Luxury Dossier

life at a gallop

Tag: polo players


The U.S. Polo Association, the national governing body for the sport of polo, has announced its top five finalists for the prestigious Equus & Co. Award honoring a deserving Team USPA member. The winner, to be announced Feb. 20, 2011, will be selected based on who has shown the most commitment to the sport of polo and its growth in the United States.
The Team USPA concept was established by the USPA to grow and sustain the sport of polo by identifying talented young American players and providing opportunities to grow their abilities. As part of their training, the members of the team learn from and compete alongside current high-goal stars such as Julio Arellano, Tommy Biddle, Jr., Jeff Blake, Luis Escobar, Sunny Hale, Hector Galindo, Adam Snow, Owen Rinehart and Jeff Hall.  Finalists were selected out of the 22 members of Team USPA for their leadership and communication skills, sportsmanship on the field, and participation in key Team USPA programs over the past year. Each will submit an essay on how winning the award and receiving the $5,000 prize – provided by Equus & Co.  – would significantly impact his or her own polo career. These five finalists include:
  1. •Carlitos Galindo, a 23-year-old three-goal player based in Thermal, Calif.  This year, Galindo helped lead teams to wins in the Willis Allen Memorial Cup 8-goal tournament in San Diego, the Polo in the Park 14-goal event in Lexington, Ky., and the Music City Challenge 8-goal event in Nashville, Tenn., where he also took home MVP honors.  Galindo played in the USPA Spreckles Cup in San Diego this fall, while also spending time in Aiken, S.C., riding green horses and umpiring games.
  2. •Jake Stimmel, a 19-year-old two-goal player based in Lubbock, Texas.  Stimmel played in Big Horn, Wyo., this summer and Aiken. this fall. He won in the Bradford Brinton 12-goal event and 14-goal Bozeman Trail Cup, both in Big Horn, along with the 12-goal USPA National Copper Cup in Aiken this year. Stimmel is also playing for Texas Tech Polo team and was named the 2010 USPA Central Regional Intercollegiate All-Star. He will compete once again this winter in the USPA’s intercollegiate events.
  3. •Mason Wroe, a 24-year-old three-goal player based in Midland, Texas.  Wroe is a former USPA National Intercollegiate Championship winner with Texas A&M and recipient of the 2009 Polo Training Foundation Collegiate Player of the Year Award.  Wroe was the winner of a 14-goal tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach last winter. He was also winner and MVP in the 12-goal Polo on the Prairie event in Midland, Texas, and a finalist in the Whitney Cup 8-goal tournament in Aiken, where one of his horses was awarded Best Playing Pony.
  4. •Nick Snow, a 24-year-old four-goal player based in Wellington, Fla. Snow played at Myopia Polo Club in Boston this summer before heading to Argentina in the fall to play at Indios Polo Club with Eduardo Heguy.  Among other accomplishments, Snow was a winner in the USPA Hall of Fame Challenge 14-goal event and MVP in the USPA Hitchcock Memorial 16-goal tournament, both of which took place in Aiken.  He was also a finalist in the Live Oak Challenge 16-goal tournament in Port Mayaca.•
  5. Steve Kruger, a 22-year-old three-goal player based in College Station, Texas.  Kruger is a three-time winner of the USPA National Intercollegiate Championships and was awarded NIC All-American Team honors in 2009 and 2010.  Kruger was the recipient of this year’s Polo Training Foundation Intercollegiate Player of the Year award, and named MVP in the USPA Officer’s Cup in Aiken and the Holt Cup 8-goal tournament in Midland.  He was a winner in two 14-goal tournaments in 2010, the Coca Cola Cup and Bob Tate Memorial event, both in Big Horn.

“The generosity of Equus & Co. has been overwhelming,” said Kris Bowman, Director of the Team USPA program.  “This award will provide an instrumental backbone for the deserving winner as they continue to grow as both a polo player and ambassador for the sport.”
“We are happy to be involved with Team USPA, which has shown unwavering commitment to the expansion of polo in this country,” said Jim Whisenand, CEO and President of Equus & Co.  “All of these finalists embody the spirit behind our vibrant sport and their commitment to Team USPA and the growth of polo goes well beyond their extraordinary talents on the field.”
Team USPA continues to be intricately involved in encouraging USPA programs and events that will solicit, train and develop American players and teams to the fullest measure of excellence. This includes advancing young players to compete in international events on behalf of the country, participate in national and circuit USPA tournaments, and work to enhance the handicap level of play at all levels, including club level competition.

The Peacock Throne

I’m really loving the resurgence of polo in Asia — China, India & Pakistan, and Dubai in particular.  It never really left, of course, but, to many westerners, polo was an ‘English’ game and the fact that they have played for more than 2,000 years throughout South and Central Asia still comes as something of a surprise to neophytes determined to see all sports as western ones.

I hope this interest among the newly-minted millionaires in India and China will lead to the cultivation of new players and new opportunities for mid-level international play via the Federation of International Polo and elsewhere.  Shah Qublai Alam, the son of the great player Rafay Alam  and grandson of Pakistan’s superstar Heskey Baig, is assembling the Pakistan team to make a bid for the FIP World Championship in Brasil.  The team knows it’s a long shot — everything from mounting the team to playing in one of the most politically unstable environments in the world presents a challenge for the players, who are determined to bring something good out of the rubble in Karachi and Lahore and return the game to its glory days.  Traveling through Pakistan, I am always struck by the average man’s familiarity with the game  of polo and interest in it as a traditional sport.  Polo is still covered in the major newspapers and, most importantly, polo is seen as an important part of South Asian life.

Let’s wish them luck.  Pakistan Zindabad!