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Ligonier Valley YMCA is planning 'Polo for the Kids'

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
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A polo player attempts to hit the ball at a previous Polo for Kids charity event. This year's event, presented by the Ligonier YMCA and the Rolling Rock Hunt, is Sept 7.

Donors, sponsors and spectators will gather Sept. 7 to watch Ligonier take on Dusseldorf, Germany, at the third annual “Polo for the Kids” event, presented by the Ligonier Valley YMCA and the Rolling Rock Hunt.

The match will be held at the Richard E. Raizman polo field, located off Stom Road. The gates will open at 12:30 p.m. Pre-match festivities will begin at 1 p.m. with the match commencing at 2 p.m.

The day will also include a silent auction with items provided by Jason Ament of Equine Chic and handmade jewelry provided by Lisa McChesney of LHM Design.

The previous two polo events have been the largest fundraisers for the Y, playing host to 700 spectators and raising nearly $100,000 each year for the annual scholarship fund.

“It's a phenomenal event,” said YMCA Director Ben Wright. “It's a great opportunity to network, and it's an opportunity to enjoy company with friends with a spectacular view. It's for a great cause. Who can say no to kids going to camp and kids having care? You are taking care of the community's kids.”

The YMCA awards $180,000 in scholarships annually. According to Scotty Nelson director of fund development, scholarships are awarded based on the financial needs of a family and can offset up to 100 percent of the expenses for children to attend programs.

Hundreds of children are provided care through activities such as learning to swim, playing and competing in youth sports leagues, attending summer day camp, learning new skills and making new friends. Nelson also estimated that, in the months of June and July alone, $35,000 in scholarship money has been awarded.

“It is the mission of the Y to provide these scholarships to kids and families in need. For me, it's the kids at the end of the day,” Nelson stated. “(The scholarships) significantly reduce the cost of childcare and pre-school.”

Nelson explained that in addition to helping local children, the event is popular because of the uniqueness of the sport of polo.

Polo is played on horseback, with two teams that score points by hitting the ball into the opponent's goal with long-handled mallets.

“It's not your run of the mill charity event,” Nelson said. “It's a chance to watch a great sport that not a lot of people otherwise would have the chance to see, along with supporting people here, directly in their community. The event is held in Ligonier, so I think it's fitting that it supports those in the Ligonier community as much as possible. It's easier to support something that is here.”

The cost is $150, which includes parking and food and beverages. For more information visit http://poloforthekids.com/.

To purchase tickets, donate or become a sponsor, call Scotty Nelson at 724-238-7580 ext. 22.

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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