Justin Klentner is the classic self-made man, the son of a European immigrant who disembarked in the U.S. during World War II and worked at a stable, later becoming an equine trainer. In Michigan Justin learned to ride at two years old, and was always close to horses. “Around 18 I gave up showing professionally and went to university,” Klentner told CLICKPOLOUSA. “I worked as a fashion model for 10 years and used that money to start buying houses (as the CEO of Western Built Construction, a California based company). Then, as they say, the rest is history.”

Where does your bond with horses come from?

“It’s something my dad gave to me. I like difficult projects. I love horses with a problem that’s able to be fixed and then you have an amazing animal.”

How did you come into polo?

“I began playing polo in 2005. I decided to play at a higher level and at first played on other teams such as Tuscany Oaks, Grants Farm and Pioccio. Later I wanted my own operation and to play with my sons, Luke and Jake.”

How long have you owned your own team?

“We have had our own team for six years and we have won many 4- to 12-goal tournaments, some of them playing with one or both of my kids. Jake is 18 years old and he is a member of Team USPA. My youngest son Luke is 16. It’s great to be with them on the field. It’s all coming together.”

Most Valuable Player Luke Klentner pictured with father Justin Klentner, presented by Linda Walker.
Most Valuable Player Luke Klentner pictured with father Justin Klentner, presented by Linda Walker. ©David Lominska

“In 2020 we plan on playing the U.S. Open Polo Championship® in Florida, however we have not selected a team yet.”  – Justin Klentner

What does it feel like sharing a team with your sons?

“I love the tradition of family and polo. I am trying to lay the foundation for a future of Klentner Ranch polo. Winning with my sons is a thousand times better!”

What’s your project for the team?

“We will keep playing in California for the rest of 2018 season and into 2019. In 2020 we plan on playing the U.S. Open Polo Championship® in Florida, however we have not selected a team yet. We have a stable full of guys we enjoy playing with and pretty much keep it in the family. We have been playing with Jesse Bray, Santi Wulff and the Obregón brothers so there are a lot of choices. We really like their families and we’re all about the family.”

Klentner Ranch's Luke Klentner carries the ball down field.
Klentner Ranch’s Luke Klentner carries the ball down field. ©David Lominska

The Pacific Coast Intra-Circuit Cup is the last tournament of the 12-goal season at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California. The competition had a clear, dominant team in the preliminary stage: Novis Insurance (Ivan Weiss, Hilario Figueras, Peke González and Santi Trotz). However, the team of the Slovakian patron had trouble in the final, played last Sunday. Klentner Ranch (Luke Klentner, Justin Klentner, Jesse Bray and Santi Wulff) was able to react in time and take the title, 12-11. Novis Insurance started strong, taking a 3-0 lead in the first chukker and closing 6-3 at the end of the second. However, Klentner Ranch made a comeback in the third, scoring four goals and taking a one goal lead, 7-6.

The blues then extended their lead in the following minutes, 10-7. Novis Insurance reacted and managed to equalize at 10 at the start of the sixth and final chukker. After trading goals once more, the one to score the winning goal was Wulff, just seconds before the end of the match. Luke Klentner was named the Most Valuable Player and Poncho, owned by Costi Caset and played by Peke González, won the Best Playing Pony blanket.