U.S. OPEN ARENA POLO CHAMPIONSHIP®
The U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship®, a 12- to 16-goal national tournament, serves as one of the highest levels of arena polo competition currently played in the United States. The tournament has a rich history dating back to 1926. In its inaugural year, it was won by the Yale University team made up of Reddington Barret, Winston Guest and William Muir. However, their champion status was quickly overtaken by Brooklyn Riding & Driving Club the following three years (1927-1929).
For nearly four decades, the tournament has been played alternately on the East Coast and West Coast at venues such as Shallowbrook Polo Club (Somers, Connecticut), the Los Angeles Equestrian Center (Burbank, California), Empire Polo Club (Indio, California), Great Meadow [Twilight] Polo Club (The Plains, Virginia), West Hills Polo Club (Huntington Station, New York), California Polo Club ( Los Angeles, California), and Country Farms Polo Club in Medford, New York from 2012-2018.
In contemporary U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® competition, Cedar Croft Farms has garnered the prestigious title from 2013-2015. A significant feat, as only the second team in the history of the tournament to achieve three consecutive wins with the same team members. The young team consisted of Kris Kampsen, Felipe Viana and Robert Ceparano. Last played for in 2018, Aliano Realty (Pedro Gutierrez, Nick Aliano, Esteban Scott) faced Hart Agency (Agustin Bottaro, Fausto Trino, Juan Redlich) in four chukkers of close competition, as Aliano Realty finished out the day in the lead 11-8 to take home the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® title.
Following a two year absence, the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® has been reignited and will once again be hosted by California Polo Club for the first time since 2011, with Empire Polo Club (Indio, California) serving as the site for games. The 2021 U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® will offer an outstanding $50,000 in total prize money as part of the USPA Tournament Prize Money Matching Program. The prize will be split between first ($25,000), second ($12,500), third ($6,000), fourth ($4,000) and fifth ($2,500) place teams.
This year's competition features six competitive teams vying for the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® including four Team USPA alumni, Jared Sheldon (OC Polo Club), Jimmy Wright and Patrick Uretz (Paragon), and Molly Agee-Bankhead unites with husband Garrett Bankhead on Bryce Catalyst. Other talented competitors include 2018 NTYS Championship® teammates Will Walton and Vaughn Miller Jr. (Dallas Polo), recent National Twenty Goal® Champion Jason Crowder (101 Polo), and reigning Townsend Cup Champion, Pelon Escapite (BOOM! Cult) who will face-off against his brother Ulysses Escapite (OC Polo Club).
Photo: 2018 U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® Champions: Aliano Realty - Pedro Gutierrez, Nick Aliano, Esteban Scott. ©Debra Napp