"Rain or shine," said the invitation to the Family House Polo Match. And rain it did. Torrentially. At least for the first hour or so of the pre-game festivities.
But neither the wind nor the rain could keep the diehard polo enthusiasts away from this charity event, now in its 29th year.
Family House, which has four locations in the Pittsburgh area, is a nonprofit corporation that provides patients and their family members a comfortable place to stay while undergoing treatment for serious or life-threatening conditions at one of the many hospitals in the Pittsburgh area.
It was founded in 1983, and has been a "home away from home" to many that have had to travel to Pittsburgh for treatments. It is the generosity and support of the community that keeps Family House in operation, so that in turn they can provide comfort to families in need.
Some of the pre-polo festivities included: a brunch tent that included delicious foods from five of Pittsburgh's top eateries for spectators of the event; a silent auction of different items such as gift baskets, sporting event tickets and sports memorabilia (in which all proceeds were donated to Family House); a display of antique cars in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix; and a childrens' tent with face painting and arts and crafts.
The Pittsburgh Pirates Pierogies were in attendance at the polo match, which featured the Potomac Polo Club, sponsored by #1 Cochran, and the Virginia International Polo Club, sponsored by Howard Hanna.
Don Charley, assistant vice president of the department of parking and security for UPMC, threw out the ceremonial first ball of the game. Pittsburgh District 8 City Councilman Bill Peduto was also in attendance and encouraged all spectators to "have fun, party on and enjoy!"
The actual match itself was cut short due to the rain, out of concern for the horses, so the legendary half-time stomping of the divots, as seen in the film "Pretty Woman," was omitted. However, it wasn't missed due to a display of Saxonburg Hounds, which spectators were allowed to greet on the polo fields.
The winner of the shortened polo match was the Potomac Polo Club, and the awards ceremony featured the sponsors of both polo teams, Rob Cochran of #1 Cochran and Hoddy Hanna of Howard Hanna, drinking champagne from the loving cup with their respective teams. A special award was given to Don Charley for his commitment to the Family House organization.