Category Archives: News

3rd Annual Woodford Reserve Polo Classic

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon Chocolate Cherry Pairing

July 13th was a beautiful day for polo at the San Diego Polo Club. Patrons were in for a real treat with our wonderful sponsor Woodford Reserve offering delicious tastings of their Kentucky bourbon. It was a day filled with equestrian fun, including a lovely Pa De Dux Dressage Demo.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon 5 sources of flavor

Woodford Reserve Bourbon is hand crafted in small batches. This artisanal process allows Woodford Reserve’s all five sources of bourbon flavor to have a distinct taste and crisp, clean finish. Their tasting booth sampled the Woodford Reserve Bourbon paired with dark chocolate and dried cranberries.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon Tasting

In the first match of the day at 1pm, we had San Fernando vs Twin Palms/San Judas. In the 1st Chukker Roberto Estudillo scored the first goal of the match, followed by Ashton Wolf. Ashton then scored two more goals for Twin Palms/San Judas in the 2nd Chukker followed by one by Eugenio Garza who was subbing for Ramon Richard on Twin Palms/San Judas. In the 3rd Chukker Diego Velarde scored two goals via penalty shots for his team San Fernando. Topo Mendez scored anther as well for Twin Plams/San Judas. At the half time break it was 3-5 in favor of Twin Palms/San Judas.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Tritech-San Fernando

The 4th Chukker, started off with a goal by Diego Cossio, and then one by Diego Velarde, both for San Fernando. Ashton Wolf scored one as well for Twin Palms/San Judas. The 5th saw Diego Cossio again, followed by Chris Maloney scoring 2 more for Twin Palms/San Judas. The excitement got heavy in the 6th and final Chukker as Diego Velarde and Adolpho Ramos for San Fernando. Followed by Topo Mendez scoring anther for Twin Palms/San Judas to bring it to a tie. Chris Maloney scored another for Twin Palms/San Judas to break the tie, but due to a foul, it did not count, sending the match into over time. Diego Velarde finally scored the winning goal for San Fernando in the over time 7th Chukker.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Dressage

During our intermission was a lovely we had a wonderful Pa De Dux. It was a Prix St. Georges level Pas de Deux by Joy Rothe and Sarah Pinney, riding full sister and brother Oldenberg horses Rolex and Rohan. The two horses seemingly danced together to music often mirroring their upper level Dressage movements to match the beat of the music and the rhythm of the horses.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-National Anthem

We had the lovely Christina Peterson a 19 year old local pop singer/songwriter who has performed at Humphrey’s by the Bay, Petco Park, and Qualcomm Stadium. She is a student at San Diego State and also enjoys performing for non-profit organizations such as the Make a Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-group San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Step-Repeat

We also had the very talented Jill Courtemanche Millinery showcasing her fabulous hats for people to do a little shopping for their perfect hat. Just in time for Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-First Ball Throw In

Woodford Reserve did the honors of throwing in the ceremonial first ball for the feature match.

The 2nd match of the day at 3pm was between Woodford Reserve and Herradura Tequila. John Eicher started out the first chukker of the match with a goal for Woodford Reserve. Followed up by one by Diego Larreglia. Colton Bancroft then scored one for Herradura Tequila.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Action-Ellen-Greenhill

In the 2nd Chukker Virgil Kyle made another for Woodford Reserve. Graham Bray and Chris Collins also both scored for Herradura Tequila.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Action

For the 3rd Chukker there was another goal scored by Colton Bancroft, followed by Graham Bray. Virgil Kyle scored one for Woodford Reserve. At the half time it was 5-6 in favor of Woodford Reserve.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Action-2

Coming into the 4th Chukker, Herradura Tequila made another 4 goals, two by Colton Bancroft, one by Chris Collins, and one by Graham Bray. In the 5th and 6th Chukkers Graham Bray made another 2 goals and Chris Collins 1 to finish and win the game for Herradura Tequila. The match ended with a total of 7-11 in favor of Herradura Tequila.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Players

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon Herradura Tequila Winners

Written by Cara Helminski

Photos by Arielle Vey (social) & Matt Bentley (action)

Chambord Vodka Classic 2014 Recap

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord
Sunday, June 29th was another beautiful day here at the San Diego Polo Club– a bright, breezy polo-filled afternoon.  With our fantastic sponsor Chambord Vodka in attendance, we had a festive purple and pink theme to the tents to match their blackberry flavored liqueur and vodka.  Patrons enjoyed tastes of Chambord Vodka & Liqueur while watching the action on the field.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord tasting

The PEERS Network & Challenged Athletes Foundation were also in attendance as proud supporters of Sunday Polo.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord Linens
The first match at 1pm between Starmeadow/MonteVerde and Twin Palms/San Judas, started of with a bang when Jennifer Alexy scored the first goal for her team, Twin Palms/San Judas.  Colton Bancroft also scored for Starmeadow/MonteVerde.  The match ended with at Twin Palms/San Judas at 9 and Starmeadow/MonteVerde with 10, taking the win.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Guests

 

 

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord-VIP-tent

 

Guests of all ages attended the Sunday Polo event, from tailgating to the VIP tent!

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord-guests-divot stomp

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Roberto Estudillo-paint

At intermission we had a fun and informative polo demonstration by Diego Velarde and Diego Larrreglia.  They showed us all some great moves and demonstrated the basic hitting positions and rules, while announcer, Steve Lewandowski broke down the line of the ball and a bit about strategy.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Anthony Ballard
Anthony Ballard, a long time polo fan and a San Diego resident with 20 plus years of singing, locally and abroad, sang our national anthem beautifully.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- throw-in-challenged-athletes-foundation

 

 

 

A representative of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Jeffrey Odom, did the honor of throwing in the first ball. Jeffrey is a former F-16 Crew Chief for the United States Air Force and Captain of Team USA Wheelchair Rugby. The Challenged Athletes Foundation also have a space at the event that showcased how they help those with physical disabilities.

It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord Action
The second match of the day at 3pm was an exciting one with San Fernando vs Team Chambord.  San Fernando dominated, scoring the first 3 goals of the match in the first chukker. The talented John Eicher scored 4 of the 9 goals for his team, Team Chambord.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- hook

 

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord-action-diego-velardeHowever, San Fernando was still able to capture the win. The match ended with San Fernando at 11 and Team Chambord at 9.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Roberto Estudillo & mother

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord divot stomp

 

 

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-1 The patriotic spirit was everywhere on Sunday as we enjoyed The Pan American Cup Finals on Sunday July 6th. It was the perfect way to cap off an amazing 4th of July weekend. Red, white and blue was abundant, from our lovely patrons stylish attire, to the tablecloths and trophy decorations.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-2In the first match at 1:00pm, Topo Mendez scored the first goal in Chukker 1 for his Team Twin Palms/San Judas. Followed by John Eicher with one for Leisure Society. Then another by Virgil Kyle for Leisure Society and the last by Ashton Wolf for Twin Palms/ San Judas, wrapping up Chukker 1. In Chukker 2 Jennifer Alexy bringing one in for Twin Palms/ San Judas, followed by anther for Leisure Society by John Eicher.

Ryan Robertson finished it off by scoring a goal for Leisure Society in the last chukker, bringing the final score to 11 to 9, Leisure Society.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Oceanside-Police-k9

During our intermission, we had a wonderful demo by The Oceanside Police Canine Officers Association.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Oceanside Police Dog Bite Suit San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Oceanside Police Dog demonstration

Spectators were on the edge of their seats watching the dogs go through their amazing skills. Demonstrating a variety of tactics to assist their human counterparts in the safe and efficient handing of dangerous situations. Spectators were then invited to enjoy picture ops with the dogs and service men and woman.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-oceanside-police

The Oceanside Police Canine Officers Association thanks you for being here this afternoon. Their nonprofit, established by the officers in 2013, bridges the gap for our K9s healthcare, training tools, and retired police dogs.  In the line of duty, sometimes our dogs get injured requiring expensive veterinary care. Their goal is to be able to have funds available for each of our 4 canines should a medical emergency occur. Thanks to donations from our generous community members, their dogs can stay healthy and safe, while they protect and serve.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-EMT

We also hosted the Del Mar Lifeguards, Del Mar Ranger, San Diego Fire & Rescue and local EMTs. Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Del-Mar-Lifeguard-Truck-Tomas-Bryant-2

The Lifeguard Department serves the community with a wide variety of community service programs. The Department staffs permanent and seasonal lifeguards. Lifeguards patrol and oversee 2.5 miles of beach. Each day, lifeguards establish and maintain safe swimming and surfing areas. They warn visitors of dangerous swimming areas, rip currents, and unstable cliffs and bluffs. Environmental conditions are constantly monitored and weather and surf are updated and posted throughout the day. The Del Mar beach has very strong rip-currents and several inshore holes. The department averages 1,400 water-related rescues and 1,100 medical aids per year.

The Lifeguards are highly trained in several areas. Qualifications include being emergency medical technicians with advanced airway and defibrillator accreditation. The department operates year-round cliff, swift water and scuba rescue teams. The Department also cross trains for mutual aid responses with the Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies (ASTREA) and the United States Coast Guard.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Rihanna

Our national anthem was sung by the lovely, Rhianna Wilson, a 16 years old and just finished her Sophomore year at Ramona High School. She has had the honor to sing the National Anthem for the SD Padres, Ceremonies aboard the USS Midway, KSON Radio and many community events.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Action

The feature match of the day at 3:00pm was between San Fernando and MonteVerde/Starmeadow. The match started with Diego Cossio scoring the first goal of the match for San Fernando in the first Chukker. Followed by one by Diego Velarde and one by Roberto Estudillo. With Chris Collins scoring one for his team MonteVerde/Starmeadow. Followed by Colton Bancroft and Graham Bray coming in to score 4 goals each for MonteVerde/Starmeadow. It was a close game ending with Diego Velarde scoring 3 goals for San Fernando and taking home the win.Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Graham-Bray

Written by Cara Helminski

International and Local Polo Players Kick Off 2014 Season with Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club

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Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club reached a record breaking 3,200 attendees on Sunday, June 1, 2014. Polo fans and San Diego socialites flocked to Rancho Santa Fe for two thrilling polo matches, a fashion show, live DJ and plenty of people watching.

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Land Rover of San Diego brought in a fleet of gorgeous 2014 Range Rover Evoques and Range Rover Sports, which was the main focal point during the fashion show & presenting ceremonies.

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The well-dressed attendees enjoyed mingling in the Polo Pavilion presented by Riviera Magazine, watching the match from the VIP tent, toasting champagne glasses in the garden section and bumping into friends in the general admission area.

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Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-Drinks

We had a few craft cocktails on draft, including a strawberry rhubarb Woodford Reserve julep and Herradura Tequila Flor de Paloma, two of our favorites. Guests also enjoyed an assortment of spirits, local craft beer, hand selected wines, and of course, champagne!

chef-dawn-parks-wild-thyme-company-opening-day-polo Our Sunday Polo Kitchen is presented by The Wild Thyme Company, offered plates to share (their cheese plate is delicious) or more traditional sandwiches, salads (another favorite is the beet caprese salad) and daily specials.

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Their food is both classic and trendsetting while maintaining the highest standards of culinary excellence with an emphasis on seasonal options. The full menu can be seen online here.

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Land Rover of San Diego’s Sales Guide, Matt Deep threw in the ceremonial first ball to kick off the 7-goal polo match. Team Rancho Santa Fe battled it out against team Del Mar.

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Mia Bray (subbing for Colton Bancroft), Kimo Huddleston (subbing for Ashton Wolf), Graham Bray and Mike Manno made up team Rancho Santa Fe (6-goal team). New to SDPC, Emma Stachowitz, Jennifer Alexy, and John Eicher joined resident player Diego Cossio to make up team Del Mar (7-goal team). Because team Rancho Santa Fe is 1-goal lower than team Del Mar, a point is put on the board in favor or the lesser team.

Things started off slowly in the first half with two points for each team. Both Kimo Huddleston and Mia Bray scored for Rancho Santa Fe. John Eicher and Diego Cossio scored for Del Mar. Mia Bray and Graham Bray both scored  in the second half, pushing their team into the lead. Jennifer Alexy scored one in the 4th chukker and Diego Cossio scored two more in the 5th and 6th chukkers. Although each team scored the same amount of points, Team Rancho Santa Fe was crowned victorious due to the lesser handicap.

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During intermission, Raina Leon Style & Design presented the 2014 Opening Day Fashion show, featuring local boutique, Van de Vort. Sunglasses were provided by another locally owned brand, RAEN. Men’s fashion was sponsored by J.Hillborn.

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After the fashion show, the feature match began with the parade of teams led by Matt and Patrick of Land Rover San Diego. Nationally acclaimed and Grammy Nominated Songtress, Sacha Boutros sang our National Anthem.

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Sacha impressed the crowd with her amazing vocals.

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Riviera Magazine’s partners threw in the first ball to kick off the 3pm match.

The 3pm match was between sponsors Woodford Reserve and Herradura Tequila. Ellen Greenhill, David Samaniego, Christopher Collins Jr, and SDPC president, Chris Collins made up team Woodford Reserve. Ramon Richard, Roberto Estudillo, Diego Velarde and Topo Mendez made up team Herradura Tequila.

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The first chukker started off hot with 3 goals on the board for Woodford Reserve, scored by David Samaniego (2) and Christopher Collins Jr (1). Both Ramon Richard and Diego Velarde scored for team Herradura. Christopher Collins Jr. kept up the momentum by scoring an additional two in the second chukker. Topo Mendez scored 1 for his team. By the 3rd chukker, the score was 6 to 4 in favor of Woodford Reserve.

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During half time, guests were encouraged to step onto the grass for the traditional champagne divot stomp presented by Korbel California Champagne.

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Flutes of Korbel Brut Champagne and Korbel Rose Champagne were served from the backs of four beautiful Land Rover Evoques by our Van de Vort models.

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Team Herradura Tequila increased their defensive strategy and didn’t allow team Woodford Reserve to score any in the 4th chukker, while Diego Velarde put one through the goal posts. In fact, their defense was so effective, team Woodford Reserve was not able to score for the remainder of the game. Team Herradura Tequila kept posession of the ball. Ramon Richard scored another goal and Diego Velarde scored two more for his team. Diego Velarde had the most goals on the afternoon: 5. Team Herradura Tequila beat Woodford Reserve 8 to 6.

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Publisher of Riviera Magazine, Jessica Cline, joins winning team Herradura Tequila on the trophy deck to present trophies.

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Sponsor, Armando Flores of Charco Design & Build poses with team Herradura Tequila before giving away an authentic Woodford Reserve polo jersey to a lucky fan.

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2014-Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Men-womens-Fashion 2014-Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Women-FashionWith a San Diego’s beautiful people, it’s no wonder Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club is such a fashionable affair.

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DJ Here kept the party going by spinning beats until dusk.

Although we celebrated Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club on June 1, the fun doesn’t stop. Join us every Sunday until the end of September for action-packed polo and family-friendly fun! See the schedule for more details.

Welcome Letter from Marketing Director

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Good afternoon! I hope this email finds you well and that your year is off to a great start!All is well at the San Diego Polo Club. I’m happy to report that 2013 was a great year for us and that we had a very successful summer. We welcomed over 13,000 spectators throughout the season, with close to 3,000 on Opening Day alone. In addition, more than half of our events supported a non-profit organization and we are hoping to partner with even more charities this season.
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We are going through some exciting new changes at the San Diego Polo Club! We have officially welcomed founding member and board member, Chris Collins as the 2014 San Diego Polo Club President. If you read last year’s article, “A Family Legacy” in the San Diego Polo Magazine, you’ll know how influential the Collins Family has been in the history and development of the polo club. We are excited to have him as our President this season!We have also created a Steering Committee this season which will help make important decisions regarding the Club’s direction. I’d like to introduce the members of this group: Julia Samaniego, Joy Bancroft, Chris Maloney, Ellen Greenhill and Krista Bonaguidi. Thank you for all your hard work so far this pre-season.heather-chronert 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think a few of you will be quite pleased to see Heather Chronert back around the San Diego Polo Club this year, acting as Interim General Manager.

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New to the team this year, is Event Director, Krista Morrison. I will help Krista get acquainted with our Sunday Polo Events, Social Activities and Members! If you see Krista on Sunday, please introduce yourself.

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Our favorite New Zealander and Polo Manager, Graham Bray will be returning this season and has plans to bring in new teams for the summer.  He’s actively working with our field managers on improving our fields to make sure our grass is in perfect condition and ready for play come June! Also, be sure to watch for him on Field 1, as he’ll be returning to team StarMeadow again this summer!
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We are happy to welcome back Vanessa Shapiro as our Advertising Sales Director for the 2014 San Diego Polo Magazine. Sales are off to a great start and we are hoping to have an even bigger and better publication this year. I cannot wait for all of your to see our beautiful magazine. If you are interested in advertising, send an email to vanessa@sandiegopolo.com

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I am returning this year as the Marketing Director and will continue to maximize our marketing efforts by developing relationships with community leaders, charities, sponsors, media outlets and valuable partners, as well as manage our graphic design and social media marketing. I will also be training our new Event Manager throughout the season and look forward to introducing you to our new team.

You may have noticed that we are starting our summer season one week earlier this year. We will have 15 weekends of polo, so please mark your calendar for the following events:

28th Annual San Diego Polo Season Kick-Off Party on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 5pm

Opening Day presented by Land Rover of San Diego on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 1pm

In addition to our 15 Sunday Polo events, we will host a handful of fun social events, including an end-of-the-year Spreckels Party. If you are interested in joining as a Social Member, please reach out to me with any questions.

If you know of a charity that we should partner with, someone that wants to start playing polo, or a business owner that has interest in advertising, please feel free to pass along my contact information. I’ll do whatever it takes to make our 2014 a huge success!

I look forward to seeing each of you on Opening Day!

Lindsey

A Polo Family Legacy

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Since the San Diego Polo Club opened its doors in 1986, our fields have welcomed four generations of polo players from the Allen & Collins families and needless to say, they have been an integral part of this club. The family legacy of polo started with Willis Allen, who along with his son-in-law Harry Collins, played an instrumental role in the formation of the San Diego Polo Club. Over the years, Willis Allen, his son-in-law Harry, his grandson Chris and his great-grandson Chris Jr. have all played polo on our fields.

A Horseman Like No Other
Allen was a talented horseman and he had a deep connection to polo. He was first introduced to the sport in the early 1920’s while visiting family in San Angelo, Texas. His uncle was a polo player and gave Willis his first lesson. After Willis returned home to Connecticut, his uncle sent him his first horse, which he named Concho.

By the age of 13, Willis started regularly playing in Connecticut and when he moved to California, he continued with the sport, playing arena polo at the Coronado Country Club. He carried polo with him through the many chapters of life and even played when he was stationed in New Caledonia during WWII. His family fondly shared stories of how even during those difficult years of war, he was able to put together a polo field and bring in horses to play. Allen was truly a man like no other and it was often said, “they broke the mold when they made Willis.” A true benefactor of the sport, he fostered the development and growth of polo on the west coast and always sought to cultivate the skills of aspiring players. He had an egalitarian view of the game and never thought of polo as a sport that should be exclusively reserved for the wealthy. Throughout his life, he encouraged everyone to play. For Allen, polo was never about title or status but instead about passion for the game and his connection to the horses.

In addition to the San Diego Polo Club, Willis was one of the original founding members of the Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California. Willis also served as a USPA Governor from 1969-1974 and played on numerous national and international teams. Throughout his life, he raised award-winning polo ponies and many people credit his polo talent to his deep connection with the horses. He loved his animals and one of his greatest joys and passions was breeding ponies. For the majority of his polo career, he worked as his own groom and only hired one later in life, when he physically required the assistance. Until that point, he had always taken care of his ponies, believing that it was important to develop a deep connection to the animal. Willis’ passion and enthusiasm for polo was infectious and he continued playing until the age of 93, participating in his final polo match just two weeks before he passed. He died on June 13th, 2004 at his home in La Jolla, surrounded by family and friends.

Four Generations

 

The Willis Allen Cup

Each year, a special tournament is held in Willis Allen’s name, to recognize sportsmanship, horsemanship, and teamwork amongst young players within the San Diego Polo community. This summer, The Willis Allen Memorial Cup will take place on July 7th, 2013 and the proceeds will benefit the REINS Therapeutic Riding Program (www.reinsprogram.org). The REINS Therapeutic Riding Program is a non-profit organization, located in Fallbrook, California, and their mission is to provide physical and emotional therapy to a wide range of disabled children and adults through the use of carefully supervised horseback riding. They currently serve over 200 students each week, coming from all over southern California and ranging in age from 2 – 83. The students have a variety of disabilities including: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, seizure disorders, developmental delays and other mental and physical challenges. The benefits of this therapy are both mental and physical and include normalization of muscle tone, increased balance and coordination, developments of speech and language, and improvements in body awareness and self-esteem. Harry Collins participates in therapeutic riding and his family credits this program for the tremendous improvements he’s made since his 2003 polo accident. The Collins family is a huge supporter of the work that the REINS Therapeutic Riding Program is doing and they are thrilled to partner with them for the 2013 Willis Allen Memorial Cup.

Collins Family

Throughout his life, Willis Allen exhibited passion, energy, enthusiasm and most importantly, a generosity of spirit. It was an honor to sit down with the remaining three generations of his family and hear their first hand stories and memories of Willis and learn more about their family’s long and rich history with the sport of polo and the San Diego Polo Club.

HARRY & JUDY COLLINS

How would you describe Willis Allen as a person? As a player?
He was a wonderful father and father-in-law and overall just a really genuine and honest man. People loved him because he was a really kind and fun person to be around. He was Harry’s best friend and he taught Harry everything that he knows about horses and polo. Before Harry and I had met, he had hardly been around horses but my father introduced him. Eventually, they started breeding and raising ponies together. It was my father’s passion and he loved his horses so much. He had a connection to the animals and he loved to watch them grow. And he just loved polo! It was his life.

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
While Harry was a regular player at the San Diego Polo Club, I never got seriously into the sport. I played with my father as a child but back then women weren’t competitively playing polo like they are today. I always rode horses though. Harry on the other hand, fell in love with the sport and he loved to play, especially at the San Diego Polo Club. Over the years, our family has had so many wonderful memories that it’s hard to pinpoint just one. Anytime Harry could play with Chris and Chris Jr. it was special for him.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
That’s an interesting question and I’d probably have to reflect back on my father when answering. See, Dad was not big on huge tournaments, and he preferred the low-key nature of clubs like Lakeside. He also never had grooms, though I will say that when I was a kid, he would sometimes pay me 0.25 cents a weekend to walk his horses. He didn’t really believe in hiring pros either and he never thought polo should be a sport that was just for the wealthy. His view of polo was pretty simple. He loved the game, he loved and respected the animals and he valued teamwork, horsemanship and sportsmanship, and I think that’s the direction he’d want to see the sport move in.

CHRIS COLLINS

How would you describe Willis Allen as a person? As a player?
For Willis, polo was only about one thing – the horses. If you ever asked Willis about polo he would start by telling you about the horses. He bred ponies for almost 70 years, many from the same original bloodline. He also never hired a groom because he enjoyed doing everything with the horse. As a player, Willis was always the happiest guy on the field. He played every week and competed with some of the best players in the world. At the height of his game, he reached a 3 goal ranking. He was always running with the ball and one of his signature moves was dribbling the ball down the field between his horse’s front legs. Willis also really enjoyed teaching people the game, firmly believing that everyone should have the opportunity to play polo. He really wanted the sport to be accessible to everyone.

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
Our family has so many wonderful memories with polo but one that stands out was the four-generation match we competed in. Playing with my grandfather, my father and my son is a very special memory for me. I also remember a time when Harry was injured and so Chris Jr. had to fill in for him. He was only 13 years old at the time but it was amazing to get to play together.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
Lately, it seems like only the very wealthy play polo and Willis would never have thought that was right. He really believed that you needed a cross-section of people to play and that the sport should be accessible to everyone. I think we need to get back to that. The number of players is decreasing every year and so I think that we need to do something to bring more people into the sport. Polo needs to be revitalized and we really need to start encouraging younger kids to play. It’s important that we introduce them to polo at an early age and then foster their development and growth. It’s the only way our future generations of polo players are going to have a true competitive edge.

CHRIS COLLINS JR.

How would you describe Willis Allen as a person? As a player?
Strong!! I don’t know that many people who can play polo well into their 90’s. Willis was an inspirational man, not only to me, but to my entire family. His patience gave him a connection with the horses that most people will never have. As a polo player, I think everyone who had the pleasure of playing with or against him, knew that he could hit a tail shot 100% of the time. You would have never known he was ninety-two years old when he got on a horse and got into the line-up. You don’t meet very many legends in your life and my great grandfather was certainly one!

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
Having the opportunity to play with my Dad, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather, is de”nitely one of my best memories at the San Diego Polo Club. I was only 11 years old but I can still remember how nervous I was before the game. Another great memory is winning the Spreckels Cup for the “rst time in 2010 with my dad. Finally, even though I’m not sure how much of this I actually remember, one of my best memories was attending my “rst polo match just two days after I was born. I was in a stroller on the sidelines for the very “rst game at the San Diego Polo Club.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
We need to keep the sport growing and continue to get more people involved, informed and in love with this amazing game. I want to see more people taking lessons and I strongly encourage everyone to do so. I think the USPA has done a great job with Team USPA in farming young American players and giving
them opportunities they would have never had 5 years ago. If we can keep improving young polo players we will improve the sport here in the U.S. and make us even more competitive on a global scale.

Written by Vanessa ShapiroPhotos by Topher Riley & courtesy of The Collins Family

American Heart Association Painted the SD Polo Club RED for the Inaugural Go Red Campaign

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Sunday’s finals of the Pacific Coast Polo Tournament also celebrated the inaugural American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign.  Emceed by ABC’s Bachelorette runner up, Kiptyn Locke, the American Heart Association had their first ever San Diego STRUT to promote heart health in women, along with a silent and live auction.  The Polo Club was decked out in red and all guests sported red flair in support of the organization.  According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer in women, which is more than all types of cancer combined!

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Porsche of San Diego had their gorgeous automobiles on display, including the all new 2014 Porsche Cayman.

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The first match was a consolation game played between Twin Palms/San Fernando and AdeptusColleen Wilson, owner of Adeptus had a spectacular afternoon, scoring 5 goals for her team.  Roberto Estudillo of Twin Palms/San Fernando also had a fantastic game, scoring 3 for his team.  Twin Palms/San Fernando was slow to start, but caught up by half-time, making the score 5 to 5.  Adeptus shined in the 5th chukker, bringing their team up 3 more point and winning the match 8 to 7.

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During intermission, the local community participated in the Go Red STRUT, a community-based, one-of-a kind fashion show.  Led by the San Diego Polo School students and Uakea Huddleston, the STRUT included two heart disease victims, one being a 4 year old boy.  Celebrity judges AJ Machado, Chris Cantore, Natasha Stenbock, Lisa Murphy, Mia Stefanko and Kiptyn Locke, judged the “strutters” and gave out prizes to various winners.

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Just after the American Heart Association’s Go Red STRUT, our announcer and auctioneer, Steven Lewandowski raffled off items for charity!

The national anthem was sung by two American Heart Association volunteers, one of which is a heart disease survivor.

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The feature match and finals of the Pacific Coast Polo Tournament consisted of Hanalei Bay (Krista Bonaguidi -1, Ashton Wolf 3, Mariano Fassetta 6, David Samaniego 0) and Starmeadow/Monteverde (Ellen Greenhill -1, Colton Bancroft 0, Martin Ravina 5, Graham Bray 4).  Hanalei Bay kicked off things in the first chukker with 3 goals but letting Starmeadow/Monteverde sneak up in the 3rd chukker.  Krista Bonaguidi scored 3 in the feature match, making her one of the high scorers on her team.  The game was all tied up in the 4th chukker, 7 to 7, but Martin Ravina scored 4 goals in the final chukkers to lead his team to victory.  Starmeadow/Monteverde beat Hanaeli Bay 10 to 8.

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Guests enjoyed the Korbel California Champagne Divot Stomp during half time and the Paul Cannon Band after the matches.

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When guests sampled Black Stallion Winery‘s Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, they received a fun Black Stallion branded Go Vino glass!  Black Stallion’s chardonnay is one of our biggest sellers at Sunday Polo!

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Thank you to Ranch & Coast for being our media sponsor and Kiptyn Locke for emcee-ing the event!