February 15 - March 10

Butler Handicap

All game times reported in EST.

Butler Handicap

Tournament History

In 1954 the U.S. Open Polo Championship® changed venues from the Meadow Brook Club on Long Island, New York, to the Oak Brook Polo Club in Illinois. On the outskirts of Chicago, Oak Brook was an outstanding polo and golf complex built by Paul Butler. Housed on thousands of acres, in its heyday, Oak Brook boasted 13 polo fields and stabling for 400 horses. It was in this same year, 1954, that the Butler Handicap was established. Named in honor of Paul Butler, in his early 60s at the time, his litany of polo accomplishments, including 29 dedicated years on the USPA Board of Governors, warranted a commemorative tournament.

Centrality was the primary benefit of Oak Brook: Situated in the middle of the country, shipping was less of a concern, and consequently more teams were drawn to Chicago for the U.S. Open. According to Jorie Butler Kent, daughter of Paul Butler and former manager of Oak Brook for 13 years, “the most teams that we ever had was actually during the time that I was running the polo at Oak Brook for the family, and we had 13 teams in the U.S. Open, which was a huge number, and a number of years we had twelve, but we usually had nine or ten. It was always a very, very sought-after tournament.” She continued to explain that “some teams would go out in the first round,” due in large part to the many teams in the tournament. Paul Butler saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on both players and spectators traveling to the area.

Since teams traveled a big distance to play in the U.S. Open, he proposed another tournament, to run concurrently, for those teams knocked out of the prestigious tournament. In this way, the Butler Handicap maintained a competitive and high standard of play equal to the U.S. Open. As the tournament was Mr. Butler’s idea, it was aptly named in his honor. The Butler Handicap, therefore, traditionally served as a handicap tournament for teams entering the U.S. Open and became an important USPA event for over six decades, showcasing premier players, horses and polo club venues. During that time span, just about every notable player and who’s who of Hall of Famers competed for the prestigious title.

In its inaugural year, the Butler was won by the CCC-Meadow Brook team, comprised of players Don Beveridge, G.H. “Pete” Bostwick, Alan Corey Jr. and Harold Barry. This same team took the Monty Waterbury Trophy and the U.S. Open, rounding out an exciting triple crown.

The tournament was played every year until 1966, with a few exceptions, and after a brief hiatus was played uninterrupted from 1971-1990 almost exclusively at the Oak Brook Polo Club. Oak Brook remained the mecca of polo until 1978, when the U.S. Open found a new home at the Retama Polo Center in San Antonio, Texas.

In the late ‘90s and early 2000s the Butler was played only a handful of times: 1995, 2006 and 2007. In more recent times (2008-2014) the Butler served as a subsidiary to the USPA Gold Cup®, one of two 26-goal tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open Polo Championship®, hosted at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.

In 2014, due to the combined efforts of the Butler family and the United States Polo Association, the historic Butler Handicap was officially adopted as a national USPA event. In July 2016, the Greenwich Polo Club hosted the 20-goal tournament in Greenwich, Connecticut, in a concerted effort with the United States Polo Association to re-launch and better memorialize the national tournament. The Butler Handicap was incorporated into the 26-goal lineup in 2017 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, where Coca-Cola (Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arelllano, Gillian Johnston, Miguel Novillo Astrada) claimed the trophy.

In the 2018 edition, father played against son as Colorado took on Valiente in a rematch of the C.V. Whitney Cup Final. Poised to capture their second 26-goal tournament title, Valiente delivered in the second half to claim the Butler Handicap 11-8 with a team comprised of both of the world's most notable 10-goalers (Facundo Pieres and Adolfo Cambiaso).

In 2019 the tournament served as an enhancement to the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup, and the Butler Handicap trophy was presented in honor of Paul Butler and his close friendship with Bill Ylvisaker. Pieres defended his title with Pilot, a new team to the winter high-goal scene, three-fourths of which would move on to capture the inaugural GAUNTLET OF POLO™ later that same year.

This year, the Butler Handicap, will be held at Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida, for the first time and will field three teams, including Traveller's Rest, Aspen and Palm Beach Equine.

Photo: 2019 Butler Handicap Winners: Pilot - Facundo Pieres, Lucas James, Matias Gonzalez, Curtis Pilot, presented by USPA CEO Bob Puetz.

Butler Handicap

Teams and Rosters

Bracket I

Bracket II

Bracket III

Bracket IV

no bracket

Traveller's Rest (2-1)

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Keko Magrini
Outdoor: 2
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Robert Orthwein
Outdoor: 4
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Santino Magrini
Outdoor: 4
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Matias Magrini
Outdoor: 7

Palm Beach Equine (2-1)

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Scott Swerdlin
Outdoor: 0
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Gringo Colombres
Outdoor: 8
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Gonzalo Ferrari
Outdoor: 4
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Lucas Diaz Alberdi
Outdoor: 6
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Nico Escobar
Substitute
Outdoor: 4

Aspen (0-2)

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Kris Kampsen
Outdoor: 6
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Julian Daniels
Outdoor: 6
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Stewart Armstrong
Outdoor: 3
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Santos Merlos
Outdoor: 2

Butler Handicap

Tournament Games

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020

February 15

Final

BUTLER HANDICAP

Port Mayaca Polo Club

Traveller's Rest logo

Traveller's Rest (2-1)

7

Palm Beach Equine logo

Palm Beach Equine (2-1)

10

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020

February 19

Final

BUTLER HANDICAP

Port Mayaca Polo Club

Palm Beach Equine logo

Palm Beach Equine (2-1)

13

Aspen logo

Aspen (0-2)

11

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020

February 26

Final

BUTLER HANDICAP

Port Mayaca Polo Club

Aspen logo

Aspen (0-2)

10

Traveller's Rest logo

Traveller's Rest (2-1)

12

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2020

March 10

Final

BUTLER HANDICAP

Port Mayaca Polo Club

Palm Beach Equine logo

Palm Beach Equine (2-1)

6

Traveller's Rest logo

Traveller's Rest (2-1)

10

Butler Handicap

Port Mayaca Polo Club

Situated in South Florida, surrounded by vast sugar cane fields and the popular fishing body of Lake Okeechobee, Port Mayaca Polo Club (PMPC) has steadily become a destination for winter polo. Located on more than 600 sprawling acres, the club has eight regulation fields, club barns with 220 stalls, an exercise track, a stick-and-ball field, a clubhouse and several acres of pastures for turnout and trail riding.

While consistent, quality polo is at the forefront of the club’s objectives, a tight-knit sense of community supports it. The club hosts a lunch or cookout after every club practice. A beautiful pavilion style clubhouse provides an enjoyable gathering place for players to congregate and discuss their latest game.

Port Mayaca Polo Club
12499 SW Conners Hwy
Okeechobee, FL 34974
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Club Website Club Profile

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