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Stefanie Powers Wows Crowds At International Polo Club Palm Beach

Actress Stefanie Powers combined two of her favorite things during a short visit to Wellington - polo and animals. She continued her passionate affair with the sport during an appearance at the new International Polo Club Palm Beach this weekend.

A long-time conservationist and animal activist, Powers was in town for the polo Sunday afternoon and to attend a private event "Into Africa" on Monday night at the polo club celebrating the return of the East African Bongo antelope to mountains in Kenya, spearheaded by the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee.

The program will establish a breeding group of 20 bongos at the Mount Kenya Game Ranch. Dr. Paul Reillo of the Rare Species Conservancy will leave in late January with the bongos to supervise the program. Within six to 10 years, offspring from the original breeding group will be slowly released into the Mount Kenya National Park. Powers is President of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and Director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch.

More than 200 guests who attended the reception and auction at the Marquee tent at the International Polo Club Palm Beach heard several speakers, including Dr. Reillo and Powers.

"We have the rare opportunity to return this animal from captivity back into the wild," said Reillo. "We work everyday to save wildlife. If you can't see the difference we make, we're not doing our job."

Native African drum music was performed as guests entered the tent, which had been transformed into a mini-African village, including the jungle and traditional furnishings.

One of the highlights of the live auction was a 10-day safari to Kenya by Big Five Tours and Expeditions, which included three nights at the famed Mount Kenya Safari Club and two nights at Governors Camp, located in the Musiara Swamps of the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Africa's "Big Game" country.

Powers, an enthusiastic celebrity polo player, drove a Hummer, the official vehicle of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, to lead the teams onto the field and then officiated the pre-game coin toss before an important 22-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup tournament contest on Sunday. Following the match, Powers and polo legend Bill Ylvisaker presented trophies and champagne to the teams. Powers also visited with many players and their families.

Powers, who plays in numerous celebrity polo matches annually, was also able to play a four-chukker exhibition match Monday morning with teammates Mike Azzaro and Adam Snow, the only current American 10-goalers.

American tenor Charles Pitt, an avid polo fan, delivered a stirring rendition of the national anthem to begin the day's activities, which included a bounce house for kids.
More than 300 guests dined on a delicious brunch catered by The Breakers before heading into the stadium to watch a key polo match in the 22-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup tournament.

On the field, Crab Orchard jumped out to an 8-3 halftime advantage and coasted to a 12-8 victory over Old Pueblo in front of 1,267 spectators. The victory clinched the wildcard position in Thursday's semifinals for Crab Orchard (2-1), along with undefeated division winners Bendabout, Brigadoon and Catamount.
The final will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. The polo match is open to the public with tickets beginning at $10 each. For information, call (561) 204-5687.
International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington, between Pierson Road and Lake Worth Road.


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