At the end of the summer it is important to send off the season with some kind of celebration. Most of us have a nice barbecue with a few close friends — maybe a pool party.
Then there’s billionaire paper mogul Peter Brant. He does his end-of-summer party a little differently but it’s still in essence, a summer blowout.
On Sunday Brant opened up his massive property on Conyers Farm, an elite residential enclave, to what seemed like the entire town of Greenwich, Connecticut.
So we had to go check out the details. Couldn’t help ourselves.
A few things you should know about Brant — he is probably best known in business circles for modernizing the paper company his father founded, White Birch Paper, in an age when the newspapers White Birch once serviced were (and still are) dropping like flies.
Thanks to that the Brants stayed wealthy, and Peter used that wealth to take on some interesting hobbies. Two of those hobbies were on full display this weekend. The first was Brant’s love of collecting contemporary art, especially works created by his friend, Andy Warhol, and the second was the “sport of kings,” polo.
Brant picked up the sport in his 30s (because… why not?) and now hosts matches on the grounds he co-founded, the Greenwich Polo Club.
The grounds also house The Brant Foundation, which is where we met Brant around 2:00 pm for a private viewing of his new exhibition, ANDY WARHOL.
For the record, the billionaire does not look like a polo player. He also does not look like he ran with the wild crowd that Warhol reportedly hung out with. Then again, as Brant told us, Andy hung out with “very unstable, and very stable people.”
Brant, with his preppy style, quiet voice, and steady gaze was clearly in the latter group of Warhol’s friends.
And there he was, not just leading the tour, but on the walls as well. Among the 15 foot Mao painting and the Warhol self portraits, there were Polaroids of a young Peter relaxed among friends.
After the tour of the collection it was time to sit down for some polo. This is when things got really crazy.
Thousands of people were roaming the grounds, eating and drinking in the sun — kids, dogs you name it. And why not? To close the polo season in North America, the best (hands down, no question) polo player in the world was playing on Brant’s Royal Salute team.
His name is Facundo Pieres. He’s from Argentina and he’s only 28.
To be the best player in the world of polo you must start young. You must not be afraid of falling off a horse at a weird (maybe deadly) angle or flying into your opponent (or even teammate) at incredibly high speeds. You must not get lonely when you travel around the world’s polo circuit, which spends fall/winter in South America, then traverses the globe until it gets to the United States for the summer.
Pieres is number one in the world because he is the best “10 goal” player in the world. All players in polo are assigned a goal ranking from -2 to 10. Pros are generally a 5 or above. There are only 10 10 goal players in the entire world. Brant, for the record, is a 2.
Now, polo is an expensive sport. There are 4-6 periods (known as chukkers) per game and you need a new horse for every chukker. For that reason, most teams have sponsors. Brant’s team is sponsored by Royal Salute, a Chivas Brothers scotch.
Needless to say, this was a major plus for Sunday’s polo patrons.
As we sipped, the players on the field soared. Polo is all about speed, super clear communication, and some weird psychic ability. Guys like Pieres know where the ball is going before it gets there because they can feel it. They can juggle it on their sticks so no one can take it from them. They can make horses to back flips.
This skill made for some exciting moments for an increasingly tipsy crowd. In the last chukker, the opposing side (Airstream) scored an incredible 5 goals. Airstream had been down by 6, and they could’ve tied the entire thing up. But lucky for Pieres and Brant, they ran out of time. The crowd went nuts.
In the world of sports and at the end of the summer, seriously… how much better does it get?