The 41st meeting of the 28th year of the Rotary Club of La Quinta was opened by President Sandy Stewart at 12:15PM.  Jeff Wattenbarger led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, followed by an invocation by Merv Kolb. 


Visitors were Diana Weaver (a guest of Diane Kelly) a soon to be new member once inducted into our club later at this meeting; and our good friend Barry from the South El Monte Club plus our special guests from the Empire Polo Club, Kevin Itig and his associate Connie who will be our speakers for the day.


There was to be a 9 hole golf tournament today at the Indian Palms Country Club following the meeting at 3:00 PM under the sponsorship of our organizer and fellow member Jimbo Door to be followed by a fiesta at his home.  A full report is promised to be in next week's newsletter.


There will be a club Board Meeting at Baird Boucher's office on Wednesday 5/21/14 at 5:30 PM.

Our Club has been asked to serve beer at the upcoming NOT Hops for Props event at the PS Air Museum, Memorial Day, May 26th.  A sign-up sheet was passed around.  Call Allan Levin for info, 760-345-0058.


Funny and Share (Robert and Sandy) at last year's demo Party

The enthusiastically anticipated Demotion Party for our esteemed outgoing President Sandy Stewart will be held at the La Quinta Hotel - Resort and Club on Sat., June 28th at 5:00 PM.  BLOCK this date on your calendars!  Past President Robert Wilkinson is the Chair.


LQ Club members will again assist the Indio Rotary Club (Bob Schneck), with the food operations (Hot Dogs) at the upcoming Veterans Expo to be held at the Fairgrounds in Indio, on Oct. 11th.  More information will be forthcoming.  Lothar Vasholz is seeking a Rotarian to volunteer to head this effort for our club, as a replacement for Wes Faris who has been transferred to the deep south by his employer.  Lothar will also be away for the next 3 months.

ImageNew Rotarian Diana Weaver was inducted into the Club by President Sandy and Membership Chair Dr. Bruce Underwood who presented Diana with her framed Membership Certificate and Rotary pin.  Diana expressed her enjoyment received every Friday in attending our meetings.   Welcome Diana!


The Raffle main prize of $100+ was unclaimed today as the 'winner' only received $5 for a white marble.


Joe LaMantia gave an impassioned pitch for all members to consider the Rotary Foundation's Direct Pay Monthly donation program as the easiest and simplest way to settle our obligation to contribute to the  R.I. Foundation every year!  $15 or $20 every month comes out of your credit card or bank account and is almosttotally painless-if even noticed! Please consider this easy way of giving!


Allan Levin-FineMaster

David Archer, noted to be, "Seldom seen but often in debt" by our FineMaster, admitted to an arrears position in back fines of $27.00, and likely to be even further behind due to wife Lori's upcoming birthday, promised to settle in full in the very near future!  Diana Weaver was charged the usual $10.00 "New Badge" stipend, and paid willingly.  "Watty" Wattenbarger volunteered to pop for $5.00, admitting he was leaving after the meeting to drive to San Diego for a weekend on a 50 foot sailing yacht with wife Mary and friends.

Marc Rosen briefed us on the upcoming Scholarship Awards Ceremony at La Quinta High School where our Rotary Scholarship funds will be distributed to the appropriate winners.  He has invited our major Dog Show Sponsors to attend and assist with the presentations.   Marc generously contributed $100 for his upcoming Anniversary, and for the anticipated missing of a number of meetings over the summer months. 


Joe LaMantia contributed $5.00 in happy dollars to celebrate the San Francisco 49'rs recent success in the recent NFL player draft.   Dr. Bruce Underwood contributed $5.00 in celebrating his excitement with his basketball team, Kansas.


Diana Weaver contributed $5.00 in Happy Dollars because her grandson had been accepted at both West Point and Annapolis with full scholarships, and had chosen Annapolis.   Sandra Lauer also contributed $5 happy dollars because her grandson had just graduated from Annapolis.


Our speakers this day were two professional polo players and employees of the Empire Polo Club, Kevin Itig and his associate Connie.  These two representatives of the Empire Polo Club, which is locally owned by the Hagen family, gave us an overview of the world of Professional Polo as well as the many programs held locally to teach the game and its fine points to both children and adults.  They explained that this exciting and potentially dangerous sport is truly "A Sport of Kings", due to its high cost of entry and the extremely high ongoing costs to those who pursue it in International competition around the world.  The cost of hiring an expert Polo Player ranked as an '8 Goal' or higher player to ride for one's team can cost up to $1 million per year; and the horses, of which each player must be provided up to 4 or 6 for each match, can each cost as much as $60,000 or more with the highest priced being paid for highly trained, true thoroughbreds.  The horses are cared for by the best of veterinarians and caretakers and are prized possessions of their owners.

For Polo matches, which are held all over the USA, Europe, England, Australia, South America, India, and elsewhere, the horses are shipped via air freight in specially equipped airplanes which is an exceptionally expensive process.  The world center of Polo is Argentina where the leaders in the polo world are often billionaires whose families have been in the polo business and associated with the sport for several generations and whose children often grow up to become champion players.


A standard Polo field is 300 yards long and 100 yards wide which is the same size as 6 football fields gridded together.  There are 6 time periods to the game called 'Chukkars'.  The Polo ball is made of a unique fiberglass and foam construction or a formulation of bamboo root.  The game was played in ancient times by militias using the heads of their enemies as the game balls.


Kevin Itig came up in the world of Polo the hard way, beginning as a stable boy and a groom for the horses as a young teenager eventually working himself up to a world class, championship player.  He is now the Master of Ceremonies and Public Address/Play-by-Play Announcer at the Empire Polo Club.  Connie is a professional women's polo player and is also employed in management by the club. It was interesting to learn that Polo is a totally "Co-Ed" sport, with many teams having both men and women players on the team and on the field at the same time.  At the conclusion of their talk, the speakers entertained questions from the audience, wherein Walter Keating enquired if polo lessons for adults were available, and if so, "Are there any weight restrictions?"


The meeting was concluded at 1:34 PM by President Sandy leading the recitation of the Rotary 4-way test.


This week's scibe was Andy Lorenz