Henry Trione’s friends, family and fellow polo fans spoke his name often Sunday at Santa Rosa’s first polo tournament held in his honor.
“We can feel Henry’s warmth and spirit here today,” said Vic Trione, son of the late philanthropist and community leader.
“There is a stately elegance mixed with country casualness,” said Richard McDaniel of Santa Rosa, watching the polo matches from a picnic table under a shady tree at the Wild Oak Saddle Club at the Oakmont retirement community.
Four teams, each with four riders and 16 horses that were rotated in and out of the action on the field as needed, played two matches. Players ranged in age from 15 to 69, and included local and regional polo enthusiasts as well as professional polo players from Argentina.
“Polo is a big sport in Argentina; not as big as soccer, but still big,” said 27-year-old Ignacio Deltour, a professional polo player from the Buenos Aires area.
The atmosphere was quiet, with some two dozen spectators providing a steady stream of informed commentary but not a lot of loud cheering.
“That’s what is so nice about this polo club,” said Julia Graves, president of the Wine Country Polo Club. “It’s low-key here, but the polo is very good.”
If the mood on the sidelines was casual, the action on the field was not. The most compelling sounds of the day were the pounding of horses’ hooves and the sharp smack of mallets striking the ball.
“This is probably the highest level of polo we’ve seen on this field,” said Paul Griffin, manager and co-president of the Wine Country Polo Club, the event’s sponsor. The Oakmont field was established by Henry Trione more than four decades ago.
Organizers presented the winners with a silver trophy cup in Henry Trione’s name, and there was champagne, but mostly the Henry F. Trione Memorial Polo Tournament was a relaxed affair, with almost as many competitors as spectators attending the event.
At the end of the day, the San Francisco team Polo SF had beaten STG Group of Santa Rosa 5 to 4 in the final match, with Queenstown Polo of Sonoma besting Yolo Polo of Sacramento by 4 to 3 in the opening match, but the day was really about remembering Henry Trione, who died in February at the age of 94.
Trione’s widow, Eileen, and son, Vic, presented the Polo SF team with the new tournament’s perpetual trophy, to be kept at the Wild Oak Saddle Club.
“Today is a fond tribute and remembrance of Henry,” said Vic Trione. “One of his true passions was polo.”
You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @danarts.