If you’re looking for top polo talent, look no further than the upcoming 9th Annual Land Rover Palm Beach International Gay Polo Tournament (#GPL2018). Seasoned polo professionals from USA, South Africa and Argentina will quarterback the four teams competing in the 9th Annual Land Rover Palm Beach International Gay Polo Tournament, to be held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on April 7. The professional polo players will add significant fire-power to their teams vying for a chance to capture the Senators Cup or Founders Cup. Americans and South Florida residents Matt Coppola, Joey Casey and Tiffany Busch will lead their respective teams against those of Sugar Erskine of South Africa and Argentina’s golden boy Nacho Badiola.
“It says a lot about the professionals who support and participate in diversity events like the Gay Polo League tournament, and we recognize and appreciate their willingness to be a part of our event,” said Chip McKenney, Founder and President of GPL.
Famed South African 6-goal professional Stuart “Sugar” Erskine will lead the charge on Caroline Moran’s Goshen Hill. Erskine grew up in a rural area of South Africa and was introduced to polo through his father, Andrew. After finishing school, he headed to the United States to establish his polo career. Several generous colleagues helped Stuart transition from South African to US Polo, and after much hard work, he became known and respected as a talented and accomplished player. Erskine has been on winning teams in the US Open, Camara, Gold Cup, Pacific Coast Open, East Coast Open, Ylvisaker Cup, Joe Barry Cup and Silver Cup.
Argentine professional 6-goaler Ignacio “Nacho” Badiola will serve as the frontman for RSM US, LLP’s team. Badiola grew up in Coronel Suarez, the Argentine town dubbed “the Capital of Polo” due to its long history with the sport and talented players. Nacho grew up watching his competitive polo-playing father, Juan Badiola, and soon started playing alongside him at age six. Drawn to the game for its speed and strategy, Badiola travels the world playing competitively from Argentina to Europe. He played with the Lucchese team in 2015 and helped secure victory at the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
As the point person for the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek team, 4-goal pro Matt Coppola will assume a familiar position for the tournament. A Wellington resident and a frequent player at International Polo Club Palm Beach in high-goal seasons, the young Coppola has accrued numerous titles to add to his family legacy. Born into an equestrian and polo family, Coppola has competed in numerous high-profile events including the Ylvisaker Cup, the All Pro Polo League in Argentina and the U.S. Open Polo Championships. Coppola’s family owns and operates The Tackeria, an iconic retailer in the global equestrian community, since 1975. Matt’s father, Anthony Coppola, is the current President of the United States Polo Association.
Catherine Malone’s team, Cedar Crest Stables, will be led by local polo professionals Joey Casey, owner of Palm City Polo, and fellow pro Tiffany Busch, manager at Vero Beach Polo Club. Four-goaler Casey is a third-generation polo player and earned a 7-goal handicap at one point, bringing more than 30 years of professional polo experience to the tournament. Casey successfully competed in high-goal tournaments around the world, including numerous U.S. Open Polo Championships. Career highlights include being the three-time winner of the C.V. Whitney Cup, champion of the USPA Gold Cup and the the Pacific Coast Open. Palm City Polo Club is the home club of the GPL Polo Club, and Casey has been instrumental in mentoring and guiding GPL’s growth.
A 10-year veteran of the game, Vero Beach native and 1.5-goaler Busch was introduced to polo through her father Peter Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame and has developed into a highly respected icon in women’s polo. Busch began playing competitively at the age of 17 for her father’s team, Michelob Ultra, and ultimately used that point in her career to rise to the top of the women’s rankings. A highlight of her playing career includes securing the overtime win in the 2012 Women’s US Open in Houston, Texas and being named MVP of the tournament. This win led to her feature on the cover of Polo Magazine in January 2013.
For more information, please visit gaypolo.com.