May 03, 2024 9:01 PM

Deb Ferro, Administrative Assistant Umpires, LLC
Deb Ferro, Administrative Assistant Umpires, LLC

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, I enjoyed competing in track and gymnastics during my school years. My business background comes from 10 years of work in my family’s company. After marrying my husband, we moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and started our own businesses. We had two wonderful children while in the U.P., and then made the decision to relocate to Florida in 1993. That was how my polo life began.

We enrolled our children in a small private school, Out of Door Academy. I became very involved with the school’s board of directors and chaired the annual fund for eight years.

My background in fundraising and overall business has helped me address the obstacles that might arise in my current position as administrative assistant to Maggie Mitchell, Umpires LLC executive administrator. My responsibilities are billing, accounts receivable and keeping track of our team of umpires, who officiate at different clubs across the globe. I also help Kaila Dowd, USPA tournament manager, with the many tournaments we send umpires to throughout the year through the Tournament Support Program. It has been a gratifying and continually changing six years.

I was never involved with horses or polo until I moved to Florida. My children became friends with other children that were involved with the Sarasota Polo Club. We were invited to several polo matches in the late 1990s, and that is how I became a Polo Mom. My husband and I immediately fell in love with the sport and began an ambitious quick study of the game. We moved to the Sarasota Polo Club in late 1997, and polo became a way of life. The next thing we knew, there were horses and chukkers everywhere!

Throughout the years, my husband and children have played together with top players. My husband was lucky enough to play in many matches and tournaments across the USA and Argentina. Both my children played on teams with their father at the Sarasota Polo Club. I was lucky enough to be with them, cheer them on, watch many videos of the games and get everything ready for the next match.

My son went on to co-captain the Skidmore polo team and compete for four years at the collegiate level before achieving his PhD. We enjoyed the challenges of polo, playing in tournaments and meeting many friends along the way.

I know many of the umpires quite well (most were teammates or competitors of my family) and after 20 years or so, I have a good understanding of the workings of the game. I enjoy visiting with old friends and new up-coming USPA members.

I really enjoy my dogs, playing tennis with friends, baking at home, my 3-mile morning walks and cooking for my family and friends. I truly enjoy the friendship and comradery that polo has provided our family. It is a tight group, and once you are in, it is hard to leave the people you have met. Some of them I have known since they were born, and now they are rocking the polo fields. Occasionally, we squeeze in a polo match here and there for a Sunday visit!