Gatsby Day Polo Match, Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tailgating Is More Than Just Horsing Around For One UConn Student

SOMERS, Conn. – For University of Connecticut student Michael Wenning a spring afternoon spent tailgating involves much more than just sophomoric hijinks and horsing around. Wenning, a third-year business major and a forward on the UConn polo team, is saddling up with Shallowbrook Equestrian Center in Somers to host the annual Gatsby Day, a polo match to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter.

“My grandfather battled multiple sclerosis,” explained the 21-year-old who has been playing polo since before he was a teen. “Last year my father and I participated in the Connecticut Chapter’s two-day Bike MS and, there, we met many others fighting this disease. This is a charity we really want to support.”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with the unpredictable and potentially debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis. The cause is unknown and there currently is no cure . Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis . The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted. Funds raised through events, such as Gatsby Day, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to those in the state diagnosed with MS .

The polo match will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 17, at Shallowbrook Equestrian Center , located at 247 Hall Hill Road in Somers. Gates open at noon for tailgating activities. Gatsby Day festivities include volleyball and an opportunity to compete horseback in a longest ball contest. There is a $20 per carload fee and a $10 donation requested to participate in the longest ball competition.

Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Riders score by driving a small wooden ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet. The traditional sport of polo is played at speed on a large grass field up to 300 yards in length, and each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts.

“Our guests really have a great time at this event,” said Wenning, currently on staff as polo club manager at Shallowbrook “We encourage fans to bring their grills, steaks, burgers and beverages and prepare to root for what is sure to be a scrappy match between two very skilled teams.”

For more information on the May 17 Gatsby Day benefit polo match in Somers, please contact Michael Wenning at 413-530-0002 or e-mail at michael.wenning@yahoo.com. For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways the Connecticut Chapter can help, please visit www.ctfightsMS.org.

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