- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Capitol Polo Club’s Green Cup of Polo brings an old game full of tradition into the 21st century.

Saturday’s third annual event to be held in Poolesville will raise awareness and funds for locally run green organizations.

“The environmental movement has become a worldwide concern, but we wanted to bring it down to a community level,” says Dr. Robert T. Do, a medical doctor who now runs the Solena Group, a company that produces clean, renewable energy and serves as a major sponsor of the cup.

Three years ago, Dr. Do, a polo enthusiast and the president of the Capitol Polo Club, started the Green Polo Cup to “bring neighbors, family and friends together with environmentalists to talk and give them some exposure.”

Unlike most polo matches, which often are “sponsored by Cartier or Lexus, this one brings people together who have never seen polo played before,” says Neil Agate, who will be a player and announcer for the weekend’s match.

“It’s a very different group,” he says.

“Polo is the sport of kings, but we don’t want it to be seen as so exclusive,” says Green Cup host committee member Marcos Bignoli, who teaches polo to “average joes” through the club’s Capitol Polo School.

Dr. Do and Mr. Agate say the Green Cup will raise between $50,000 and $75,000 through ticket sales and corporate sponsors such as ABSI, a telecommunications company. Tickets are being sold for as little as $35; VIP seating starts at $100.

Tickets are being sold online and through “preopening” parties targeted mainly at young people. Last Friday, hot spot Hudson on M Street hosted a Green Cup soiree, and on Sunday, Eric Lund, founder of E. Lund Entertainment LLC, held a Los Angeles-style pool party on the rooftop of the Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel.

The funds will be distributed evenly among three locally run organizations dedicated to environmental protection and education: ACORE (American Council On Renewable Energy), EPIC (Equestrian Partners in Conservation) and EarthEcho International.

Sara Trab Nielsen, the green event coordinator for the match, says everything from the food to the drinks to the decor will be in keeping with the pro-environment cause.

Whole Foods, Coppi’s Organic and Java Green will be donating organic meals for the guests, and Frey Vineyards, an organic winemaker from California, will be providing the spirits.

Ms. Nielsen says the “eco-tini,” a blend of sustainable vodka and tea, will be the signature drink of the Green Cup, and certified carbon credits were obtained to balance the energy used by the vehicles that transport guests to Poolesville.

“Even the T-shirts worn by the volunteers will be organic and all the paper products we use will be printed from recyclable materials and use soy-based ink,” she says.

Green Cup tickets are available at www.greencuppolo.com. They also will be sold at the gate, but at a higher cost.

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