No match? No problem!

By on July 26, 2017

Polo tailgaters persevere, despite the heat

This summer’s heat was too much, it was feared, for horses and players, Sunday morning, so at about 11 a.m., club officials called off the day’s Lancaster Polo Club match at Forney Field.

A called match, however, was no deterrent to Mark Strickland, an inveterate tailgater who had loaded up his truck that morning, determined to make his weekly drive to Rothsville.

Sunday was the club’s annual tailgate cook off, a contest Strickland has won for nine of the past 12 years. He was in search of another win. And besides, he had a truckload of food that was not going to be consumed if he stayed home in Breinigsville, an hour’s drive from Rothsville.

Mark Strickland travels an hour each way every Sunday from his home in Breinigsville to Forney Field in Rothsville. He watches polo as he cooks up a feast. He has won the Lancaster Polo Club annual tailgate cook off nine of the past 12 years. (Photos by Dick Wanner)

His menu for the day was inspired by a recent week’s stay to Sichuan, China, followed by a week in Tibet. His printed menu listed three cold appetizers, three varieties of dim sum, a noodle soup, fried rice, lo mein, two stir frys, three offerings from his grill, and a dessert. The dessert: black apricots and cherries macerated in plum wine and five spice powder.

So, some Sunday afternoon, if you want to catch a polo match — they start at 2:30, general admission is $5 for adults, free for children under 12 — you may want to see if you can get friendly with Mark.

Also present on Sunday was the Fashion Bus, a women’s clothing boutique on wheels. The Fashion Bus is owned by Cliff and Jayne Brighton of Willow Street. The couple sold their Boutique No. 9 in Millersville some time ago, sold all their inventory at Root’s Market, then decided to take the fashion show on the road.

Although Sunday’s polo match was called off because of the heat, there were still several dozen people and a few horses wandering around Forney Field in Rothsville.

They both are pleased with the way the business has taken off. On Sunday, the traffic into and out of the bus was brisk, even though the crowd was a shadow of what it would have been on a match day. Cliff Brighton, who stayed mostly outside the bus, said they’re available for public events, like polo matches, and even private parties. Their website is

Next Sunday, July 30, promises to be one of the biggest days in the history of Forney Field. Robbie Zekany, born with Down syndrome, has been a goal flagger for the club for 35 years. The current president of the U. S. Polo Association will be traveling from West Palm Beach, Fla., to present Zekany with a special brick to honor unflagging service to the sport. What makes the brick special is that it will be placed in the U.S.P.A. hall of fame.

Dick Wanner is a reporter for The Record Express. He can be reached at

Robbie Zekany will be honored at the polo match on July 30 for his 35 years as a goalflagger.


Some time ago Jayne Brighton shuttered her Boutique No. 9 in Millersville, sold all her inventory over a month of Tuesdays at Root’s Market, then set up shop in a transformed 14-passenger bus. Six weeks into her mobile business, she set up Sunday for a polo match at Forney Field, but the match was canceled because of the heat. Even without the match, there was a steady stream of customers into and out of her truck.


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