Asheville Versus Charlotte Gladiator Polo™ at TIEC


Galloping across the arena a Gladiator Polo™ players (above and below) get ready to strike the ball and hopes to score for their team.

 By Dasha Morgan – Crowds have been enthusiastic about the new expanding sport of arena polo that is being played in Mill Spring at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) introduced his creative Gladiator Polo™ concept in Wellington, Florida, and now he has brought it here to Mill Spring. The concept gives players a new platform to demonstrate their skills while reaching a wider audience. Gladiator Polo™ presented by Coca-Cola is a professional arena polo league that combines the world’s best polo players with modified rules that keep the play fast. The event is played in a ring with all weather footing that is approximately 300′ x 150′ which is 1/10 the size of a typical grass polo field. There are three players on each side. The Inaugural Gladiator Polo™ League in Wellington, Florida, had prize money of $250,000, which is the world’s largest polo purse.

To see some fast-paced matches, with six players and their ponies galloping back and forth, there are some upcoming special evenings to look forward to seeing. On Friday, September 1st, from 6:00 – 10:00 PM will be Greenville versus Spartanburg for the Battle for South Carolina. Then on Saturday, September 9th, will be the Gladiator Polo™ Battle for North Carolina — Charlotte versus Asheville, as part of the Saturday Night Lights. The $120,000 Battle for the Carolina Series Championship will be an exciting event, Saturday, September 30. All matches are 6:00 – 10:00 PM.

One of the Asheville Gladiators, Geronimo Obregon will play for Team Asheville presented by Ingles. He is originally from Argentina, was born in Denver, Colorado, and started playing polo early, when 9 years old, but has primarily played field polo. Camealche is his favorite polo pony. Another Team Asheville player is Jason Crowder, who is originally from Santa Barbara, California. He played in the Gladiator league in Florida this winter and considers his favorite polo pony to be Seniso. What he said in an online interview was “Playing arena polo is a lot quicker and rougher, and lot more reacting to what’s going on.”

For those who may not be as familiar, here are the basic rules:

-Six Chukkers

-Three Players per team (each player has 3-4 horses to ride for the duration of the game)

-To score, the ball must be hit into a net that is 10 feet wide and 12 feet tall.

-There is one referee inside the arena to call fouls and to start and stop play.

Overall these will be entertaining evenings for children as well as adults. There will be real-life Gladiators –all decked out with helmets and body armor, roaming the facility, Kids’ Gladiator Games, Gladiator photo opportunities, and more! The Kids Area at Gladiator Polo™ will feature jousting, face painting, polo pony rides, and Gladiator dress up– in addition to the usual favorite Saturday Night Lights carousel rides and fanfare!

For adults many Argentinian dishes and buffets are being served throughout. As the international mecca of polo, TIEC wants to celebrate the sport’s Argentine culture by offering the authentic fire-grilled, Asado experience. The word “asado” comes from the term for a variety of barbecue techniques as well as the social event of the barbecue itself – which is particularly popular in Argentina, one of the most prominent polo destinations in the world.

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