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Chicago Beach Polo | News Chicago Beach Polo :: July 22, 2011 Chicago Beach Polo Kick-Off Event Read More >>

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Beach Polo to take Chicago by Storm

By Alex Webbe

Polo will be returning to downtown Chicago in a big way this fall with the arrival of the 2011 Chicago Beach Polo World Cup.  Slated to take place on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd, the game of beach polo will take place on North Avenue Beach directly in front of the Castaways Bar and Grill.  The two-story lakeside structure will be transformed for the weekend to cater to the polo crowd as VIP Suites and social tents adorn the sandy beach in anticipation of some of the most exciting polo action seen in Chicago in years.

The announcement of the Grey Goose Vodka title sponsorship was enthusiastically received by a crowd of over 100 select guests and city dignitaries Wednesday night at North LaSalle Street’s authentic Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao.

“We’ve been a sponsor of the Miami Beach Polo World Cup for the past couple of years,” said Fogo de Chao’s Corporate Manager Andrew Feldmann.  “It’s going to be a unique and exciting event,” he added, “and I know Chicago is going to love it.”

Beach Polo is a team sport and close variant of arena polo. A game of beach polo consists of two three-player teams as opposed to the usual four-player teams in field polo. A game consists of four seven minute periods of play, called chukkers. The game is played in an enclosed sand arena with sideboards of approximately four feet in height, designed to keep the ball in play.

The beach arena will be bordered by the Castaways Bar and Grill on the west and Lake Michigan on the east, and with the condensed size of the playing arena (approximately 100 yards by 50 yards, one tenth the size of a polo field) the game will drop the action right into the laps of the spectators.

“This year we attracted over 15,000 spectators to the Miami Beach tournament,” said Bruce Orosz, the creator of the Florida beach polo event, “and we expect the reception in Chicago to be every bit as enthusiastic.”

Guests at the Wednesday night pre-event kick-off party were welcomed by four of the women players from this year’s event in boots, “whites”, and polo jerseys, and treated to platters of delicious cuts of meat and selections from a gourmet salad bar.  Selections of wine and cocktails complimented the evening’s beach polo reception as various speakers took the stage to rally the crowd around Chicago’s latest polo offering.

Tracing its polo roots back to June 4, 1876, about three weeks before General George Armstrong Custer’s confrontation with the Sioux Indians at Little Big Horn, Chicago’s polo history is steeped in tradition, and looks to keep adding to that rich history with the inaugural beach polo tournament this fall.

“I’ve played polo all over the world,” said former 6-goal world class player David Wigdahl, “and after walking the location of the beach polo event, I can’t think of anything more exciting than playing on the shores of Lake Michigan in front of a throng of local spectators.”

A Chicago area local, 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 team in this fall’s beach polo tournament.

“We’re expecting the Chicago Polo world Cup to take its rightful place in the lineup of beach polo world Cup venues that include competitions in Australia, India, England, Italy, Argentina, Germany, France, Spain and Thailand,” said event co-producer Lou Vasta.

For ticketing, schedule and other information about the Grey Goose Chicago Beach Polo World Cup please visit www.ChicagoBeachPolo.com. The exciting weekend of sport will include a player introduction press conference, beach polo games on Saturday and Sunday as well as social events throughout the weekend.

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