Toast of the tailgaters

By on July 22, 2015

Polo parties include watermelon margaritas and Macedonian baklava

It was a toasty day for a tailgate at the Rothsville polo grounds.

With temperatures inching into the high 90s on Sunday, it was a challenge for Mark Stickler to grill up lamb shanks on the barbecue and keep the octopus salad chilled. The tailgate crew from the USGA were making sure the “club” sandwiches and cheese “wedges” didn’t melt in the sun.

The Hiram Rhodes Revels Society of Lancaster had a patriotic feast.

The Hiram Rhodes Revels Society of Lancaster had a patriotic feast.

The Hiram Rhodes Revels Society were staying comfortable with refreshing watermelon margaritas and secret-recipe meatballs at their patriotic-themed set-up. Nearby, the Sechlers and Kunkles took their party to Mexico with sizzling enchiladas and a refreshing melon

salad.

Kathy Kephart, Jim Garland and friends were busy icing their blue seawater cocktail and dining on lobster, crab dip and ceviche. Across the field, the D’amaros and Riegers of Long Island managed to look cool and elegant at their traditional tally-ho English hunt tea, complete with fine china and the ladies wearing fancy hats.

“It’s amazing to see the effort that goes into these tailgates,” said announcer Bob LeMin.

Talley-ho hunt-themed tailgaters Gary and Gina D’amaro, James and Marianne Reiger. (Photos by Laura Knowles)

Talley-ho hunt-themed tailgaters Gary and Gina D’amaro, James and Marianne Reiger. (Photos by Laura Knowles)

Tailgating at polo is serious fun, and during this particular week prizes were awarded to the best of the best. Several of the winners were return champions, while others were newcomers.

Gary and Gina D’amaro and their friends James and Marianne Rieger of Smithtown, Long Island, were returning home after attending a steeplechase in Maryland. Passing through Lititz, they heard about the polo matches in Rothsville and decided to join the festivities. They happened to have all their gear with them, setting up a table with floral linens, horse-themed artwork, and even a wicker seating area. They took the creativity prize for their tally-ho tailgate, and Lancaster Polo invited them back for next year’s event.

“We love horses, of course, and when we heard there was a polo match today, we just had to come,” said Gary D’amaro.

The best theme of the day was the USGA tent, set up by Doug and Sue Engle and Cindi and Craig Kimmel. A week after the Women’s U.S. Open was played in Lancaster, it seemed like a perfect plan to go with a golf theme. Everyone dressed as caddies and the menu was on par with foods that included Birdie on Six chicken kabobs, Hole in One cake and Tee Off Arnold Palmer punch.

Golf-themed food at the USGA party.

Golf-themed food at the USGA party.

Mark Stickler has made competing in the tailgate event his mission, and he took the top prize for his food. Back from a vacation in the Balkans, Stickler single-handedly whipped up a feast of foods from Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Montenegro. The menu featured Bulgarian feta, Serbian flatbread, Macedonian baklava, Bosnian sausages known as Cevapi, and Hrvatska Salata od Hobotnice with fresh octopus.

“My wife and daughter couldn’t be here today, so it’s just me and Weezie,” said Stickler, although his cute pug was mostly providing company for the chef.

The best drink prize was awarded to Kathy Kephart, Jim Garland and their friends. The drink was a bright blue seawater concoction, with blue Hawaiian punch, vodka, Blue Curacao, and blue Gatorade to keep them hydrated. The menu included a variety of seafood, as well as fish and chips snacks.

Mark Stickler with his Balkan-inspired spread.

Mark Stickler with his Balkan-inspired spread.

The extreme heat kept the polo match shorter than usual. Instead of the normal six chukkers of seven minutes each, Sunday’s game was trimmed to four at six minutes each.

“It’s very hard on the ponies when it’s so hot,” said Nicholas Vidal, 17, a third-generation polo player from Twin Valley High School whose father played polo in Argentina.

Vidal was playing for the Delaware team, which won the close match 5 to 4 over Lancaster.

Polo takes a break this coming Sunday (July 26) due to planned soccer games at Forney Field, but will resume the following weekend. Visit lancasterpolo.org. The field is located at 70 Church Road in Rothsville.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature reporter from Rothsville. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.”

Nick Vidal of the Delaware team is a third-generation polo player. His father played in Argentina.

Nick Vidal of the Delaware team is a third-generation polo player. His father played in Argentina.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *