Around 200 people showed up Saturday in Cape Girardeau for a special fundraiser.
The second annual Polo Classic raised money for Voices for Children-CASA, an organization that helps foster children in Cape Girardeau, Perry and Bollinger counties suffering from abuse or neglect.
CASA board member Kaki Beasley says there are nearly 400 children in their system, with only around 50 volunteers to help them navigate the court system.
“Fundraisers like this enable us to raise more funds, get more awareness to try to get more volunteers and train. We have a staff of three, their salaries. I mean it’s just a non-profit organization.”
One of the polo players who came in from out of town to compete against the host Little Egypt Polo Club was Illinois State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria, who’s been playing the sport since 1983.
“We play two games every year in Peoria, both of those are fundraisers. Other than that, we’ll just go wherever we’re invited. Indianapolis does a great job with fundraisers. These folks down here, this event is second to none. But, we like to be able to use the sport to help other charities.”
CASA executive director Linda Nash says she’s grateful the Little Egypt Polo Club – featuring players from southeast Missouri and southern Illinois – approached her about helping her non-profit raise money.
“We actually had a gentleman from Cape – who was deeply involved in polo – who said to us, ‘somebody in this area is going to do polo for a fundraiser one of these days and the players would like it to be CASA.’ So, that’s about as good as you can get as far as the recognition.”
Cape Girardeau orthopedic surgeon August Ritter plays for Little Egypt and furnishes the land for the polo club matches. He says it shows the area’s giving spirit that around 200 people showed up for the polo match, dinner, drinks and silent auction.
“Being able to have this many people out here is a wonderful thing. They’re all having a good time, I believe. They’re happy to give money to raise funds for a needy organization that does really tremendous work in our community…not elsewhere, right here.”
Voices for Children-CASA of Southeast Missouri hopes to raise around 75-thousand dollars from Saturday’s event.