Tag Archives: Rancho Santa Fe

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

USPA Rossmore Cup & Salute to Military

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On Sunday, September 8, we kicked of the USPA Rossmore Cup and honored our military, veterans, and first responders with a special ceremony.  We warmly welcomed all military families, veteran support groups and charities who work hard to support our veterans in the community.  Among them were Horses Joining Forces, a therapeutic riding program for veterans with PTSD.  President of Horses Joining Forces, Former Major Glenn Cunningham, described the program and it’s benefits, giving the audience great insight what horses can do for our mind, body and heart.

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Tens of thousands of our young combat veterans are unemployed, underemployed, homeless, in support programs, and or despondent due on no small part to the cause and effects of PTSD and combat trauma.  Vets 360 invites recently separated combat veterans and their families into an on-going program of engagement, education, employment, and healing.  Their goal is to help them understand that asking for support is a sign of strength… NOT an inability to cope.  We were thrilled to have Vets 360 involved with our annual Salute to Military event.

Colton-Bailey

The day kicked off with a match between Twin Palms/San Fernando and Star Meadow/Monteverde.  Diego Velarde started off hot, leading Twin Palms/San Fernando with 3 goals in the first chukker and2 more in the second.  Gaston VonWernich also put a couple through in the first and fourth chukkers.  Star Meadow/Monteverde started slowly, building momentum in the third chukker.  At half time, the score was 5 to 4, Twin Palms/San Fernando in the lead.  In the fourth chukker, Graham Bray scored two and Martin Ravina one for Star Meadow/Monteverde.  In the 5th chukker, they did the same: Bray with two, Ravina with one.  Twin Palms/San Fernando fell back in the second half to play defense.  They weren’t able to score on the opposing team in the 5th and 6th chukkers.  Star Meadow/Monteverde came out victorious, 11 to 6.

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During intermission the Poway Valley Vaulters, consisting of 6 girls, 2 trainers and a 13-year old Percheron/Welsh pony, showed us their talents.  Equestrian Vaulting is a unique International sport that combines elements of gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse. And is a wonderful and fun way to develop coordination, balance, strength, flexibility, teamwork, harmony and creativity.

Vaulters of all ages and abilities showcase their talents in compulsory movements and choreographed freestyle routines set to music, with up to 3 vaulters on the horse at a time. Vaulting’s history is said to have begun thousands of years ago in ancient Minoa as ‘bull vaulting’. In fact, every horse culture around the world practices a variation of this sport.  The sport’s most modern ancestor was as a cavalry training tool for horse-mounted soldiers, and it was also a recognized Olympic sport in the early 20th century. It is one of the FEI’s 8 recognized sports, and is a regular feature of the World Equestrian Games.

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Our Salute to Military Ceremony was led by emcee and polo announcer Steve Lewandowski.  Steve welcomed Glenn Cunningham, president of Horses Joining Forces on to the field to speak about the therapeutic riding program and services for veterans with PTSD.  A representative from Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office presented certificates to many groups and people who made the event possible, and also gave a special flag to Steve Lewandowski for his exceptional effort during the planning of this event, and also to the San Diego Polo Club for hosting the event.  These special flags were once flown above the capital and considered a honorable gift.  Veterans and active military were invited on to the field for the recognition ceremony.

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CV4C2441Karen McBride sang the national anthem in front of a huge American flag and the teams paraded on to the field for the featured match.

Team Hanalei Bay and Team Adeptus battled it out on field one in front of the crowd.  Ashton Wolf, who fell and had to get face stitches on Friday afternoon, scored the first goal of the match for Hanalei Bay, followed by teammates Mariano Fassetta and David Samaniego.  Jesse Bray and Dan Juarez of Adeptus scored one each in the second chukker and an additional 3 in the third chukker.  By half time, the game was tied up 5 to 5.

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Guests enjoyed a taste of Korbel California Champagne during the half time classic Pretty Woman Divot Stomp.

Krista Bonaguidi and Ashton Wolf scored for Hanalei Bay in the 4th chukker, and Jim Wright was able to score one for Adeptus.  Jesse Bray scored 2 in the 5th chukker and teammate, Dan Juarez scored another for Adeptus.  Mariano Fassetta was able to get through Adeptus‘ defense to score two for Hanalei Bay in the 5th and 6th chukker, but it was Dan Juarez’s last goal that lead Adeptus to victory.

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Trophies were presented by the nieces of founding member and owner of Daou Vineyards, Georges Daou.

Daou Winners

Opening Day at SDPC

The place to be on Sunday afternoon was the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe.  With perfect weather, gorgeous people, and majestic horses playing polo, there was no other way to spend the day.   The San Diego Polo Club had their most successful day in 26 years with a record breaking attendance of 2,000.

Riviera Magazine sponsored the event, along with BMW of San Diego and Mini of San Diego.  Riviera’s publisher, Jessica Cline, was our guest of honor and presented Hermes trophies to the winners, compliments of Neiman Marcus.

The San Diego Polo Club debuted their first fashion show, with dresses by Poppy, shoes by Shoes Me, accessories by Nomadic Fashion and shades from Raen Optics.  Corals and blues are the color of summer.  Fashionista, Michelle Guerin of the San Diego Union Tribune said it best in her recent article, this season offers a kaleidoscope of prints and pops of color.

The Feature Match between Jetsuite/Monteverde and Starmeadow/Adeptus was a riveting one.  Both teams were neck and neck throughout all six chukkers with Mariano Gutierrez scoring the winning shot for Jetsuite/Monteverde.

Thank you to everyone who came out for a glorious, sun-filled day of Polo!  Join us this Sunday for our Father’s Day celebration including antique biplanes, cars, and cigars.

Special thanks to Frank Tupas and Dominick Lemarie for photography!

What a FINE Day!

With over a thousand guests at the USPA Rossmore Cup presented by FINE Magazine, the charity, Kids Korps was sure to call it a success.  Silent Auction items included a signed guitar by the Rolling Stones and another by Paul McCartney, jewelry donated by CRUSH, artwork by Donna B and tons of other great items.  Kids from Kids Korps sold cupcakes and other goodies, while FINE Magazine guests enjoyed lunch and drinks in the VIP tent.

Special thanks to Jaguar Landrover of Carlsbad.  Liz Flowers, Suzanna Hoehn, and Maggie from Maggie B’s and Mister B’s.

Brittany Simpson and Leonard Simpson from KUSI’s Fashion Forward produced a stunning fashion show with over 40 models and 80 looks from local designers including Sharon Plache and Fairen Del.  Rouge did a fabulous job with make-up and hair.

In the feature match, Tritech/Princeps doned the jerseys of FINE Magazine and went up against team Monteverde.  Things started out slow in the first half of the match, but picked up the fourth chukker.  Gaston VonWernich had 6 goals that afternoon, Dirk Wray (subbing for Chris Maloney) had 2 and Ashton Wolf scored one, totaling 10 for FINE Magazine.

Matt Walker had 4 goals, Diego Cossio scored 2 in the 5th chukker, and David Samaniego scored one, totaling 7 for Monteverde.

Pink Army, a group of 3 teens from Kids Korps, performed pop-cover songs and rocked on stage for the Polo guests.  A DJ spun tunes shortly after the girls finished up.

Tritech/ Princeps wearing FINE Magazine jerseys
Alisha Wray (-1)
Ashton Wolf (3)
Gaston VonWernich (5)
Dirk Wray (0)
Total: 7 goals

Monteverde:
Ellen Greenhill (0)
Matt Walker (3)
Diego Cossio (4)
David Samaniego (0)
Total: 7 goals