from hosting the occasion. This marked only the second time — the other being in 2002 — that Polo at the Point did not take place.
* Since its founding in 1988, the volunteer-driven Point Clear Charities has donated millions of dollars to benefit cancer research, local nonprofit organizations and children’s charities. The main beneficiary this year is the Thomas Hospital Foundation.
“Point Clear Charities is very proud of the fact that Polo at the Point is organized and created by an entirely volunteer committee of 50 to 60 people from the community,” Parsons said. “As the day-of event arrives, those numbers increase with week-of and day-of volunteers. They love to give back to their community.”
Another major beneficiary in the past has been the Mitchell Cancer Institute, which received funds in 2017, as did Thomas Hospital Foundation. They have also been joined in the past by Bayside Academy, CARE House, Christian Service Center, Daphne High School JROTC, Drug Education Council, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation, Fairhope High School ENCORE, Rotary Club of Fairhope, Rotary Club of Point Clear, Thomas Hospital Pediatric Rehab, USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital and Wilmer Hall Children’s Home.
* The schedule for the U.S. Polo Association-sanctioned event has changed this year. In the past, a week-long tournament would culminate with a consolation game and championship match on the final day. Members of the Point Clear Polo Club would often compete against professionals and top amateurs from throughout the world.
This year, the Grand Oak Cup will be an exhibition featuring riders from the various clubs. Hutch Radcliff, a Point Clear Polo Club member who is helping to organize the tournament, said the match will be played on the Clearwater Polo Field at 7670 Dairy Road. This is just west of the Sonny Hill Polo Field that has hosted the previous matches.
“We have four teams for the tournament,” Radcliff told Lagniappe. “We will have players from Argentina; Midland, Texas; Memphis; New Orleans; Birmingham; Lexington, Kentucky; Wellington, Florida; and Columbus, Georgia.”
Radcliff said several teams will feature players with local connections. The roster for Cessna/Clearwater includes Chip Campbell and Gonzalo Teves. Riding for Mercedes/Honahlee are Cathy Alba and Herndon Radcliff. Bob Edmundson is on No Trees/Bobcats.
The USPA Southern-Intra Circuit Cup schedule is as follows: Oct. 4 – Memphis vs. No Trees/Bobcats (Sonny Hill Field at 3 p.m.); Oct. 5 – Cessna/Clearwater vs. Mercedes/Honahlee (Clearwater at 11 a.m.); Oct. 7 – Cessna/Clearwater vs. Memphis (Clearwater at 1 p.m.) and Mercedes/Honahlee vs. No Trees/Bobcat (Sonny Hill at 3 p.m.); Oct. 10 – Cessna/Clearwater vs. No Trees/Bobcat (Clearwater at 1 p.m.) and Memphis vs. Mercedes/Honahlee (Sonny Hill at 3 p.m.); Oct. 12 – consolation match at 1 p.m. and championship at 3 p.m. (Clearwater)
* For Polo at the Point, the gates will open Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The always popular silent auction tent will be available starting at 10 a.m. The competition is set to get underway at 11 a.m.
“This year we decided how wonderful it would be to honor three very talented ladies who love capturing the game, players and horses with amazing passion and an eye for the perfect moments,” Parsons said. “These polo photography artists have family members which have played for many years. They are Fontaine Radcliff Howard, Kim Campbell and Dawn Pilot. In their honor, we used their work on our invitations, posters, tickets, T-shirts and program cover.”
Events such as the Grand Hotel Champagne Divot Stomp (where spectators help to repair the field at halftime), Best Hat Contest and Parade, and Best Tailgate Contest are back. Gates at the complex will close at 2:30 p.m.
The fun does not end after the match. For the first time, a special Players’ Party will continue with “Sunset & Songs” at The Grand Hotel. Along with cocktails on the patio, a bevy of popular songwriters from Nashville will perform. Jessi Alexander, Kelley Lovelace, Wendell Mobley and Neil Thrasher all have an extensive collection of No. 1 hits with today’s top country stars.
Polo at the Point tickets range from $10 (tailgate) to $250 (all-inclusive brunch at the game plus one Players’ Party pass with two drink tickets). Tickets to attend just the after-party are $100. For more information, visit poloatthepoint.com.
* City Hope Church will host the fourth annual Race for Hope 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. The event is set for the Dumas Wesley Community Center located at 126 Mobile Street in Mobile. Race proceeds will benefit Dumas Wesley Community Center outreach services.
Registration is available online on Eventbrite at Race for Hope 5K and Fun Run. Race entry fees are $20 until Oct. 11, or $30 the day of the race.
Kate Carver, executive director of the Dumas Wesley Community Center, said that an attainable fundraising goal from this year’s Race for Hope of $32,000 would help Dumas Wesley house a homeless family for two years, or provide summer camperships for 40 underserved youth, or sponsor homebound meals for 38 at-risk senior citizens for one year.
* The Trick or Trot 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 at USA Moulton Tower on the campus of the University of South Alabama. This race benefits the Pediatric Emergency Department at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital.
In its seventh year, Trick or Trot has become known for its great fall festival and after party where children and adults can trick-or-treat in a safe environment around the tower on campus.
All registered racers will have access to the post-race party that will include jump houses, music, photo booth, pumpkin decorating, food and drinks along with trick-or-treating. If you are not a runner, you can purchase a wristband for the post-race event at the Children’s & Women’s cafeteria starting Oct. 17 or at the main tent day on event day for $5.
For more details, visit giving.usahealthsystem.com/event-trick-or-trot-register.
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