The Newport International Polo Series welcomes longtime rival Argentina this Saturday, Sept. 17th.
What is it about Argentina that produces such incredible players? “Dedication, hours playing and practicing at the highest levels, and learning to ride as soon as you are able to walk” says Newport Polo’s resident professional USPA Umpire this season and former professional player, Ernesto Ezcurra. Ezcurra grew up in Argentina as a second-generation polo player, with two brothers who also play professionally. “We start with the foot mallet, riding bareback and learn balance, strategy and technique until you perfect it.”
Over the past 30 seasons, USA has held its own while competing against Argentina, with a comparable win/loss record to boast.
“The rivalry has proven evenly matched throughout the decades,” comments Dan Keating, USA Captain and Polo Series founder. “This Saturday is shaping up to be just as great as previous years, as we welcome Argentina back for another match.”
Argentina first competed here in Newport during the inaugural season of the Polo Series in 1991, in a lineup of challengers that included the world’s top contenders in the sport of polo. And like Newport, Argentina has a long-standing history with the sport, whose beginnings date back nearly to the same year.
Polo was brought to Argentina in 1875 by wealthy landowners from the United Kingdom who played on cattle ranches, or “estancias”. The flat grasslands and wide-open spaces of the farms in Argentina, combined with the slick, athletic indigenous horses of the area, known as “criollos” created the perfect environment for the sport to grow. Outside of the country’s capital, Buenos Aires, local interest quickly grew in the sport, and most novices were already accomplished riders, taking to the game with ease. Soon the country was being invited to travel by boat to Europe to compete against some of the best teams in the world. The popularity of the sport has grown rapidly in Argentina, and the people of Argentina have proved to be particularly talented at the game. During the short time that polo was played as an Olympic sport, teams from Argentina competed and took home the gold on both occasions. Argentina today is the Mecca for polo aficionados. In Buenos Aires every December, as many as 30,000 polo fans attend the Argentine Open, the world’s most prestigious polo tournament.
Advanced ticket sales and full details for USA vs. Argentina are available on www.nptpolo.com. The weekly Stella Artois ‘Best in Show’ Contest theme will be, of course, Argentina. The options are limitless with the variety of fun cultural aspects that Argentina is known for.
The weekly polo matches every Saturday are an ideal conclusion to a summer’s day, in the late afternoons of June through September, just minutes from countless other events, attractions and glittering beaches of Newport, in a manicured, timelessly picturesque setting of the International Polo Grounds at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, where weekly audiences of several thousand attendees have turned out for generations to cheer on the home team as well as the visiting challengers.
Last week’s goal-for-goal match featured Bentley vs. Rolls-Royce, in an International Polo Series highlight that had fans on pins and needles as the two teams fought for the prestigious trophy. Rolls-Royce found tooth and nail for each goal as Bentley consistently stay ahead by one until the second half. The game was tied throughout most of the second half, until Bentley hammered ahead for the win. Herb Chambers displayed an impressive stable of luxury vehicle horsepower from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars New England and Bentley Boston for fans to admire during the game, and several dozen vehicles made a spectacular victory lap around the field at the finale.
The polo grounds are located at historic Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth RI. Tickets and reservations to the polo match and associated events are available online at www.nptpolo.com.
About the Newport International Polo Series:
Dating back more than 130 years in Newport, the polo matches are one of Newport’s grandest & most popular traditions, a living legacy from the Gilded Age with the founding of America’s First Polo Club in Newport. Open to the public, audiences of several thousand spectators enjoy contests against international teams, as well as teams representing major US cities, playing against the home team every Saturday, June through September at 5PM / 4PM in September.
This season features teams from 8 different countries to compete against the US for the duration of the summer. This is the 31st season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 35 nations including, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, and Colombia.
Minutes from downtown Newport, the International Polo Grounds are located at historic Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte 138) in Portsmouth, RI. The bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of what was once a 700-acre manorial farm whose settlement dates back to the 1600s. Its classical stone barns from the Gilded Age and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by the polo series founder, Dan Keating, and thrive today as an equestrian and community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.
Gilded Age Legacy: Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th-century B.C. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in the diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and calvary, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for nearly 2500 years, steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport’s summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America’s first polo club in 1876. A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.
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