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Beginnings of Gay Polo in Wellington

Let’s travel back in time for a decade, plus a year or two. It’s well worth it.

Wellington was a bit different back then. Just coming out of a recession, and with a lot less construction and real estate development.

But there were also signs of modern, more advanced times encroaching in on our beloved town. It was about to get even more beautiful with the acceptance of a minority: the LGBTQ community.


Poster from the first time the Gay Polo Tournament came into town


I would say that we were being enriched, being blessed with the presence of extraordinary Polo players and human beings. The Gay Polo League held its inaugural tournament in Wellington, at Grand Champions.

And while I don’t recall the teams or even who won the tournament back then, I remember so vividly the hospitality, the camaraderie and the invigorating spirit that came into town along with the event.


Wellinton’s own Mason Phelps, (1949 – May 19, 2021) a promoter of the sport and a remarkable man


The Gay Polo League was created and established by Chip McKenney, and he brought it to Wellington. It was Chip who had the foresight and who invested in his own dream.

Helping with the first GPL events was none other than Mason Phelps. As an equestrian event promoter at the time, it was Mason who was instrumental in making that tournament very visible in the community and beyond. How can we ever forget you, Mason!

You opened our world, you were an avantgarde promoter of the finest kind. You elevated a winning event and left our town in a better place for it.

As true Polo enthusiasts even back then, Troy and I were able to score event posters of the first two years. We have guarded them with care and respect, for they stand for something big: a change in humanity, a shift in mainstream perspective, a betterment of society as a whole.

At least that’s what I believe in.


All the markings of a more progressive world…


The tradition continues with the leadership of Chip McKenney, who now is also the promoter. This coming weekend is proof of a more accepting community, and an audience who is ready for a most delightful sporting event.

And if for nothing else: it is Polo, and we can look forward to yet another weekend of the Gay Polo League Tournament’s athletes, competing for the coveted trophy. Good luck and may the better team win.

We’ll see you there!


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