The Monty Waterbury is the third oldest official USPA trophy in active competition, named in honor of 10-goal polo immortal James "Monty" Waterbury. A member of The Wanderers polo team, which won polo's first U.S. Open Polo Championship in 1904, he is also remembered as a member of the USA team known as the “Big Four,” that won five international Westchester Cups against Great Britain.
In 1922, two years after his passing, his friends and teammates played for the first Monty Waterbury, at the Meadow Brook Club, in Westbury, Long Island, where it became a perpetual challenge trophy for an impressive 28-year stretch. Originally played for on handicap by teams entered in the U.S. Open, the final game for the U.S. Open Polo Championship was also the semifinal game for the Monty Waterbury. The inaugural games in 1922 boasted crowds of up to 20,000 people, who witnessed monumental eight chukker long battles. In 1954, the U.S. Open Polo Championship changed venues to Illinois, and the tournament was integrated into the Northeastern Circuit schedule, where it slowly receded into the background until its resurgence in 1975.
Temporarily relocating to the Greenwich Polo Club (Greenwich, Connecticut) in 2019, the Monty Waterbury was won by The Island House with a final score of 12-10 over Reelay. Not played for in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament found a new home in 2021 at Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida), where Old Hickory Bourbon captured the title 8-7 over Postage Stamp Farm.
In 2022, familiar adversaries Old Hickory Bourbon (Stewart Burkland, Joaquin Panelo, sub. Santiago Toccalino, Steve Orthwein) and Beverly Polo (sub. Will Ballhaus, Hilario Figueras, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Jorge “Tolito” Ocampo Jr.) met in the final. Leading Beverly Polo with 10 goals, Ocampo Jr.’s offensive contributions aided to offset a strong second half push from Old Hickory Bourbon, with Beverly Polo ultimately securing the 14-10 victory. Read article here.
Returning to Port Mayaca Polo Club (PMPC) for a third consecutive year, four teams will battle to inscribe their names on the prestigious trophy, including 2022 finalist Old Hickory Bourbon, with newcomers Forbes Plunkett, Loudmouth and Sonny Hill rounding out the competition. Representing Team USPA is Active Member Kristos 'Keko' Magrini (Old Hickory Bourbon).
Photo: 2022 Monty Waterbury Champions: Beverly Polo - Hilario Figueras, Jorge "Tolito" Fernandez Ocampo Jr., Will Ballhaus, Lucas Diaz Alberdi. ©Laura Linfoot Townsend