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Get hooked

By JOAN ELOVITZ KAZAN and CARRIE WENDT

June 2014

Polo, once exclusively the domain of the rich, is reinventing itself here and across the country to attract new players and spectators to the game. The Milwaukee Polo Club, which has been around for about six decades, has thrown off its airs in favor of a common-man experience.

Tailgate: Bring friends, children, pets or any combination of the three and your favorite tailgate foods and watch the action from the sidelines. Milwaukee Polo Club matches are held at 1 p.m. Sundays June 15-Aug. 24, except Aug. 17, at W30343 County Highway V V in Hartland. Admission is $5 for adults; children younger than 12 are free. www.milwaukeepolo.com

Mix and Mingle: The Milwaukee club is unique in that spectators can interact with the players after the match, many of whom are nationally and internationally known. Younger fans can sit on a polo pony after the game.

Join the Action: The Milwaukee Polo School, begun by lifelong polo player Megan Flynn last year, offers instruction in the rules of the game without the expense of owning and boarding horses and equipment. www.hiddenviewfarmpolo.com

ó Joan Elovitz Kazan and Carrie Wendt

Loan Program

It was no ordinary day when Karen Ellenbecker, founder of Ellenbecker Investment Group, met Andy Meier on the golf course. Meier, who is unable to use his legs, was golfing with the assistance of a Paramobile, a device that looks like a golf cart but is equipped with a lift that helps him stand up.

Meier told Ellenbecker how the device changed his life, how he felt when he could once again stand up, look in his wifeís eyes and give her a kiss. Ellenbecker was so moved, she contacted Anthony Netto, founder of Stand Up and Play, a national nonprofit that raises funds to provide Paramobiles to people with disabilities who use the devices not only to golf, but to fish, hunt and participate in other leisure activities.

Ellenbecker recently established a Wisconsin Chapter of Stand Up and Play. The Ellenbecker Investment Group Charitable Foundation has already donated $22,000 to purchase the first Paramobile for the Wisconsin Chapter. Two more devices are on order.

Jeff Stroud, the Wisconsin Chapterís executive director, says he believes the local Stand Up and Play is the first organization to purchase Paramobiles for use by the public, not for one specific person with a disability. The plan is to loan out the devices, and provide a volunteer to assist the person who needs the device to use it safely.

"Our goal with the Paramobiles is to have a fleet that would be donated by corporations and families," says Jeff Ellenbecker, Karen Ellenbeckerís son and co-founder of Wisconsinís Stand Up and Play.

Jeff Ellenbecker says he and Stroud recently gave a demonstration to a woman who has had a disability for 20 years. When the woman stood up for the first time with the assistance of a Paramobile, he says, both she and her daughter were in tears.

"Thatís why we do this," says Ellenbecker, who is a disabled vet. "And as a veteran, it will be nice to give back to the community."

For more information about the Wisconsin Chapter of Stand Up and Play, call (262) 695-8414.

ó Nan Bialek


This story ran in the February 2014  issue of: