Tag Archives: Jesse Bray

Jesse Bray Wins Prestigious USPA Equus & Co. Award

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Emerging polo star Jesse Bray, a native to southern California, was selected as the winner of the USPA Equus & Co. Award and the $10,000 prize that goes with it, which honors the Team USPA player who best exemplifies the program’s principles. The Equus & Co. Award was presented on Sunday, April 13 immediately following the 26-goal U.S. Open Polo Championship quarterfinals at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, FL.  Jesse Bray, Lucas Reid and Will Tankard were all nominated for the prestigious award.

“The three finalists are dedicated to the sport of polo and have worked hard to improve in all areas,” said Team USPA Program Director Kris Bowman in describing this year’s finalists. “Jesse, Lucas and Will are prime examples of the future of American polo. They are the true embodiment of the principles on which Jim Whisenand founded this prestigious award.”

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Bray, a 4-goaler who is based in California, has won numerous tournaments around the country. Last summer at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, he captured top Best Playing Pony honors in the 12-goal Intra-Circuit Cup with Can-Can and the 12-goal Vic Graber with Antelope, where he also earned the MVP award. He also won the Spreckles Cup at the San Diego Polo Club and finished it off by being selected as winner of the prestigious Willis Allen award, which recognizes the top all-around player, sportsman and horseman under 25 years-old.

The 21-year-old Bray has been on winning teams since 2010, when he was a part of the Eldorado Polo Club team that won the USPA National Interscholastic Championship. Bray is also a four-time winner of the Western Regional Interscholastic Championships.

 

Labor Day Tournament & White Party

Things have been heating up in San Diego and we aren’t talking about just the weather.  As the San Diego Polo Summer Season continues through August and September, the polo talent rises.  The horses are faster, the players work harder, and the crowds grow larger.

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This holiday weekend’s Labor Day Tournament started off with an 8-goal tournament match between Twin Palms/San Fernando vs. StarMeadow/Monteverde.  Things started off at an even pace in the first chukker, with Diego Velarde and Gaston VonWernich scoring for Twin Palms/San Fernando and Ellen Greenhill and Colton Bancroft scoring for StarMeadow/Monteverde.  Roberto Estudillo scored 3 goals for his team, Twin Palms/San Fernando and teammate, Diego Velarde, had a high of 5 goals.  Although StarMeadow/Monteverde played their hearts out, they just couldn’t catch up.  Twin Palms/San Fernando beat StarMeadow/Monteverde 10 to 7.

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During intermission, the Victorian Roses Riding Society performed. The Victorian Roses are a re-enactment group from Southern California who enjoy representing history and doing events that raise money for charity.  The group symbolizes the romance of the 1880’s, or the Victorian Era, in the colorful costumes they wear and each member has a “rose” moniker representing who she is in the re-enactment society.  Truly a sisterhood of dedicated women, these ladies ride in numerous parades and rodeo ceremonies and also participate in skit competitions, old-west shows, costume contests and other events.

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The feature match was the finals of the Labor Day tournament with Hanalei Bay vs. Adeptus.  Jesse Bray, who was bumped from a 2-goal handicap to a 4-goal handicap last year, started things off quickly and scored a goal for Adeptus within the first 30 seconds of the match.  Ashton Wolf, another favorite San Diego Polo player, scored 2 for Hanalei Bay in the first chukker.  Jesse Bray wouldn’t let that slide, so he scored two additional points for Adeptus in the second chukker.  By the third chukker, the score was tied up 3 to 3.

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Guests enjoyed stomping divots with their Korbel California Champagne.  During the divot stomp, guests dressed in white spread out across the green grass during the perfect summer day.

During the half time, Hanalei Bay recharged and focused on the match.  In the fourth chukker, they came out blazing.  Mariano Fassetta score 3 goals and Ashton Wolf scored 1 for Hanalei Bay.  Adeptus’ Daniel Juarez only could get one goal past the opposing team.  In the fifth chukker, Hanalei Bay kept up with an additional 3 goals by Ashton Wolf, bringing the score up to 11.  Daniel Juarez scored again in the 5th and 6th chukkers, along with Jesse Bray, but they just couldn’t catch up to Hanalei Bay, but they sure did put up a fight!  Hanalei Bay beat Adeptus 12 to 9.

If you’re looking for some more action, join us this Sunday for the USPA Rossmore Cup and our annual Salute to Military, as we honor active military, veterans, and first responders.

Meet Colton Bancroft.

Meet Colton Bancroft.

SDPC: Colton, you probably get asked this a lot but, why polo?

Bancroft: I love polo because there is no other sport like it. I started playing when I was 10 and haven’t stopped since. I love it.

SDPC: Do you have any rituals you perform before a match?

Bancroft: Not really, I always try to stay relaxed before a big game.

SDPC: How do you feel about playing in front of such a large crowd on Polo Sundays?

Bancroft: I love having the crowd there, however, when I am playing I do my best to just ignore them.

SDPC: Tell us about your horses! Any funny memories or stories come to mind?

Bancroft: I love every one of my horses and i am so grateful to be able to play them.

SDPC: When you aren’t on the field, what other hobbies or sports interest you?

Bancroft: I play lacrosse for my high school, but polo is much more serious for me.

SDPC: You and Jesse Bray are good friends, how long have you two been playing polo together and how did you first meet?

Bancroft: Haha, I met Jesse on the field when I was 12 and we have been playing ever since. He and his dad, Graham Bray, have taught me everything I know.

SDPC:  Were you born and raised in San Diego? If so, what is your favorite way to spend a “day off” here?

Bancroft: I was born in Utah, but I was raised in San Diego.  I love to go to the beach or hang out with friends.

SDPC: Do you have any long-term aspirations for your polo career? If so, tell us about them!

Bancroft: I would love to eventually go pro and get paid to do what I love.

SDPC: With this year’s summer polo season winding down and school starting back up, what gets you most excited looking forward to the 2013 polo season and your upcoming school year?

Bancroft: I can’t wait for next season. In the mean time, I will focus on my grades and practice polo as much as I can so that I am ready for next season.

SDPC: What is one of the most important lessons you have learned either from playing polo or your fellow players?

The most important lesson I have leaned from polo is to be grateful for everything I have and never take any of it for granted. I am extremely lucky to be able to do what i do.

Willis Allen Memorial Cup Finals

What a day!  Not only did we have fantastic Polo in San Diego on Sunday afternoon, but we had a handful of wonderful sponsors.  Giving Back Magazine hosted their 3rd annual “Day of Polo” tournament and raised money to benefit the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera.

1pm Match: Trinity vs. Southwind/Adeptus- 8-goal polo

Trinity:
Rick Paicius 0
Patrick Uretz 1
Jared Sheldon 1
Mariano Gutierrez 5

Southwind/Adeptus:
Colleen Wilson 0
Mike Kerley 3
Pedro Orellano 4
Chris Collins 1

Starting off the day, we had Southwind/Adeptus vs. Trinity featured in the 1pm game.  Trinity was up by 3 at the end of the second chukker, but Pedro Orellano scored 3 in the 3rd chukker, bringing the score to 7 to 6, Trinity.

Chris Collins played great defense in the second half, keeping the ball out of the Southwind/Adeptus goal.  At the end of the 5th chukker, Trinity was up 9 to 8.  Mariano Gutierrez scored another for Trinity in the 6th chukker, bringing them up to 10.  Chris Collins scored and Pedro Orellano scored to tie up the game, 10 to 10.

Our very own founding member and patrona, Colleen Wilson, had a break away with just a couple seconds left and scored the winning goal for Southwind/Adeptus!

Meanwhile, guests bid on the silent auction items and drank Mai Tais in the CitiBank Lounge.

The San Diego Symphony played a live parade march to welcome in the two competing teams.

Next up, a representative from the San Diego Opera blew us away with the National Anthem.

3pm Feature Match and Willis Allen Memorial Cup Finals: Starmeadow vs. Tritech/San Judas

Tritech/San Judas:
Ramon Richard -1
Ashton Wolf 3
Gaston VonWernich 5
Chris Maloney 1

Starmeadow:
Jessica Bailey 1
Jesse Bray 3
Graham Bray 5
Joy Bancroft -1

After Alisha Wray’s fall a couple of weeks ago, Ramon Richard stepped up to the plate and took her place on Tritech/Princeps, now renamed, Tritech/San Judas.  Alisha is doing well and attending the matches, but taking time to heal.


Although this is only 8-goal polo, it sure feels like 12-goal.  Jesse Bray started off hot with 2 goals in the first chukker for Starmeadow.  Gaston VonWernich matched his two goals in the second chukker and added a few more in the second half of the match.  Also in the second chukker, Graham Bray had a beautiful back shot near the goal line that barely made it through the goal posts.

Ramon Richard of Tritech/San Judas had two very important goals in the 3rd and 5th chukkers, which were very instrumental in the win.

Jesse Bray continued to knock them in, tallying up 7 goals total.

We had a couple of falls, 2 from Ashton Wolf and 1 from Gaston VonWernich.  The crowd was spooked when Gaston and his horse, Fleur, fell.  Sure enough, the horse just got the wind knocked out of her and got right back up.  The horse is healthy and we are all very thankful Gaston and Fleur are doing okay.  Although Ashton’s ribs are a bit bruised, that didn’t stop him from playing his best.

In the 6th chukker, the match was 10 to 9, Tritech/San Judas on top.  Jesse Bray sailed the ball into the air during a penalty shot, but missed it by inches.  His second penalty shot was deflected by Ashton Wolf’s mallet.  In the 3rd penalty shot, Jesse missed it again, by centimeters!  Time ran out before Starmeadow had a chance to score, leaving the win to Trinity/ San Judas!

Gaston Von Wernich‘s horse, Fleur, won Best Playing Pony.

Runner’s up received gift bags from Giving Back Magazine and South Coast Plaza.  Jesse Bray won MVP.

Tritech/San Judas won the Willis Allen Memorial Cup.  After taking lessons in the arena and graduating to grass polo last year, Ramon Richard was thrilled to be a part of the winning team.  He celebrated with dousing his teammates in Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

Trophies were presented by Tiffany & Co. of Fashion Valley.

Danitza Villanueva of Giving Back Magazine, Ramon Richard and his wife Virgina Calero, Ashton Wolf, Gaston VonWernich, Chris Collins, grandson of Willis Allen, Chris Maloney, Peggy Stevenson of Tiffany & Co., Esteban Villanueva of Giving Back Magazine, and Gaston’s children.

Willis Allen Memorial Cup Kicks Off in San Diego…

We are playing with a fantastic group of people in September.  If you’ve never followed the season of polo in San Diego, September is the best month to see action-packed games.  We welcome new players and new competition.

The first match on Sunday brought Hanalei Bay versus Southwind Adeptus.  Ron Bonaguidi, our President and Patron of Hanalei Bay played well, scoring 1 for the team in the first chukker.  Mariano Fassetta, now called the “Argentine Assasin” by our announcer Steve Lewandowski, scored 3, and Alvaro Tadeo scored 2 for Hanalei Bay.

Southwind/Adeptus played beautifully on Sunday afternoon.  Pedro Orellano scored 5 for Southwind/Adeptus, Colleen Wilson scored 2, Chris Collins scored 2, and even Mike Kerley got one.  Needless to say, Southwind Adeptus came out on top.  They are looking good this week, defeating Hanalei Bay 10 to 6.

During intermission, the San Diego Polo Club observed 9/11 by presenting the Rainbow Riders Drill Team of Poway.  The 8 women mounted horses decorated in sparkling red, white and blue colors and paraded the field with gorgeous American flags.  In addition to their performance, we asked all current armed forces, veterans, and emergency responders to join us on the field.

Congressman Martin Garrick gave a wonderful speech in remembrance of those effected by the tragedy of 9/11.  Our announcer, Steve Lewandowski brought the audience to tears as he congratulated each one of our heroes for dedicating their lives to helping others.  It was a very special day to remember the tragedy of 10 years ago and to count our blessings.

TRINITY: Rick Paicuis 0, Patrick Uretz 1, Jared Sheldon 1, Mariano Gutierrez 5

On Friday, Trinity met in our Clubhouse to watch a previous practice game against Starmeadow in order to prep for their Sunday match.  They talked strategy and how to handle one of our best and most aggressive players on the field, Graham Bray.

STARMEADOW: Graham Bray 5, Jesse Bray 3, Jessica Bailey 1, Colton Bancroft -1

The feature match started out slow, with Jesse Bray, Colton Bancroft (subbing for his mom, Joy Bancroft), and Graham Bray each scoring 1 for Starmeadow.  Trinity scored 2 (Jared Sheldon and Mariano Gutierrez).  Jared Sheldon spiced things up in the second chukker by getting bumped off his horse.  He got right back on and continued playing.

Fans celebrated the half time Divot Stomp with tastes of Rose Champagne sponsored by Korbel California Champagne.  Every Sunday we hide  a decorated champagne cork on the field and the person who finds the cork gets a bottle of Champagne!

Starmeadow and Trinity took the half time to form a game plan, and both teams came back stronger than the first half.  Jesse Bray scored 3 for Starmeadow and Colton Bancroft (only 14 years old!) scored one.  Meanwhile, Rick Paicius, Jared Sheldon and Mariano Gutierrez  each scored one for Trinity, bringing the game up to 7 to 6, Starmeadow in the lead.

In the 5th chukker, things heated up again and Sheldon had another fall.  Again, a little bruised, but not seriously hurt, Sheldon continued playing.  Jesse Bray scored a few more, totaling 7 goals that afternoon.  Mariano Gutierrez put 2 through in the 6th chukker, but it wasn’t enough for the win.  Graham Bray did the honor of scoring 2 more in the 6th chukker, just to be sure Starmeadow walked away victoriously.

Meet Jesse Bray.

We heard Jesse picked up four new “green ponies,” so we met him at his barn to admire the new animals.

Jesse: “What’s your favorite beach?”
SD Polo: Flamenco Beach in Puerto Rico!  Why?
Jesse:  I am naming my horses after beaches, at least these two year olds.  The four year old needs to be named after a beer.

SD Polo: Stella? Why do you name your horses in waves?
Jesse:  Well, I won’t play these two year olds for another 4 years.  They’ll all be named after beaches then.

SD Polo:  Four years is a long time!  How do you prepare them to play polo?
Jesse:  You have to spend time with them.  Brush them, groom them, ride them everyday.  The more time you put into them, the better they’ll be.  That’s the idea, anyway.

SD Polo:  Wow, that sounds like a lot of work.  You’re 18, just graduated high school.  How long have you been playing polo and what would you be doing if you didn’t play?
Jesse: I’ve been playing ever since I can remember.  I moved here from New Zealand when I was two, and I was definitely on a horse before then.  Playing polo is my life.  There is no other path.

SD Polo: So you didn’t really have a choice.  You were born into it because your father plays.
Jesse:  I did have a choice.  I played soccer growing up and eventually had to choose between soccer and polo.

SD Polo:  What do you think about playing with your dad?
Jesse:  It’s just another job.  There is always competition, but it always brings out the best in both of us.  Obviously, I’d rather play against him so I can beat him.

SD Polo:  Did your dad teach you to play polo?
Jesse:  I had a lot of help from different people… Kimo, Danny Rowland, Gaston VonWernich, but mostly my dad.

SD Polo:  When you’re playing with sponsors, do you ever give them feedback, or do you leave that to the older pros?
Jesse:  We all help each other.  The sponsors usually ask for feedback or how to improve.  I’ll help anyone that wants to learn.

SD Polo:  What was Team USPA about?
Jesse: The USPA picks 8 players between ages 18-31 to be on the team.  We go to clinics, they help with internships, networking and jobs too.  It gets my name out of California.   I worked with Julio Arellano, one of the best players in the United States.  He was one of the mentors in the program and I really learned a lot from him.

SD Polo:  You’re young and you have your whole polo career ahead of you.  Where do hope the sport takes you?
Jesse: Ideally, I’ll travel the world and play polo.  I’d love to travel Europe and Argentina.  I’ll be the best I can be.

Second Wind of the 2011 Season!

Jesse and Graham Bray
Jesse Bray of Starmeadow went home on Saturday afternoon after playing a practice game with his teammates, Joy Bancroft, Jessica Bailey and his father, Graham Bray.  He massaged his shoulders and complained to his mother he needed ice packs for his upper back.  When his mother asked why his shoulders were so sore, he responded, “I’ve been carrying the old man all day,” insinutating he played better than his father and led the team to victory.  Graham didn’t take it lightly.

Graham Bray

The following day, Graham Bray played spectacularly on field one in front of the Sunday crowd.  Scoring a total of 9 goals, he showed his son that the “old man” is still the boss.  Jessica Bailey, straight in from Indio, scored 2 goals for Starmeadow, and Jesse Bray scored 3 (only 6 less than his father).  Joy Bancroft played a strong defense, keeping the goals in favor of Starmeadow.

Tritech/Princeps scored their first two goals in the fourth chukker, starting things off slow.  In the 6th chukker, each teammate scored a goal, bringing the total up to 9.  Unfortunately for Tritech/Princeps, Mr. Graham Bray of Starmeadow stole the show and the game.


Diego Cossio

Diego Cossio of Monteverde kicked off the feature match with style, knocking in 2 goals.  Teammates Ellen Greenhill and David Samaniego each scored one, blowing San Fernando/San Judas out of the water in the first chukker.  Diego Cossio admits he had a horrible 2nd chukker, letting Guillermo Li and Charly Cendoya of San Judas/San Fernando score, tying up the match.


Charly CendoyaGuillermo Li

Each team scored another goal in the fourth chukker keeping the tied game, but in the 5th chukker, Matt Walker scored one and Diego Cossio scored two pushing Monteverde into the lead.

Matt Walker

Both Ramon Richard and Charly Cendoya of San Judas/San Fernando scored, but it wasn’t enough to take the win.  Monteverde came out on top 12 to 8.

David Samaniego and Roberto Estudillo

The San Diego Polo Club celebrated the day with TERI Inc, a non-profit working hard to make the lives of special needs children better.  They spoke about their therapeutic riding program and sold artwork done by their students.  Teri also received a check for $10,000 from Canon Business Solutions!

 

Check out the video below!