Black Diamond Polo Club (BDPC) is situated in a picturesque setting in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about a 30-minute drive Southwest of Calgary, Alberta in Millarville, Alberta. The founder, the late Rob Peters, had the vision to create a club with a welcoming atmosphere and to make polo more accessible to those who thought it was beyond their reach. With a strong fun and family focus, sounds of laughter and enjoyment have been heard across the field during club chukkers since its inception in 1999.
Along with being a neighbor to nearby Calgary Polo Club (Okotoks, Alberta), BDPC is an integral club in the Western Canadian polo circuit. Ruth Peters (Rob Peters’ widow) has continued with the same vision and passion for the sport, ensuring the focus is on fun. Members and guests often enjoy a BBQ on the clubhouse deck after practices or partake in other fun social events. The season starts in late May and runs through the middle of September.
BDPC season starts in late May and runs though the middle of September. ©Black Diamond Polo Club
Black Diamond Land & Cattle is home to Black Diamond Polo Club. As well as being a working cattle ranch, they also host cattle penning, jumping, dressage and general horse boarding. Chukkers take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and since many of the players board their horses right near the polo field, polo activity happens most days of the week. Other players transport their horses in from their nearby ranches. The club currently has one irrigated field, a clubhouse, many paddocks for boarding and a track for exercising horses.
The ranch also has many natural trails where members often go on trail rides. “We are less than an hour to the mountains, and only an hour and half to world famous Banff National Park. Like many clubs, we strive to increase membership, and as that happens, we have the opportunity to expand by adding a stick-and-ball field, or a second playing field in an adjacent area. The support we receive from USPA towards funding projects makes a tremendous difference to a small club like ours,” remarked Dan Brewin, President of Black Diamond Polo Club.
THE SEASON AT BDPC
Polo at Black Diamond is low-goal, with levels ranging from 0-goal to 4-goal. Some club members bring in help for grooming and training horses and perhaps to play during tournaments. BDPC has hosted a National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) qualifier each year since 2018, bringing in youth players from across Western Canada, and participates as a co-host or organizer for the annual “East meets West” youth polo development event that is sponsored by Polo Canada. Additionally, for many years BDPC, in conjunction with nearby Calgary Polo Club, co-hosts a Polo Canada Tournament that is scheduled to be synergistic with other local polo tournaments.
The premier event of the year is the Bill Leslie/Loretta Thompson Memorial polo tournament held during the long weekend of September (September 2-4 this year). Teams or individual players from other clubs in the circuit will travel to BDPC for the event, which often involves a total of 10 teams in three different levels of play.
BDPC is home to a fun spectator scene, with plenty of friends and family on the sidelines. ©Jessica Schneider
CLUB MANAGER DAN BREWIN’S TAKE ON BDPC
“Stephen Cobb presided over BDPC for nearly 20 years until 2019, when I took over. Even though I am an Albertan who grew up on a farm and cattle ranch, it was well into my adult years when I started playing polo at the Springfield Polo Club in 2004, while living near Winnipeg. As with many polo families, a tremendous amount of family support makes polo possible. The family friendships we have made across Canada allows for extended polo trips in the summer. As a family, we have traveled to each of the clubs across Western Canada and participated in their respective tournaments. We have also been to Twin Cities near Minneapolis, Big Horn, Wyoming, and Spokane, Washington, and of course Argentina to experience countless games and beautiful clubs.
Our daughter Mackenzie who also plays and has spent two winters in New Zealand. We, as many polo families, enjoy the time spent together through the sport. Our other two children who do not play are often seen at the club in support and staying connected to friends made throughout the years. I can’t speak enough about the support of my wife and other non-playing spouses, who at the blink of an eye are able to whip up a meal for a polo visitor passing through. Every club I’ve been to has slightly different approaches to tackling different situations.
Black Diamond Land & Cattle is home to Black Diamond Polo Club. As well as being a working cattle ranch, they also host cattle penning, jumping, dressage and general horse boarding. ©Black Diamond Polo Club
I try to capture best practices and have conversations with our membership to see if we can incorporate them at our home club. During our winter months, I livestream many games in Florida, enjoying the horses and players’ ability as well as taking notes to keep my umpiring skills finely tuned. For sure it is an objective of mine to be a spectator in Florida for an entire season. Other places on the bucket list include Sotogrande, Spain, and New Zealand.
Polo is an exhilarating experience. There is nothing more exciting than a high-goal game of polo professionals playing on the best horses in the game. For that to be ongoing, it requires a continuous effort to develop new players, horses and umpires. That priority of youth development is felt by most in our circuit.
The circuit we play in ensures the youth games are highlighted and often scheduled into the primetime slot of the day with the most fans and best prizes. For me personally, I’ll continue to play for the foreseeable future. I truly enjoy making great polo horses and the feeling of accomplishment when a connection is made with a great mount.
BDPC is a small club playing low-goal polo. Regardless, we have hosted players and teams from all over the world. I truly believe our accessibility, fun environment and fantastic setting are all drivers to keep that happening. Please reach out and come visit!”