If, by chance this weekend you find yourself hearing a bell — or hooter — signaling the umpire that seven minutes of play in a chukka have elapsed, then kick up your divots, because you’re probably at the Battle of the Blues Polo match in Efland.
The match, which involves alumnae from Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, is a fundraiser that has been going on for about a decade. For the second year in a row, the two teams will face off on the grounds of the Barn At Lloyd’s Dairy in Efland.
“When I worked at Harnett Health Foundation, we were looking for a unique fundraising event,” said Efland native Craig Lloyd, who is one of the organizers of the event. “Literally, my kids were watching the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ one Saturday morning. After seeing the polo scene in the movie, I wondered who the heck could do a polo match for us. It’s more different than a golf tournament and different from your normal gala. So, I went out searching for a group that did that.”
Turns out he didn’t have to look too far. Another Efland native, and a longtime family friend, David Brooks, is a coach in the Triangle Area Polo Club. Brooks is also a U.S. Polo Association-certified instructor.
The Battle of the Blues Polo Match takes about a dozen people to coordinate and handle the logistics. Average attendance has been in the neighborhood of 500 people. They come for the game, but there is much, much more to be entertained with.
Groups can reserve tailgate spots or purchase tent space options, which can then be entered into a tent decorating contest. “We’ve had people hang chandeliers, bring fine china and all kinds of different things,” Lloyd said. “And because it’s Duke versus Carolina, a lot of them will have their flags and banners for other different teams and stuff like that.”
The Battle of the Blues Polo contest is May 7, which is the day of the Kentucky Derby. The polo match will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Depending on the purchased tent option, attendees can stay for the Kentucky Derby party, watch the race, play games, and ‘bet’ on your favorite horse. There will even be a contest for best-dressed attendees, so wear your favorite hat.
“We’ll have adult-size inflatable horses for bounce races,” Lloyd said. There will also be food trucks, a show of antique cars, and plenty of attractions for the whole family.
As part of the fundraising, there will be an auction where people can bid on high-value, high-interest items, including a copy of The Beatles album ‘Abby Road,’ autographed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr; guitars autographed by members of Guns and Roses; drawings by Peanuts creator Charles M. Shultz; and items autographed by Mohammed Ali. Proceeds from the auction go to the Meridian Foundation.
While he’s never gotten on a horse to try his hand at polo, Lloyd said there will be demonstrations for how to play the game.
Lloyd, who is always looking for new and creative ways to attract visitors to Efland and Orange County, last fall put on the first Tar Heel Balloon Festival. He said he has an idea for another unique event to help raise funds and attention.
“I would love to do a steeplechase. We’ve got enough land. I would love to maybe eventually do something like that.”
Tent spaces should be reserved early. For more information on the Battle of the Blues Polo match, go to www.battleofthebluespolo.com. You can also go to www.facebook/battleofthebluespolo
The Barn at Lloyd's Dairy is at 226 N. Lloyd's Road, Efland, NC 27243.