by YOUNG KWAK & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & L & lt;/span & iving in a small town in Idaho when she was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4, Abbey Silveria needed treatment in a larger city where treatment was more available. That's where the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane came into the picture.
Abbey and her family has ended up staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane for six years on and off, while Abbey received treatment for her leukemia. "They're just like a big family. It's really nice to have them," says Abbey.
With her leukemia currently in remission, 14-year-old Abbey's way to give back is to stay involved by participating in the Cobra Roofing Polo Classic, now in its fourth year, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane.
Without missing a note, Abbey sang the national anthem, then moved to the center of the polo field and threw out the game ball to begin the polo game in Airway Heights.
While the Cobra Roofing Polo Classic benefits the families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane, event guests enjoy the uniqueness of watching a polo game just a few miles outside of Spokane.
First-time attendee Cindy Hedin says, "I am here for the fun of it. I am the luckiest gal today."
With pomegranate Dry Fly martinis, various wines and food prepared by Fery's Catering, there was no lack of comfort for guests.
A silent auction allowed guests to bid on a wide range of items from wine to gift baskets to trips. An art walk showed the wares of local artists and artisans. The band "All That Jazz" entertained guests as they waited for the game to start. Skydivers jumped onto the field with banners showing the names of children at the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane attached to them.
The Cobra Roofing Polo Classic has become the largest event of its kind west of the Mississippi, according to Suzy Dix, who is very involved with the Ronald McDonald House. Guests came from as far away as El Salvador, along with polo players from Argentina.
"It's all about awareness of Ronald McDonald House," says Dix. "We all do [this event] for the kids."
With private donations making up 95 percent of the funding for the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane, organizers hope to gross more than $250,000 from the event.
After polo rules were explained to the audience, the four-chukkar (period) game began, pitting a team from Washington Trust Bank against a team from Windermere Real Estate.
Between the first and second chukkars, organizers held a hat contest. Thirty finalists, picked earlier in the day by judges who roamed through the event area, paraded in front of the audience, with the winner receiving a piece of jewelry.
With "Pretty Woman" playing in the background, men and women holding champagne glasses stomped on divots in the grass during halftime. One of the divots held a golden horseshoe, which won the finder a prize.
Between the third and final chukkars, MCs Alex Jacoy and Laura Papetti encouraged audience members to offer pledges to the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane. Children standing on the sidelines held up signs showing pledge amounts and how many nights at the Ronald McDonald House each pledge amount would cover.
The fourth and deciding chukkar resulted in a 6-5 win by the team from Washington Trust Bank.
The runner-up team sprayed the winning team with champagne as a toast, while the band Two Dudes fired up some country music as guests danced into the evening.