Every year Governor’s Island opens its docks from May through September to hoards of locals and tourists. One event in particular that usually draws in the biggest crowds wearing thee fanciest hats is the Vueve Clicquot Polo championship match held every first Saturday in June. The Vueve Clicquot is a France based very expensive champagne and winery. The company hosts the Vueve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo matches in Europe and decided to bring the sport here to America. Now every year, in both New York City and Los Angeles you can watch some of the most famous polo players in the world ride it out on the AstroTurf all for free.
The Veuve Clicquot usually brings out a large amount of celebrities. I remember last year my tent was right next to where Al Roker and his family were barbecuing and I had the honor of watching Prince Harry go head to head with well renowned polo captain, Nacho Figueras. This year was no different as we were honored to have the master of ceremonies be Hugh Jackman. Hugh not only kicked off the event but also awarded the trophy to the winning team. This year’s match was team Black Watch, lead by Nacho Figueras versus Rico Mansur's Veuve Clicquot team. Team Black watch ended up beating Team Veuve Clicquot by a close score of six to five.
Every year the Veuve Clicquot uses the polo match as a huge fund raising machine. Last year, proceeds went to the benefit of Africa and this year, the beneficiary was the Hope Help and Rebuild Haiti fund. Haiti succumbed to a devastating earthquake in 2007 which they still never fully were able to recover from. The Hope Help and Rebuild Haiti fund was founded in January 2010 by Donna Karan, Andre Harrell, Mary J. Blige and Andre Balazs. Though when it began in 2010, it was known as the Hope Help and Relief Haiti fund, the name was changed just recently.
The souvenirs were pricier than normal such as a $17 glass of Vueve Clicquot champagne to a $32 beach towel but they purposely increased gift shop prices as the proceeds were all going to help the Haiti fund. Donna Karen’s charity company, Urban Zen, was also a co-sponsor of the Vueve Clicquot and used the event to sell their Haitian made clothing and jewelry line. Urban Zen even sold various Haitian masks, blankets and other objects in which all proceed went to benefit the Haitian relief fund. It was a great day to fund raise for sure.
We were hoping that Prince Harry and his newly wed bother and sister-in-law would show up like they normally did in the past, but they were unfortunately busy with other royal events. Though hopefully, they will be able to make it for next year’s match and we can see Harry versus Nacho again! The two highlights of the day for us in the non-VIP section, was after every time Nacho’s team Black Watch scored a goal, he would race over to us, and I do mean his horse did a full gallop over to us, and while riding his horse at a Canter pace along the side where we were cheering, slapped every one a high five as he rode by.
The second highlight was what’s known as the “stomping of the divots”. Traditionally, during half time or between matches in polo, fans are supposed to come onto the field and pretty much ‘stomp the divots’ or stomp on the grass beneath your feet that the players ride on. Truthfully, I’ve tried to look up how this tradition came about or why we do it, but I haven’t found any definitive answer only that we’re supposed to do it. Either way, it gives fans a chance to see just how massive the polo fields are. I can’t wait to stomp the divots again next year and I hope to see some of you there too!