POLO STAR: Kris Kampsen

By Nanette Wiser

Since he was old enough to walk, Kris Kampsen has been an equestrian.  Kris’ childhood passion has taken him from riding ponies to one of the leading polo players in America. 

Born in Tampa, Kris started playing at the Tampa Bay Polo Club and at the young age of 15 turned professional.  By the time he was 17 he had attained a 3-goal handicap.  Within another year he was rated at 4 goals, and at the age of 19 he carried a 5-goal handicap, at 21 he achieved his 6-goal handicap outdoors and was among the top 1% of the American players. Kris is currently handicapped at 9 goals Arena. 

He rotates riding three horses and says that his relationship with them “allows me to focus on the game.  I don’t have to worry about the riding.”  Crucial to his success are his horses and the grooms that care for them as well as “my aggressiveness on the field.”  Like the Bucs’ Tom Brady, Kampsen says you have “to be heads up and know where everyone is at all times and where they are going.  You can’t win games without anticipation.”

Standing at 6’5” and known for his physical and extremely fast playing style, he stands out on the polo field.  Kampsen credits his rise to top of the game to his great horses, many of which he acquired from his lifelong friend Dardo Iglesias.  Kris has had the opportunity to compete all over the world – United States, South America, Europe, and Canada and Mexico.  His notable victories include the East Coast Open, Pacific Coast Open, North America Cup, The U.S. Arena Open (three times consecutively), the Herbie Penell, Igleheart Cup and the Joe Barry Memorial.

When not playing polo, Kampsen enjoys golf, the beach and spending time with his two sons, wife and dogs in Wellington.

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