FARMERS & MERCHANTS BANK SILVER CUP®
The Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMB) Silver Cup has been called many names throughout its illustrious 123-year history. Originally established as the Junior Championship, it was first played in 1900. The 1935 Junior Championship boasted the largest field in the tournament’s history with 11 teams vying for the coveted trophy. In 1938, the Junior Polo Championship was renamed the National Twenty Goal Championship. The tournament took its present name, the Silver Cup, in 1974.
In 2020, the Silver Cup returned to the famed Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (SBPRC) in Carpinteria, California, where it has remained. Notable contemporary Silver Cup champions have included many Santa Barbara staples including Lucchese (2012, 2014, 2020), Farmers & Merchants Bank (2013, 2015, 2016) and Klentner Ranch who earned the title in 2021 and went on to sweep the high-goal season at Santa Barbara.
Many winners of the cup hail from the Polo Hall of Fame—from J. Watson Webb and Tommy Hitchcock, to Robert Skene and Cecil Smith. In fact, no fewer than 50 Polo Hall of Famers have won the Silver Cup. Notable Hall of Fame inductees Ray Harrington Jr. and Charles Smith have each earned eight Silver Cup titles. 2023 Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Hall currently holds the record for most Silver Cup titles at 10, spanning from 1997 to 2022. Interestingly, four members of the Hall family have won the Silver Cup, including family patriarch John M. Hall, John W. Hall and Leigh Anne Hall, the first woman to win the title.
In 2022, the tournament came to its conclusion in a showdown between BenSoleimani.com (Ben Soleimani, Lucas “Luckitas” Criado Jr., Ignacio “Iñaki” Laprida, Jeff Hall) and L.E.N.Y. (Santino Magrini, Paquito de Narvaez, Kristos “Keko” Magrini, Matias Magrini). Claiming an early lead from the outset of play, a balanced offensive effort from BenSoleimani.com with stand-out plays from Criado Jr. and Hall pushed the team in black ahead to claim the coveted title 13-10. Read article here.
Held at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club for the fourth consecutive year, the 2023 Silver Cup will field six talented teams including Antelope, BenSoleimani.com, Brookshire, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Klentner Ranch and A Team.
Team owner Ben Soleimani and Iñaki Laprida will seek to defend BenSoleimani.com's title, as 2022 finalists (father and son) Matias and Santino Magrini unite once more under the new moniker A Team. Adding a Texan flare to the west coast, Brookshire team owner Scott Wood will attempt to claim his second title since 2011 with ERG, while Klentner Ranch aims to return to the Silver Cup podium for the first time since 2021. Farmers & Merchants Banks will set their sights on their fourth title with the addition of the highest-rated player in the competition, 9-goaler David "Pelon" Stirling. Last but not least, Antelope will strive to claim their first title, led by 2015 Silver Cup champion Felipe "Pipe" Vercellino and Matias Torres Zavaleta.
Team USPA, an Association program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players will be readily represented in the Farmers & Merchants Bank Silver Cup. Three Team USPA alumni and two Active Team USPA Members are represented across four teams highlighting the depth of American talent.
U.S. Polo Assn., official global apparel brand of the United States Polo Association (USPA), announced it will serve as the Stadium Sponsor and Official Apparel Brand for the 2023 Farmers & Merchants Bank Silver Cup. U.S. Polo Assn. will be featured in multiple ways including stadium branding and apparel throughout the tournament.
Photo: 2022 Farmers & Merchants Bank Silver Cup Champions: BenSoleimani.com - Jeff Hall, Lucas "Luckitas" Criado Jr., Ignacio "Iñaki" Laprida (Quino Laprida), Ben Soleimani (Carmel Soleimani, Ben Soleimani Jr. and Ella Soleimani). ©David Lominska