The Original Groundskeepers of Polo in South Florida
April 09, 2014 | Pursuits
Elephants! In honor of Miami Beach Polo, we look back at how two gentle giants helped keep polo running smoothly in the 1920s.
Carl Fisher’s elephants, Rosie and Baby Carl, rolling the polo field between games, 1925. (Photo courtesy of the state archives of florida, florida memory)
The heavy lifters of the polo scene haven’t always been the ones wielding mallets. In the mid-1920s, American entrepreneur and developer Carl Fisher enlisted two Asian elephants to ensure that polo season ran smoothly by tramping down and rolling the grass on the polo fields between games, working in the garden, and scooping sand during the construction of Fisher’s Nautilus Hotel. And when Rosie and Baby Carl weren’t working the fields, they worked the press, putting Miami Beach on the map as a place that had to be seen to be believed.
That reputation is far from fading. Though polo’s popularity in Miami saw a lull from the 1950s until the millennium, it made a comeback in 2005, when Bruce Orosz, founder of The Polo Life, LLC, moved the stylish sport to the sand. This year, the Miami Beach Polo World Cup (MBPWC), the only polo tournament in the US played on the beach, brings the “Sport of Kings” to South Beach from April 24 to 27.
With spectator tents that have doubled in size over MBPWC’s 10-year term, Orosz says that a redesigned layout and new nightlife elements will heighten the entertainment experience at this year’s tournament. “People get to experience polo in a way they normally don’t see,” says Orosz. “It creates an environment very like Miami: culturally diverse and very international.” Though Fisher’s posh pachyderms won’t be present, a nonpareil crop of Miami big shots is sure to be in attendance. miamipolo.com