Since the late 19th century, Colorado has been captivated by the elegant sport of polo. The Broadmoor was a renowned center for polo in its early days and once again is celebrated as one of the state’s most beloved institutions for this timeless game.
On February 25th, 2023, the historic Norris Penrose Event Center was host to the inaugural Winter Polo Classic, the result of a powerful partnership between Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and The Broadmoor.
Spencer Penrose, the founder of the resort, was not only a passionate member of the polo community and high society circles but can also be credited with bringing polo to Colorado in the early 1900’s.
“The legacy of polo runs deep in Colorado Springs, and we are incredibly excited to be working alongside The Broadmoor to reintroduce it in the community,” said Sports Corp President & CEO Megan Leatham. “It’s a timeless event that brings diversity to the region’s sport economy, and we could not be more excited to help reinvigorate the sport of polo in the region.”
The Winter Polo Classic is the brainchild of Nicholas Francoeur, a proud Air Force Academy graduate, and member of the Denver Polo Club and La Dalila Polo – Hobe Sound Polo Club. Francoeur was part of the Penrose Team competing against the Emerald Valley Polo Team during this eventful polo-filled weekend.
The Sport of Kings Meets the Masses
The event attracted over 800 spectators, both locals and out-of-state travelers. It was an exciting weekend filled with a four-Chukker polo match, delectable food and drinks in the VIP area overlooking the pitch, and an entertaining half-time show. Event sponsor Distillery 291 was on hand creating custom cocktails for the event, and their citrus and clove liqueur, The Decc, was a crowd favorite.
The day of the match was a spectacular one, with Colorado’s crisp sun shining down on attendees as the snow from days prior melted outside the arena’s grounds. Erica Gandomcar-Sachs from Team Penrose delighted the audience with her defensive play, and effortless mallet strikes across the pitch. As the owner and CEO of Denver Polo Club, Gandomcar-Sachs is not only a local authority in the sport but also an acclaimed international champion.
The Broadmoor Winter Polo Classic is a true collaboration between the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, The Broadmoor, and Colorado State University (CSU). All of the horses are from CSU’s Polo Club, and current President Hannah Stock was part of Emerald Valley’s victorious team.
Since 1931, the Colorado State University Polo Club has provided students with an opportunity to participate in this time-honored sport. The club boasts over 30 polo ponies that are boarded at CSU’s Equine Center and enables aspiring players of all ages to join their beginner or junior varsity program.
Led by Emerald Valley team member and alumnus Andrew Wildermuth as coach, one unique aspect of the club is that every year it welcomes a group of 15-20 beginners who have no previous polo experience.
The Broadmoor Reigns Supreme
Colorado Springs has a long and illustrious history with polo, having had The Broadmoor serve as its premier playing center starting in the late 1800’s. A revival in the 1960’s led to the formation of larger clubs, like the Denver Polo Club, Aspen Valley Polo Club, and Colorado State University Polo Club. The Broadmoor again joins the active polo scene with its new, distinct offering of winter polo.
The Broadmoor pulled out all the stops for hotel guests attending the inaugural Winter Polo Classic. Hotel packages included two nights’ accommodation, priority seating at the Winter Polo Classic event, VIP cocktail reception, round trip transportation, and beautiful Sterling crystal rocks glasses as a commemorative gift with the event’s logo.
Renowned for its unparalleled hospitality, guests and tournament visitors enjoyed the lavish accommodations and award-winning dining during their weekend polo getaway.
The inaugural Broadmoor Winter Polo Classic was a momentous occasion. With the resurgence of polo in Colorado, there is hope for it to be an annual event for many years to come. It also provides an opportunity for both old and new generations to experience the sport of kings in its full glory in Colorado Springs.
The future of Colorado’s polo scene looks bright, and The Broadmoor Winter Polo Classic is just the beginning. So be sure to mark your calendars for this exciting event in 2024!
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.