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SPRING BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETINGS RECAP

Apr 30, 2016 3:51 PM

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The Spring Board of Governors meetings were held in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 20-24, 2016. Many informative presentations were made to the board. The Board and Staff Development Committee revised the travel reimbursement policy so that all Officers, Circuit Governors, Governors at Large, Committee Chairman, and LLC Chairman shall receive $1,500 per meeting. The reimbursement available for Delegates attending the meetings increased to $750 per meeting.

2016 POLO PARTY AWARDS CEREMONY

The PTF and USPA awards presented during this spring’s Board of Governors Meetings were a huge success. The USPA had many awards to give to outstanding people in our membership:

  • Russ Sheldon Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arena Polo went to Robert Ceparano
  • General Patton Award went to Daniel Colhoun, Mark Gillespie (2016)
  • Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award went to Mike Groubert
  • Best Playing Pony American Bred in the Argentine Open went to “Chocolate” owned by Valiente
  • Recognition for raising and breeding Chocolate went to Kenneth Berry
  • PTF Umpire of the Year went to Hector Galindo
  • Hall of Fame Umpire Belt Buckle went to Hector Galindo
  • Tom Hughes Umpire Award went to Bob Daniels

TOURNAMENT NEWS

The Tournament Committee recommended a few changes for 2017 National Tournaments that were approved by the board:

“The Silver Cup” was moved to Greenwich Polo Club for a three year contract.

The Board approved the creation of the “Arena Challenge Cup” as a Circuit and National Tournament.

The Board approved the creation of the “Women’s Arena Championship” to be awarded to Virginia Polo Inc. for 2016.

WOMEN'S POLO

The Board approved the creation of a perpetual Polo Woman of the Year award to be given in 2016.

SAFETY

The Safety Committee, led by Dr. Thor Norregaard, discussed the current state of polo helmets in this country and abroad. Recently, the Safety Advisory Panel of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) decided to require anyone participating in polo in the United Kingdom to wear a PAS 015 certified helmet, which will take effect in January 2018. Several years ago the USPA adopted the NOCSAE Polo Helmet standard and recommended (but not did not require) the use of a NOCSAE certified helmet in the United States. Unfortunately, there is no manufacturer currently marketing a NOCSAE certified helmet. Our Safety Committee discussed the ATSM standard used by the United States Equestrian Federation as an alternative. The Committee voted to enlist the services of an expert on helmet law and litigation to assist in evaluating the USPA’s position on helmets, as well as, an evaluation of the current helmet standards. The Safety Committee voted to independently test the polo helmets currently available on the market, refreshing the important test that was done ten years ago. This will give our members valuable information when choosing a polo helmet. The Committee also voted to present to the Rules Committee the requirement that anyone on a horse at an USPA event- whether warming up before the game or on the sidelines during the game- would be required to have a helmet on with chin strap in place, as is the case at HPA events.

spring board governors meeting polo
NOCSAE Helmet. Photo: Elizabeth Hedley

HIGH-GOAL POLO

Another milestone at the meetings was the passing of a feasibility study to create a USPA Polo League/Tour/Series with economic alignment between all stake holders- team owners, players, venues, and the USPA. Governor at Large and High Goal Committee Chair Maureen Brennan accepted the mission of forming a sub-committee in January representing all areas of polo. Because of Maureen’s connections in the sporting world, and her tenacity, a proposal was placed on the agenda for the Board meeting to use the services of a sports law firm to study this concept, which passed in a near unanimous vote. This initiative has the potential to change the way polo is viewed in this country, allowing it to be seen at our highest levels, as not just a series of prestigious tournaments, but in an organized series of events under one umbrella that recognizes the investment by all participants.

GLOBAL LICENSING

Financially, Global Licensing, formerly known as USPA Properties, has grown the USPA assets to $120 million. Worldwide sales have grown to over $1 billion. The future is now more secure as the franchises are switching from selling the product through department stores to opening free standing U.S. Polo Assn. brand stores.

spring board governors meeting polo

LIVESTREAMING NEWS

This year’s livestreaming has been very successful with more people tuning-in to watch polo than ever before. The Board approved to increase the 2017 Live Streaming Broadcast budget to $750,000 annually. This will allow the USPA to livestream more outdoor and arena tournaments throughout the nation.

POLO DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

A three year rolling budget increase for Polo Development Initiative program beginning in 2017 was approved with the budget moving up to $750,000. This will allow the PDI program to meet cuurent demands and increase the average dollar amount of the grant. This will be helpful in growing our Association as PDI clubs generate many USPA memberships.

POLO CLUB LOAN PROGRAM

The Polo Club Loan Program has been approved. The program will make loan funds available to polo clubs which need money to acquire polo properties. The terms require a 50% investment by the club. $10 million has been ear marked for the program. The goal was to be self-supporting by 2022. Now that there is a strong financial base, the Association is looking at increasing the spend portion of the formula to meet the demand of the membership. This will move the achievement of self-supporting to 2028.

EQUINE WELFARE

The Equine Welfare Committee has plans tocreate a Polo Pony Distress Fund. The committee also plans to ask for additional funding to send Equine Welfare Information Packets to clubs.

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