Nov 19, 2019 8:05 PM
For over 60 years, the Eldorado Polo Club (Eldorado) in Indio, California, has offered some of the best conditions to play in during the winter months in the United States. The city lies in Riverside County, approximately a hundred miles east of Los Angeles, California. It sports an excellent climate with daytime temperatures that create an ideal environment to host world-class competitions between January and March. Furthermore, the club encourages the local community to attend matches every Sunday throughout the season.
Eldorado was founded in 1957 and has grown steadily year after year. Nowadays, the club hosts a variety of United States Polo Association (USPA) tournaments, ranging from the 12-goal Rossmore Cup to the 2-goal Pacific Coast Circuit Amateur Cup. Eldorado also hosts extremely competitive 8-goal and 4-goal leagues, along with the coveted 6-goal Pacific Coast Circuit Governor’s Cup.
With over 10 full-sized polo fields, Eldorado Polo Club is one of the largest member driven polo clubs in North America. The club boasts a 1.5-mile track and stabling for over 500 horses, along with an onsite clubhouse, cantina bar and tack store.
Graham Bray is a New Zealander and former 7-goal player. He has won most of the major tournaments on the west coast during his career. His son is a rising star in U.S. polo, the current 6-goal player Jesse Bray. His daughter, Mia Bray, assisted Pilot to win the 22-goal C.V. Whitney Cup. Graham has managed the Eldorado Polo Club since 2013, with his main goals being the refurbishment of the fields and improving the quality of play.
What’s your history with polo, particularly with Eldorado Polo Club?
"I first came to Eldorado in 1979. During the 1980s, I rose through the ranks and ultimately reached 7-goals by 1989. I competed in the major tournaments at Eldorado, which were at the 18-goal level at the time. Since then, I have mainly competed on the west coast and have been managing polo clubs for over 20 years. I still compete in the 8- to 12-goal tournaments with Twin Palms Polo Team and have recently started to focus on breeding horses for my son and daughter’s future strings."
What’s your objective as Eldorado’s Club Manager?
"A big objective I had when I came on as manager at Eldorado in 2013 was to work to improve the fields the best we could. I believe that one of the top priorities of a polo club should be field quality. It is better for both the horses and players. It provides a great foundation for quality polo, and I think a lot of players appreciate good footing. We had an unusually cold winter. It changed the way our grass grew throughout the season. So, we had to change our maintenance plan and the fields held up very well. We are continuously working on making changes and improvements to the facility, alongside our partners Goldenvoice, the promoters of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festivals. Keeping the fields well-maintained is a priority for both of us."
"The 2019 season saw a lot of quality polo played at the club at all levels. The barns were full, which always provides for a great season. It was also great to see so many new players making the transition to competitive grass polo from coaching leagues or arena polo. We had some extremely exciting matches, particularly in the 12-goal. It is always great to see the polo community gather along the sidelines to watch the top-level games take place."
"2020 looks to be even better than 2019. We have six teams committed in the 12-goal, six teams and growing in the 8-goal and, possibly, 10 teams in the 4-goal. The stabling for the season is almost full and it looks like there will be a lot of action around the club. Even though we host medium and low-goal, the polo is fierce and competitive. The quality of horses and the professionalism of players are always increasing, which makes for an exciting competition each year. Hopefully, we will attract even more new teams to Eldorado. We are already seeing some new players and teams coming to join us this season. It is great to have new faces at the club."
*Mia Bray is a member of Team USPA. The mission of Team USPA is to improve the sport of polo in the United States by developing the talent/skills of young American players through mentored training and playing opportunities, ultimately leading to a pool of higher-rated American players.
All photos courtesy of CLICKPOLOUSA.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More