Oak Brook Polo culminated its 2017 season on Sunday, September 17th with a benefit polo tournament for teammate Tony Sekera. The all-tailgate two-match event featured local teams Windridge, GoPolo, Zeralda and Lithoprint and drew over one-hundred vehicles and four hundred spectators to help raise nearly $25k in support of Tony’s long-term care.
A total of over 4,500 spectators attended Oak Brook’s fourteen-week season which began on June 11th and was compromised of both new and long-standing tournaments and rivalries, including: Chicago Polo Day – 6/11, Commander’s Cup - 6/25, Horses & Horsepower – 7/9, Chicago Polo Cup – 7/30, Drake Challenge Cup – 8/6, Butler Challenge Cup – 8/20, and International and Prince of Wales Cup – 9/10.
Additionally, Oak Brook hosted three international teams for the “International Polo Series” which included Jamaica, India and Great Britain.
The Jamaica polo team, from the Kingston Polo Club, returned for the second straight year in August to play in The Drake Challenge Cup, furthering a thirty-year relationship of reciprocity between the island nation and the Chicago polo community.
The Delhi Polo Club’s Anandpur Sahib Blues returned for the third straight year to play for the Butler Challenge Cup. The Oak Brook Polo Team visited and played in a series of polo matches in Delhi and Anandpur Sahib, India in early March hosted by India’s polo team captain, Vikram Singh Sodhi.
HRH Prince Charles’s Wales Polo Team from Great Britain returned to Oak Brook after thirty-one years to close out the “International Polo Series” and play for the International and Prince of Wales Cup. The highly competitive match, included some of Great Britain’s best polo players, including 5-goaler and national team player, Pete Webb. The prestigious trophy was inaugurated in 1986 when the Great Britain team, captain by Prince Charles, played against Oak Brook in front of a crowd of 20,000 spectators.
Other season highlights included Culver Academies color guard leading the Commanders Cup pre-match parade, multiple celebrity sightings, Clydesdale wagon rides, Ferrari on-field display, Pimm’s Chukker Bar, Flicka the Wooden Polo Pony, pre-match player meet and greets, sponsor events at Room & Board, David Yurman and Barbour, and Jorie Butler Kent and Reute Butler’s hosting of the Friends of Conservation annual charity event and luncheon.
The Oak Brook Polo team was captained by patron Jim Drury, who along with Argentine teammates Horacio Onetto (Hcap 4), Tomas Obregon (Hcap 4) and Mariano Gutierrez (Hcap 4), celebrated at 6-2 winning season. This marks the first time, in over a decade, that a 12-goal Oak Brook Polo Team has been organized and played at the Club’s legendary polo grounds.
The ability to host and play a higher level of polo was met with the enhanced and quality field conditions, led by Oak Brook Sports Core Director, Sean Creed. The continuous irrigation and upkeep, combined with pre-season aeration and top-dressing with over two hundred fifty tons of sand created a superior and safe pitch for players to play polo on.
“The quality of this year’s field might be the biggest highlight of the season,” adds Daniel O’Leary, Oak Brook Polo Club Managing Director. “We received praise from those who once refused to play at Oak Brook that have now returned and feedback from polo professionals and patrons that feel that Oak Brook’s polo field is tournament ready again. These accolades go to show the importance of a safe and well-kept field and the impact it has on our sport and the future of Oak Brook Polo.”
The 2017 season marked Oak Brook Polo Club’s second year under new leadership by Chicago business leader, Jim Drury. “Multiple milestones were achieved this season since taking over the Club in 2016,” adds Drury. “I could not be more pleased and thrilled by the success of the 2017 polo season both on and off-the field. As a sport and destination, we have so much to look forward to as we continue to rebuild one of Chicago’s oldest sports traditions.”
Oak Brook 2017 season sponsors included Room & Board, Barbour, Land Rover, Porsche, Chicago Sports Commission, David Yurman, The Hampton Social, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Veuve Clicquot, La Martina, Barrington Saddlery, Continental AutoSports, Hinsdale Magazine, The Drake Oak Brook Hotel, Imperial Crane, and Merrill Lynch.
Photos by Oakbrook Polo Club