The end of July marks the halfway point for most summer clubs and in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, the newly established Chicago Polo Association (CPA) has had a whirlwind of activity. The CPA, a collective, cooperative effort of six USPA Member Clubs, 14 Fields and Facilities, and two highly-successful polo schools has had 71 unique participants partake in various levels from polo school all the way up to 12-goal match games at the historic Oak Brook Polo Club (Oak Brook, Illinois). Highlights of the summer so far for CPA have been a successful weekend National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) Qualifier, the Chicago Women’s Tournament and the annual Seniors Tournament.
The CPA board is committed to growing and developing the sport of polo in the greater Chicagoland area and establish CPA as a regional asset for the Central Circuit with guidance and support of the USPA and strategic execution by Executive Director Pam Mudra. Bob McMurtry, Central Circuit Governor and member of the Chicago Polo Community, has been involved with the cultivation of the CPA concept from day one and summaries the success of the Association below:
“The first season for the Chicago Polo Association (CPA) has been a huge success. We are gaining momentum and increasing participation at all levels of polo. As you can see from our metrics, we have completed several polo schools, multiple four-chukker coaching tournaments, several six-chukker 6-goal tournaments, several 12-goal match games, a two-day women’s tournament, a NYTS tournament and a youth tournament. Players from the six USPA member clubs are participating at all levels with greater cross club interaction than in the past. Our out of state participation in these events has also increased. The CPA is off to a great start and we expect it to continue to grow, reestablishing Chicago as the central hub of polo in the USA.”
A veteran of polo management, Pam Mudra has been working diligently to continue to promote Association events and tournaments to grow the sport in Chicago and the effort has been well-received; summarized by local polo player Tracy Riff. “It’s been an enjoyable season for my family and me. I played across four different clubs under the CPA umbrella at a variety of events including 4-goal, 6-goal, a ladies’ tournament and my kids got a chance to play in the junior tournament. Pam keeps everyone well informed about the various events and opportunities each week and includes everyone from all the different clubs. Thank you Pam!”
Two metrics that highlight the activity of CPA and establishing CPA as a hub for polo in the Midwest are “Out of Town” participation (20% of CPA participants are registered with non-CPA Central Circuit Clubs and an additional 21% of CPA participants are registered with non-Central Circuit USPA Clubs), and the development of new players, 73% of participants have joined the USPA since 2001; Joining between 2001-2010: 28% – Joining between 2011-2018: 45%. CPA participants who have joined the USPA in the last three years make up 23% of the total participants.
Moving into the second half of the summer and into the fall, the CPA will focus on continuing to build on the momentum established from the launch of the Association and look to develop two key components of their program: youth polo and arena polo with the goal of establishing a strong Intercollegiate/Interscholastic presence in Chicago and developing a regional arena series similar to the Pacific Coast Arena League (PCAL) and the Texas Arena League; both of which have been successful at developing polo through regional efforts.
For more information about the CPA please contact Pam Mudra by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are part of a polo community that would benefit from launching a regional, cooperative association and would like to continue the conversation please contact Director of Club Development, Justin Powers at (330) 692-0062.