City council cuts deal keeping polo in Scottsdale for the summer

Polo enthusiasts are hopeful a summer deal struck between WestWorld of Scottsdale and the Arizona Polo Club, Polo Cares Inc., will help grow the sport locally.

A view of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships held annually at Westworld of Scottsdale. (Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Polo Party)

A view of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships held annually at Westworld of Scottsdale. (Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Polo Party)

WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, is a 300,000-square-foot indoor facility with 11 equestrian arenas. It is also the home to the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships, the most attended polo event in the world, according to public relations executive Jason Rose, founder of the Scottsdale Polo Party.

“The local polo club, Polo Cares, got a fee reduction for the use of the polo field at WestWorld,” said Mr. Rose in a May 19 phone interview. “We certainly find the idea to be very productive and inventive.”

Normally the polo fields would not be used during the summer, said Mr. Rose, but now, Polo Cares has found a way to extend the season.

“What’s important about this use is that we are extending the season and diversifying the uses of our WestWorld facility, that is really what we intended to do with the expansion and creating an indoor arena,” said Councilwoman Virginia Korte in a May 19 phone interview. “Before we weren’t able to hold horse events and so this a wonderful example of fulfilling the intention and returning the investment in that facility.”

On Dec. 18, 2013, the Scottsdale Independent reported the upgraded expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at WestWorld cost $42.8 million in 2012.

The Arizona Polo Club does not have a permanent home, according to Dr. Diego Florez, club manager of the APC, but they are trying to do everything they can to get their name out there and hopefully find one.

Dr. Florez said the club is focusing on getting involved with local fundraisers and events to hopefully grow the sport.

“We want to do a lot of stuff with the club,” Dr. Florez said in a May 19 phone interview. “We want to promote polo.”

Polo Cares is offering instructional classes to teach residents how to play polo, answer their questions and to bring a new awareness of the organization and sport of polo to the greater Scottsdale community, according to Dr. Florez.

“The contract goes through the end of August and then we have to contract again for the winter and spring,” said Dr. Florez. “Once they figure out their schedule, then they will say we have this left over for you guys and we will take as many as we can usually.”

Councilwoman Korte believes Scottsdale is the right home for the sport.

“They have come to Scottsdale for a reason, they have done the market research to know what type of demographic is attracted to that type of event and so I know that they are organizers are positive and optimistic and Scottsdale is a great place to start an event like this in the summer time,” she said.

Go to azpoloclub.com to learn more.

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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