30th Annual Hall of Fame Gala - New Inductees for 2019 Feted

March 15, 2019

Polo players, patrons and fans from around the world gathered at the Museum of Polo to honor the new inductees into the Hall of Fame. Held on Friday, February 15th, 2019 it was a milestone event for the Museum celebrating the 30th Anniversary of this annual Induction Ceremony and Awards Gala. The red carpet was rolled out and the guests turned out in grand style to honor six pillars of polo; Daniel Gonzalez, Gerald Balding, Karlene Beal Garber, John B. Armstrong, and horses Mr. Polo and Conover. 

Sponsored by Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Digital Bridge Holdings LLC and Grand Champions Polo Club, the Gala dinner was an elegant affair catered by Ken Rose Catering.

The evening’s wine and spirits were provided by Lipman Brothers, LLC, Robert S. Lipman, Margaret Lipman Orthwein, Brown-Forman, Old Hickory Bourbon, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bacardi USA, Line 39 Wine and Korbel Champagne.

With Museum Chairman Marty Cregg serving as the emcee for the evening and Museum President Melissa Ganzi presenting the awards, the first honors of the evening were given for the Horses to Remember. Leverett Miller and his wife Linda accepted the award for Conover, a great pony who was owned by Lev’s grandfather Harry Payne Whitney in the early 1900s. Lev was also a recipient of the Iglehart award in 2017 and is one of the Museum’s founders.

The award for Mr. Polo was accepted by Mimi Gracida Boyle on behalf of Memo Gracida who owned and played the memorable chestnut gelding, a partnership that resulted in winning 8 US Opens together.

In the posthumous Iglehart category for outstanding lifetime contributions to the sport, Stewart Armstrong accepted on behalf of his father, John B. Armstrong. John is remembered as a trail blazer for polo in Texas, a champion of charity matches, and as a consummate sportsman and gentleman.

Karlene Beal Garber took the podium to accept her award. She was honored for her past and continuing work on behalf of the Polo Training Foundation and the Federation of International Polo and betterment of the sport for all. "I'm humbled and thrilled to be in the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame," said Garber. "It is the honor of a lifetime."

The award for Gerald Balding, a superstar of the Golden Age of polo in the 1930s, was accepted by his daughter Gail Balding King. Gail calls Aiken home and her brother Ian and his wife Emma traveled from England to be here for the occasion.

Daniel Gonzalez was the final honoree of the evening. Part of the American polo scene for over 35 years, Daniel was known both as a player and a coach. "For me, it is a great honor to be here because it is a part of something unbelievable. I am very happy to be inducted with all of the international polo legends. Not everyone has the chance to do that and I am very honored."

Other Hall of Famers in attendance included Mariano Aguerre. Tony Coppola, Reuben Gracida, Julian Hipwood, Glen Holden, Frederick P. Mannix, Leverett S. Miller, Jimmy Newman, Bill Sinclaire and Charles Smith.

The after party went into full swing as guests flocked to the dance floor as the band King Tide, sponsored by Wayne and Pamela Garrison, kicked into gear.

The Museum’s book Poloart the 2018 Season was given out as gifts to everyone who attended. Sponsored this year by Iconica Foundation with additional funding support from Karlene Beal Garber, these books are produced annually have become coveted collectibles that celebrate the beauty of the polo ponies from the previous seasons. 

Thanks once again to all the Museum’s great sponsors who helped make this evening possible: Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC, Grand Champions Polo Club, Lipman Brothers LLC, Robert S. Lipman, Margaret Lipman Orthwein, Brown-Forman, Bacardi USA, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Old Hickory Bourbon, Line 39 Wine, Korbel Champagne, Wayne and Pamela Garrison, Iconica Foundation, Central New York Community Foundation, Karlene Beal Garber, Alex Pacheco Photography, Krystal Zaskey Photography, the Morning Line, Chukker TV and all our volunteers. The Museum of Polo is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization

To see photos from the 2019 Gala, please click on the following Link: http://picti.net/xRYRP