Date: Friday, August 2, 2002
As the oldest polo club in America, and winner of the first polo match in America, the Newport Polo Club’s 125th Anniversary Jubilee celebrating The Birth of Polo in America culminated on Aug 2 & 3 with the Black & White Ball at Astor’s Beechwood Mansion in Newport and a commemorative polo match between Newport and Buffalo, the two original clubs that faced off in the first polo match in America in August of 1877.
On Friday, August 2nd the Black & White Ball benefiting the Polo Education Foundation was attended by 190 guests in creative black tie at Astor’s Beechwood mansion on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, the former home of Caroline Astor, the undisputed “Queen of American Society” who made Newport the social center of the Gilded Age. The successful fund-raiser achieved its targeted revenue goals, as guests enjoyed a live salsa band, gaming casino, silent auction, and hot air balloon glow on the lovely summer evening from the mansion’s veranda overlooking the sea.
Then on Saturday, August 3rd the Newport Polo Club hosted a commemorative polo match featuring the Newport Polo Club against a team from Buffalo, NY. The match was held on the exhibition polo field at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, RI, home the annual Newport International Polo Series. A “best hat” contest, sponsored by Dansk of Newport and Edna Mae’s Millenary and Bridal Studio of Newport, was conducted during the match for participating spectators, resulting in a tie between Lynn Kaye of Boston and Mary Weaver Rose of Portsmouth. The match was followed by a trophy presentation and champagne toast, won by the Newport team with a final score of 11-9, and Best Playing Pony awarded to Juliet owned by Gene Goldstein. An authentic New England lobster clambake for over 200 guests concluded the day’s events.
The first official interclub polo match in the history of polo in the Americas began with a challenge proffered by the predecessors of the Newport Polo Club, known as the Westchester Polo Club, and was accepted by a newly formed club from Buffalo, NY in August of 1877. Buffalo was soundly defeated in the match that year. Newport became the international capital for polo until the outbreak of WWI. Afterward, there was some club polo played at Glen Farm in the 1950s, but international polo did not return to Newport until 1991 when Dan Keating started the Newport International series. Over the last ten years, Keating has invited over twenty countries to compete at Newport.
The Newport Polo Club remains registered with the United States Polo Association under the historic Westchester name. The Newport Polo Club has engaged the rapt attention of polo clubs across the nation and around the world during the year-long celebration, by hosting and participating in many exciting polo events here and abroad, with the finale in Newport this season. In addition to the Black & White Ball and commemorative polo match, the polo series itself is featuring new international challengers, as well as crowd-favorites from the past 10 years for the Jubilee. Matches are held every Saturday at 5PM (4PM in September) at Glen Farm, 715 East Main Road in Portsmouth, RI.
The Polo Education Foundation is a non-profit 501c organization registered in Rhode Island with a mission of supporting and developing programs surrounding the sport of polo. All proceeds from fundraising activities are used for educational programs currently focused on Interscholastic and Intercollegiate mentoring programs.