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IN THE SADDLE WITH QUINN KYLE: DREAMS, DRIVE AND DEDICATION - AN ARTICLE BY CLICKPOLOUSA

Sep 26, 2023 3:46 PM

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Bush League's Quinn Kyle. ©Pablo Ramirez
Bush League's Quinn Kyle. ©Pablo Ramirez

Quinn Kyle’s polo journey began under the eyes of his father Virgil. As a child, he watched his father transition from the golf greens to the polo arenas of southern California. This familial connection became the bedrock of Kyle’s passion for the sport and has led him to compete alongside his father for Bush League at Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California.

“My goal is to continue my polo journey at the collegiate level and aim for the national championship over the next four years. My dream is to play at the high-goal level and be recognized as a top-tier American polo player.”  – Quinn Kyle

With college on the horizon, Kyle stands on the cusp of a new chapter in his story and hopes to chart a path to an intercollegiate national championship. CLICKPOLOUSA sat down with Kyle to talk the Bush League, playing at the collegiate level, the state of polo in the U.S. and what lies ahead for the aspiring young player.

Tell us about your introduction to polo and what drew you to the sport?
"My dad Virgil was the one who really introduced me to this sport. Both he and his business partner, Ryan Robertson, were avid golfers, but they began looking for something new beyond golf. They created a list of different, less popular sports. Given that my dad had ridden horses his entire life, they decided to take polo lessons at the OC Polo Club [Silverado, California] in the arena. I began learning alongside them from a young age."

The name 'Bush League Polo' is quite unique. Can you share the story behind the team and the team's name?
"The name 'Bush League' is essentially a baseball term meaning 'amateur.' When they were founding their team at Eldorado Polo Club after transitioning from the arena, my dad and his business partner were admittedly inexperienced. During a discussion, my dad remarked, 'We are so Bush League, so amateur,' and the name just stuck."

Born and raised in Southern California, Kyle make the transition from golf to polo following lessons at the Orange Country Polo Club in Silverado, California. ©Pablo Ramirez
Born and raised in Southern California, Kyle make the transition from golf to polo following lessons at the Orange Country Polo Club (OC Polo) in Silverado, California. ©Pablo Ramirez

Where are you playing now?
"I’m currently in the off-season. I just finished the summer season at Cotterel, where I spent about a month and a half. Now, I'm back home in California, gearing up for the Eldorado Polo Club season in Indio [California]."

Tell us about some of the most memorable matches you've played with Bush League Polo.
"About three years ago, in my first year playing in the 8-goal at Eldorado, I was on a team with my dad, Pelon Escapite and Ale[jandro] Gonzalez. We ended up winning almost every final over a two-month period. We missed only one final, losing in a shootout. It was exceptional because it was my inaugural experience at that level of polo. Last year, with the same team in Indio [California], we made a remarkable comeback in the sixth chukker after trailing by three or four goals."

Where do you see yourself and Bush League Polo in the coming years?
"Next year, I’ll be starting college. My aspiration is to continue my polo journey at the collegiate level and aim for the national championship over the next four years. Later, I hope to rejoin Bush League on grass. As for the organization, we've been growing steadily over the past couple of years, even initiating a small breeding operation. With three foals last year and two this year, and our continuous investment in new horses, I'm optimistic about our growth and commitment to polo for the foreseeable future."

Playing alongside his father Virgil for Bush League, Kyle's inaugural season included success at the 8-goal level. ©Robert W. Krantz
Playing alongside his father Virgil for Bush League, Kyle's inaugural season included success at the 8-goal level. ©Robert W. Krantz

Are there any tournaments or locations, both globally and in the U.S., where you dream of playing?
"Florida, particularly Wellington, is high on my list. While I haven't been there yet, it's the U.S. hotspot for polo—truly the pinnacle. I hope to compete there someday, ideally in the 22-goal, high-goal league. I'm eager to experience the intensity of competing with the world's best players. Additionally, playing in Argentina would be a dream. I visited when I was 10 and managed a few practice sessions, but playing in a competitive tournament there would be phenomenal."

“Wellington is high on my list. While I haven't been there yet, it's the U.S. hotspot for polo—truly the pinnacle. I hope to compete there someday, ideally in the 22-goal, high-goal league. I'm eager to experience the intensity of competing with the world's best players.”  – Quinn Kyle

Looking to the future, what are some of your personal goals?
"Long term, like many American players, I hold the U.S. Open [Polo Championship] in high regard. Winning the Pacific Coast Open or the Silver Cup in Santa Barbara [California] would also be incredible, especially since it's in my home state. Those are some of the most challenging tournaments California offers, so clinching any of them would be truly special."

Aspiring to play at the intercollegiate level, Kyle has his sights set on competing in Wellington, Florida. ©Kerri Kerley
Aspiring to play at the intercollegiate level, Kyle has his sights set on competing in Wellington, Florida. ©Kerri Kerley

How would you describe the current state of polo in the United States?
"Polo in the U.S. is on an upward trajectory. New clubs are emerging nationwide, and sponsors are supporting polo at all levels. Last year in Florida, over 20 teams participated in the Gauntlet of Polo, and the new 16-goal league attracts probably more than 12 teams annually. Even at Eldorado, we see over 10 teams at every level. It's evident that polo's reach is expanding, and a new generation of young American polo players is emerging."

“Last year in Florida, over 20 teams participated in the Gauntlet of Polo, and the new 16-goal league attracts probably more than 12 teams annually. It's evident that polo's reach is expanding, and a new generation of young American polo players is emerging.”  – Quinn Kyle

Where do you think American polo can go in the next decade? What role do you hope to play in the future?
"I believe American polo will maintain its current momentum for at least another decade. The influx of young talent is unprecedented. We're witnessing players like Mackenzie Weisz*, Jesse Bray* and Matt Coppola* leading the charge, with many more set to join them. Over the next decade, I envision a surge of American players making significant marks in high-goal polo. My dream is to be counted among them, to play at the high-goal level, and be recognized as a top-tier American polo player."

*Mackenzie Weisz is an Active Team USPA Member. Jesse Bray and Matt Coppola are Team USPA alumni. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.