Sport of Kings Gallops into the Heart of Chicago

Brittany Lawler

The “Sport of Kings,” has stormed the beaches of Chicago. For the first time in Chicago, polo will take place right on North Avenue Beach. Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, Grey Goose Vodka, along with Titan Commercial sponsored the Chicago Beach Polo World Cup. Players from around the globe traveled to the Windy City to compete in a prestigious, beach polo tournament.

The event sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka, Don Miguel Gascón, Fogo de Chao, Amstel Light and Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, it is no mistake that North Avenue Beach was completely transformed in anticipation of some of the most exciting polo action Chicago has seen in years. The custom-built arena, is roughly the size of a football stadium that is bordered by a beachfront bar and grill on one side and Lake Michigan on the other. A traditional game is played on a large grass field up to 300 yards in length. While in Chicago, the two-story lakeside structure was transformed to accommodate the event.

The two-day international polo tournament hosted a set of eight teams. Four teams competed in the World Cup play, while four women’s teams took to North Avenue Beach to play for the North Beach Women’s Polo Cup.“Polo should become a regular attraction in Chi-town,” said Joseph J. Ahern, executive director of the 100 Club of Chicago.

Today, Polo is associated with an elite group of people—or the British. However, in the past Chicago was a leading city for the sport. The first Chicago Polo Club was established in 1895. At that time, many of Chicago’s high society were active participants with the sport including the Wrigleys, Stanley Field, Charles Glore and the Krami family.

Wigdahl has played on winning teams in the U. S. Open Championship, the United States Polo Association’s Gold Cup, the America Cup and the Butler Handicap, to name a few, and will be fielding a local team in this tournament. They will rival Argentina’s Usandizaga brothers (Guillermo and Gustavo), and be joined by Chicago’s own Ben Rosenfield. “They’re like the Scottie Pipen of Polo,” said Rosenfield, “they’ve been playing for 20 years.”

“I put together the team and the team was lucky to be able to practice together in Kentucky this summer,” said Rosenfield. Well all the hard work paid off, Rosenfield’s team won, with a final score of 20 to 4. “Everyone had a handicap of 10, so when you add up it all up, they all equal 10…I scored three goals, which is an equivalent to hitting a home run in a major league baseball game,” said Rosenfield.

The weekend events dropped the action right into the laps of spectators with the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan as backdrops to this one-of-a-kind sporting event. Following the games, Grey Goose and Titan Commercial hosted a fashion show and an after party for guests at Cuvee nightclub, on Saturday night and Crimson at Hotel Sax on Sunday. With V.I.P. suites, social tents, pop-up shops, fashion shows and more, Chicago’s elite gathered together to watch, enjoy the festivities.

A portion of the proceeds raised from this years Chicago Beach Polo World Cup, created by Polo Life’s Bruce Orosz will go towards the 100 Club of Chicago, which gives aide to the families of fallen firemen and policemen.

So, I guess it’s true, you can have fun, while doing good.