When you think of the game of polo, you usually think of it taking place in The Hamptons or in Kentucky or in England. But Portland, Oregon is not only rapidly becoming a hub of great polo, but it is building a reputation of horsemen and women giving back to the community.
On July 22 and 23, 2017, the Oregon Polo Classic, presented by the Classic Wine Auction, brought together the excitement and sophistication of polo with an exceptional two-day food and wine experience. The well-attended event was held at the Hidden Creek Polo Club in West Linn, Oregon.
The weekend included a Family Day on Saturday as well an “over 21” Championship Day where guests enjoyed exciting Championship polo, delicious food, exceptional wines and more. Highlights included the ladies hat parade and judging and the “divot stomp” where spectators go onto the polo field and help replace the grass divots created by the ponies hooves.
This was the second year for the Oregon Polo Classic at Hidden Creek and proceeds from this event will benefit three non-profit organizations that assist over 30,000 children and families suffering from physical, mental, behavioral, socioeconomic and other challenges in the Portland area.
In 2005, Sean and Gretchen Keyes started creating their vision to build polo grounds and stables, with an elevated viewing area seating for spectators and immaculate polo fields that would draw international polo players to Portland to compete. In 2008, Hidden Creek Polo Club was open and ready for play.
However, Hidden Creek is more than just a polo club. It’s a venue dedicated to raising money for Portland charities. In addition to their signature event, they also hosted Polo Noir on August 12th. This single-day experience celebrated the game of kings with live music and Willamette Valley wine, and featured three-time Grammy Award winning legend Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers.
Polo originated in Persia sometime between the 6th century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. Over the centuries, it became popular in Asia, India, Argentina and Great Britain before making it to the United States in 1876. Polo is now an active sport in 77 countries.
The United States Polo Association (USPA), the governing body for polo in the U.S., was established in 1890. There is to promote the game of polo while overseeing the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
In addition to the professional players at Hidden Creek, the Pacific Northwest has is home to a great many amateur, high school and college teams. Think you might like to try polo? Click HERE and enter your location for a listing of polo clubs in your area.
photo credit: Hidden Creek Polo Club