The Aiken Ladies Invitational has been a fixture in the community for the past 15 years, known as the ALI for the last 14 years, and the tournament returns this fall.
This year’s tournament features the return of all three flights, the Aiken Ladies Invitational, 4-6 goal; Campbell Cup, 0-2 and the Aiken Junior Polo Cup, 0 goal. The ALI and Aiken Junior Polo Cup, will be played in the Hilltop Farm Arena, and the Aiken Polo Club will host the Campbell Cup as an outdoor tournament. The Aiken Ladies Invitational presenting sponsor is Holley Tractor. The ALI and Aiken Junior Polo Cup tournaments are a fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center.
The tournaments have been impacted in recent years, by the recession, and with the disbanding of one of the area’s polo clubs that played an integral role in organizing the tournament, resulting in fewer team entries, but the 2013 edition should restore the event to its proud past.
Last year’s experiment of holding a flight in the arena, proved to be a popular concept, said Karen Reese, Hilltop Farm.
“Everyone had so much fun,” said Reese. “It’s easier to field a 6 goal team in the arena than it is outdoors, and to keep the level of polo up. I talked to a lot of the girls, and I said, ‘Why don’t we just make it a habit, and do it in the arena.’ I heard nothing but positive comments.”
The interest level is high for all three flights, said Reese. Teams from different states, and players nationwide have shown interest in participating.
The Aiken Junior Polo Cup will feature a team composed of two players carrying on a family tradition, Tess Pimsner and Lauren Biddle, will be part of the roster of one of the Aiken Junior Polo Cup teams, with a third player yet to be named.
Three very competitive teams have committed to the ALI flight, said Reese.
AgSouth, Banks Mill Feeds, Cooper Home & Stable, Marvin Slosman and Bodega Gratia, Southern Equine Service, Aiken Hounds, Tato’s Custom Mallets and Stoplight Deli are among the tournament sponsors.
The Campbell Cup begins Sept. 24, and The finals are scheduled for Sept. 29. The ALI and Aiken Junior Polo Cup begins Sept. 26 and the finals of the two tournaments are slated for Oct. 6.
There are two tiers of ticket prices to the finals of the ALI and the Aiken Junior Polo Cup, with the gate proceeds going to the Child Advocacy Center. The $25 tickets include the wine and beer craft tasting, food catered by Ridgecrest and seating in the pavilion. Those purchasing the $5 admission ticket will be able to bring their own cooler, and chairs, and sit in whatever spaces are available around the arena, but not in the pavilion. There will be a silent auction, drawing and t-shirts for sale. Tickets are available at Aiken Saddlery and Supply, Sullivan Saddlery, Aiken Dry Goods and Holley Tractor.
For more information, you can access the Hilltop Farm website at hilltopfarmpolo.com