Would you like to subscribe to our newsletters?

Sign up here for our Newsletter!

iN PHOTOS: How to dress for Kelowna’s luxury polo event this summer

Polo action will be high on many people's social calendar on the August long weekend.
Polo action will be high on many people's social calendar on the August long weekend.
Image Credit: Submitted/Okanagan Polo Club/Susan Wales

The annual Kelowna Polo Classic will take on a special atmosphere on the August long weekend this summer.

“We’re trying to capture a spirit of ‘esprit de corps,’” Stephen Duke, vice-chancelier of la Chaine des Rotisseurs of Canada, told “We want to dress up a little bit. It’ll be smoking hot, I’m sure, but I’ll be wearing a linen jacket or a polo shirt. We want to keep it a Kelowna event too. There’ll be cowboy hats there, I’m sure of it. I might wear my own cowboy hat.”

La Chaine is an international organization that promotes gastronomes, connoisseurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, executive chefs and sommeliers in more than 80 countries.

It has 12 chapters (Bailliages) across Canada, including one in Kelowna. It is hosting this first day of the three-day polo tournament, in part to raise money for the 2024 International Young Sommelier Competition that will be held in Kelowna Oct. 14-18, the first time it’s ever been held in Canada.

“A lot of people don’t know there’s a Kelowna,” Duke said. “A lot of people don’t know there’s a British Columbia. They’ll be coming here and discovering we have some seriously good wine.”

It is an adult-focused outing.

Image Credit: Submitted/

"For a day at the Kelowna Polo Classic, it's best to leave the kids at home and embark on a stylish and sophisticated adventure," the Kelowna Polo Classic website says. "Arriving in style is essential, whether it's taking an Uber, taxi, or even a luxurious limousine.

"To fully enjoy the elegance of the event, it's advisable to leave behind dad-runners, daisy dukes, blue jeans, and swimwear. Instead, opt for refined attire that matches the grandeur of the occasion. Don't forget to bring your binoculars to witness every thrilling moment of the polo matches up close. And for ultimate comfort, pack a couple of folding chairs to ensure you have a cozy spot to enjoy the action and the beautiful surroundings."

As for polo, the Okanagan Polo Club runs the tournament annually on the August long weekend and it's generally the largest in the Pacific Northwest.

This year, after being approached by La Chain, the Okanagan Polo Club adjusted the schedule so that Sat. Aug. 5, will be the “inaugural luxury social event of the summer,” according to the Kelowna Classic Polo website.

That means there will be an elite championship game on Saturday, followed by awards and celebrations.

Another championship match will wind up the competition on Monday.

READ MORE: Harper Ranch battled with 'Kamloops First Nation' before amassing land holdings

“Wander through the event and socialize with other like-minded and fashionable folks,” the website says. “Get noticed in the General Hospitality Zone where you can learn about the Chaine and the Okanagan Polo Club.”

While polo is billed as the “sport of kings,” that’s really a myth, Duke said. Still, it does require a certain income to afford horses and, especially on the Saturday, entrance fees to what is being billed as a luxury event.

“Ladies attending a polo match often opt for a stylish and sophisticated look,” the event's website says. “A fancy hat is a must-have accessory to complete the outfit. Embrace vibrant colours, whether it's in your summery dresses or through colourful accessories.

Image Credit: Submitted/

“For a more casual yet chic ensemble, you may choose a polo shirt paired with white denim. Comfortable flat soled or wedge shoes are preferred to stroll around the field. And of course, the company of friends is always welcomed.”

The event will feature a cigar lounge, food trucks, theme bars with specialty cocktails, wine and more.

“Besides the networking and polo action, part of the entertainment is people watching,” the website says. “There will be a DJ, prizes for ‘best dressed’, ‘best hat’ and fun polo inspired games.”

Instructions on style options for men are included on the site.

“A man attending a polo match should dress elegantly yet comfortably,” it says. “Opt for a tailored blazer or sport coat paired with a crisp button-down shirt. Combine this with well-fitted trousers or khakis for a smart and polished look.

Image Credit: Submitted/

“Don't forget to accessorize with a stylish belt and a pair of loafers or dress shoes. A classic hat and a pair of sunglasses will complete the ensemble, ensuring you are both fashionable and protected from the sun.”

Tickets are $75 per person or $125 for the VIP pass and are available here. Duke says they are selling well and limited to 750.

But, people interested in the sport don’t have to pay big bucks.

La Chain is only taking over the north side of the field. The regular entrance on the south side is open to all, free of charge, with food available for purchase, polo club member Jessica Wales told

The field, at 4444 Bulman Rd. near Kelowna Airport, is 180 yards wide, 300 yards long with goals that are 24 feet wide.

That’s enough room to fit nine football fields so there is plenty of separation between the two groups of spectators.

On Sunday and Monday, both sides of the field are open to all for free.

Image Credit: Submitted/Okanagan Polo Club/Susan Wales

The schedule is still being worked out with about 10 teams expected to be divided into two flights. Action will start about 10 a.m. each morning and continue with about five matches a day through to the late afternoon or early evening.

Players are rated. Beginners are ranked a -2 “goals” up to 10 “goals” for top players.

This tournament will have two flights, or divisions. In the more advanced flight, the average player is ranked two to four. In the B flight, the average player ranking is zero.

At this level, each game consists of four 7.5 minute periods called chuckers. They usually run a few minutes longer because of penalties.

Horses are changed between each chucker.

READ MORE: If these pioneers had gotten their way, you could paddle from the Shuswap to Osoyoos

“There are not very many rules,” the Okanagan Polo Club website says. “The rules are, first and foremost, there to protect the horses, secondly the players and then to allow for a fair and organized contest.”

There are rules on how to carry the mallet (right hand only) and a concept called “the line of the ball” that controls how riders interact with each other as they race up and down the field trying to hit the ball through the goals.

Image Credit: Submitted/

“To stop someone with the ball, the defender can ride parallel and on the left side of the right of way and either hook the other guy's mallet to ruin his hit or may take the ball for him/herself as long as he does not endanger the other horse,” the club’s website says. “Remember, this may all be going on at 30 mph.

“The second way to stop a player carrying the ball is to ride him off. This is the biggest part of the defensive game. To do this, the defending player rides his horse such that it pushes the other guy's horse sideways so the ball now becomes free for the defender to take the ball. A ride off must be done safely.”

In order to protect the horses, they are only ridden for one chucker per day, which means riders need a minimum of four horses each for every match so there will likely be 200 or so, mostly thoroughbred, horses in attendance.

For those without their own horses who are keen to learn the sport, they can play for free in club practices with borrowed horses. But, Wales said, they have to be serious and, after the first season, are expected to lease or purchase their own horses and equipment.

For more information on the Okanagan Polo Club, go here.

Image Credit: Submitted/

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. SUBSCRIBE to our awesome newsletter here.