Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge Cup Opens Bridgehampton Season

The Bridgehampton Polo Club hosted the coveted Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge this weekend. This year's Challenge event was a benefit for the South Fork Breast Health Coalition.

Horses take the field at start of the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge Cup

This year's competing teams were "White Birch," led by Peter Brant, Mariano Aguerre, Ulysses Escapite, and Todd Offen, and "Jumeirah Culu Culu" led by Larry Austin and Alessandro Bazzoni, Gaston Lisiloi, Naco Taverna, and Marcele Frassinet.

Chase Crawford greets the crowd

Celebrity host Chace Crawford greeted the crowd by way of appearance in a beautiful Mercedes convertible. The star will appear in two films this year, "Loaded," with Jesse Metcalfe and Monica Keena, and the independent "She Lived" with Haley Bennett.

Surprise celebrity guest sightings were plentiful...

Other celebrities joining him in support of the day included Ramona Singer (of Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York City") and Silvia Miles (of "Urban Cowboy" fame).

One of White Birch's prize ponies, readying for the Challenge Cup game

The polo play saw White Birch taking the lead early, with a score of 13 to 2 in the first three chukkers. Birch went on to defeat Culu Cula.

Celebrities went out to stomp down divets, too... some even got a surprise on their shoes

One of the most fun parts of the polo match occurs during the game break, the equivalent to football's "half time." Spectators are invited to come onto the playing field to stomp down divets created during play. Of course, we took part in this, running into quite a few celebrities who felt the need to have the feel of grass and, in some cases, other less pleasant things, underneath their feet...

An invitation-only VIP cocktail reception was hosted under the famous Mercedes-Benz tent and featured catering by R Cano Catering.

Sponsor Perrier-Jouet serving up the bubbly

Season partner sponsors include: P iaget, St. Regis, Catherine M. Zadeh Fine Jewelry, Champagne Perrier-Jouet, Stolichnaya Vodka, Capricho Luxury Resort, FIJI water, T-Mobile Sidekick, Coca-Cola, Hpnotiq, and Zino Premium cigars.

The Challenge Cup event opens the season of play during which teams Black Watch, Pony Express, Equuleus, Mansour, and White Birch and Jumeirah Culu Culu can be seen in action.

Celebrity authors enjoy the ponies, too

2008 Season match dates/times include Saturday, July 26th at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, August 2nd at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, August 9th at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, August 16th at 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, August 23rd at 4:00 p.m.

Black Watch booth being set up prior to the event- Sam in charge!

General admission tickets are available on the day of the polo match. Admission is $20 per car. All proceeds benefit the South Fork Breast Health Coalition. The VIP tent is reserved for sponsors and their invited guests only. For information on private field-side tailgate parties, please call 212-420-9420, ext. 29.

Text and photos copyright 2008 M. D. Caprario

Thank you to Mike the PR guy for making the event that much more fun!

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