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OAK BROOK POLO CLUB HOSTS THIRD ANNUAL “TEAM UP FOR TONY” BENEFIT & POLO CHARITY TOURNAMENT

Sep 17, 2019 7:57 PM

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Tony Sekera pictured with team.
Tony Sekera pictured center with Oak Brook Polo Club members.

Oak Brook Polo Club in Oak Brook, Illinois, will host the third annual “Team Up for Tony” benefit and polo tournament beginning on Friday, September 20, and concluding on Sunday, September 22, with the championship matches held at the Prince of Wales Field. The ticketed fundraiser helps to support Oak Brook Polo Club friend and fellow teammate Tony Sekera, who suffered a devastating injury in June 2017, leaving him a quadriplegic. In the spirit of giving, all entry fees and outside donations received as well as tournament prize money totaling $50,000 will be donated to assist with Sekera’s care.

“Speaking on behalf of the Oak Brook team and the polo community, we are more than happy to host this special event for the third year in Tony’s honor,” explains Jim Drury, team owner of Oak Brook Polo. “He has been an integral part of the Chicago polo community for 30 years and we support him in his courageous journey to recovery.”

It’s been over two years since Sekera sustained the spinal cord injury. With little to no movement of his limbs, the future is hard to envision, but with years of skilled care and rehab, and many adjustments along the way, Sekera is home and continues to get stronger. He remains positive and goal-oriented while his team of physicians, therapists, family and friends continue to cheer him on. “Tony has a zest for life that inspires those who know and are around him,” added his daughter, Molly Seago.

Last year’s event raised over $25,000 and this year is set to more than double that amount with the USPA tournament prize money matching program. While this is the first tournament with prize money in the Midwest, the participating players and teams have all agreed to donate the prize money to Sekera. In addition, the tournament is fully volunteer run with all staff, umpires, medics and polo professionals participating at no charge.

To maximize the amount awarded to Sekera and his family, this year’s event has expanded into two tournaments: the 8-goal Central Circuit Master’s Cup and 6-goal Central Circuit Governor’s Cup. Four teams have committed to competing for the 8-goal which include Oak Brook, G-Squared, Morgan Creek and Passion for Polo.Four to six teams will compete in the Central Circuit Governor’s Cup.

Oak Brook Polo Club in association with the Chicago Polo Association (CPA) is thrilled to announce a grand total of $50,000 in prize money between both tournaments. The USPA tournament prize money matching program will match $15,000 for the Central Circuit Master’s Cup for a total of $30,000. $10,000 will be matched for the Central Circuit Governor’s Cup for a total of $20,000. All tournament entry fees will be matched dollar for dollar and donated to the Sekera family to support Tony’s therapy, specialized adaptive equipment, and 24/7 care.

Ceremonial parade across the field to start off the game. ©Hey Jude World Photography
Ceremonial parade across the field to start off the game.

Sekera continues extensive therapy and the hard work to regain muscle movement is paying off. One of his greatest accomplishments is the ability to operate the toggle on his power chair by moving his arm. This has given Sekera some hard-earned freedom and independence. He has also learned to guide his caregivers in ways to assist him and therapists remain optimistic that he can continue to make positive progress.

"Tony's passion for polo remains strong,” Cindy Engdahl Sekera added. “He continues to show his positive attitude and determination and we are grateful for the generous support of family and friends who continue to stand by him.”

On Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21, semifinal matches will take place at neighboring polo clubs to determine the teams competing in Sunday’s final for the Governor’s Cup at 2:00pm and Master’s Cup at 3:00pm CDT. Gates will open to the public at 12:00pm for entry.

©Hey Jude World Photography

Gates open at 12:00pm and tailgate parking will be on a first come, first serve basis. General tailgate tickets are $60 per spot or $75 for VIP on the west sideline. Saddle Club tickets are $50 per person, with reserved tables for $350 per table and lounge seating at $450. Onsite field parking is $12 per car. There is no lawn seating this match. Overflow parking is at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel where free shuttles to and from the field will be provided. Tickets can be purchased at here. For general information and parking directions, please call 630.368.5095. For interested players or teams, please contact CPA Executive Director, Pam Mudra at pam@chicago-polo.com to register.

To donate directly to Tony Sekera’s ongoing care, please visit the Go Fund Me page here.

All photos courtesy of ©Hey Jude World Photography.