Polo club hosts president’s cup this weekend

Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club, courtesy photo.

There’s still time to check out the “sport of kings” at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. Continuing its 94th season, this Sunday is the United States Polo Association President’s Cup. The Wickenden Cup, held in honor of Ernest Wickenden, the very first local “star” polo player, will be on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. All games take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the 3300 Via Real in Carpinteria. General admission is $10 and kids under 12 are always admitted free.

Fans are also encouraged to come out on Saturdays for the next three weekends to see the teams in competition between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Although the announcer isn’t there to give viewers a blow-by-blow account, it’s still an exhilarating sport to watch.

Polo is one of the oldest sports in the world, with its beginnings in either China or Persia nearly 6,000 years ago. Each team is made up of four players, who each have six horses for just one game, so they have a fresh horse for each seven-minute “chukker.”

While watching the horses perform is exciting, the highlight for many is the Sunday half-time “Champagne Divot Stomp” where patrons are welcomed onto the field for a complimentary glass of champagne, or sparkling cider, while helping to push the divots from the horses hooves back in place on the field.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on September 30, 2004.

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