It was a beautiful Saturday for Newport vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday July 15th, part of the Newport International Polo Series, presented byTurkish Airlines. Pittsburgh, returning for their 7th consecutive matchup against Newport came ready with an all-star player lineup, ready to defend their win from last year. Spectators were excited for this spirited matchup dressed in their best silver and metallic inspired attire to show support for the Steel City and compete for Best in Show, presented by Stella Artois.
The grounds were busy with action as the Patio Bar served up classics from Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Absolut, and Stella Artois on tap. New summer cocktails from Goslings were also enjoyed: The Tropic Time Out, Bermuda Rum Swizzle, and the Dark ‘n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series. Lines trailed around every Gourmet Food Truck as they served up the classic flavors of the City by the Sea from Newport Chowder Company, Weiner Wagon, Java Jai Coffee Company, Hawaiian Jim’s Shave Ice, and Ben and Jerry’s. The Pro Shop was filled with spectators taking advantage of many new additions and browsing for the feature Pro Shop item of the week, the smocked halter top, perfect for summer.
At 5PM the opening ceremony began with the umpires escorting the teams onto the pitch for the pre-match coin toss followed by announcer William Crisp introducing the two teams of the match. In red was Newport with speedy Peter Friedman at #1, the queen of Newport Polo, Minnie Keating, at #2, Charlie Bullis at #3, and fan favorite Oskar Monzon at #4 anchoring the Newport team. Wearing silver and yellow was Pittsburgh with young Antonio Villamil at #1, Alex Burkland at #2, Juan Villamil at #3, and team captain Justin Powers at #4. Following the team introductions the Star Spangled Banner was played and the match began.
The match began with Pittsburgh taking the first two goals, one from Antonio Villamil and one from Powers to secure an early lead.Newport countered back as Monzon scored for the City by the Sea, but Antionio Villamil scored again to end the first chukker 3-1. While Pittsburgh took a quick lead, Newport didn’t hold back in the second chukker. Keating scored one goal, alongside two more goals from both Bullis and Monzon, bringing the score up to 6-3. Pittsburgh fought back with Juan Villamil scoring first in the third chukker, but Monzon of Newport answered with two more goals. Antionio Villamil scored his third goal of the game to try and close in on Newport’s lead. Monzon impressively scored his third goal of the chukker to close things out before half-time, Newport leading 9-5.
Spectators flooded the field at half-time for the traditional divot stomp to help level out the field and prime things for the players and ponies in the second half of the match. The Vendor Village was bustling as patrons checked out Cutco Cutlery and Woof Woof Pet Boutique and Biscuit Bar in addition to a wide selection of food trucks. In the Pro Shop patrons shopped new arrivals and dropped of their raffle tickets in hopes of winning a prize from Veuve Cliquot and a chance to win the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize of two business class tickets to anywhere in the world on Turkish Airlines.
Play resumed with the fourth chukker, an exciting one for Pittsburgh as Antionio Villamil, Alex Burkland, and Juan Villamil all scored to close in on Newport’s lead ending the chukker 9-8. Before the start of the fourth chukker, the judges announced the winner of the Stella Artois Best in Show contest and awarded the winning tailgate with a gift from Stella Artois. Newport dominated in the fifth chukker with brilliant goals from Keating, Bullis, and Monzon to widen their lead, ending the chukker 12-8. In the sixth and final chukker, Burkland of Pittsburgh scored in attempt to catch up, but Newport’s strong team couldn’t be stopped. Bullis scored another two goals, securing Newport’s win with a final score of 14-8.
After the match, the teams from Newport and Pittsburgh rode around the field for a victory lap, tradition since 2003 and now emulated by polo clubs all around the world. Following the Newport Victory Salute was the Veuve Cliquot Trophy Presentation where the US City Series Perpetual Cup was presented to Newport by Andy Ross, Managing Director of the Brenton Hotel, along with individual player’s trophies from Providence Diamond. After the celebration, players and spectators made their way to the Modern Luxury Lounge for a toast and complimentary drink from Goslings.
Check out photos from the match here!
Live audiences can enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 32 years to witness the timeless sport unfold on the manicured, emerald green at Glen Farm, home of the Polo Series, in a classic exhibition of horsemanship and valor, with host, the Newport Polo Club, where the home team – Newport/USA – meets challengers each season from around the world as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport’s unique traditions & renowned attractions.
The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September. The schedule of teams is subject to change without notice, as per RI State mandates and US travel bans which may impact travel and Adult Sports. Stay current with the 2023 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.
The Polo Grounds’ favorable proximity to the shores of the island’s Sakonnet east passage provides reliably cool coastal effects, moderating afternoon temperatures and providing a dependable breeze for the late afternoon polo matches all summer. Minutes from the bustling Newport waterfront, the International Polo Grounds are located on the acreage of Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of a pre-colonial settlement from the 1600’s that became the Town of Portsmouth’s original gentlemen’s farm, an 800-acre manorial estate established during a Gilded Age movement of retreat from the high life into pastoral country acres, to become the future home of polo in the next century. Its classical 19th-century stone barns and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by Polo Series founder, Dan Keating in the early 1990’s and continue to thrive as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.
The Newport International Polo Series is proud to name its 2023 sponsors including Brenton Hotel, BD, TD Bank, Turkish Airlines, Modern Luxury Boston, Herb Chambers Exotics, Vanderbilt International Properties, Hotel Viking, The Vanderbilt, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport Life, Providence Diamond, Veuve Clicquot, ABSOLUT, Clarke Cooke House, CCE Golf Cars, BMW of Newport, Atria Senior Living, Northwestern Mutual, Charles Schwab, Insperity, AAA Northeast | Viking, A-1 Roofing, US Polo Assn, Stella Artois, Visit Jamaica, Goslings, ROCKSTAR Limo, and Classical 95.9 WCRI; and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter Tours, The Cocktail Guru, Newport Jaguar Tours, Picnic Charters, Island Adventures, On Watch Sailing, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Vineyards, Newport Mansions, Island Surf and Sport, Newport Picnic Co. and Audrain Automobile Museum.
“Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.
This is the 32nd season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 36 nations including, Ukraine, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, and Switzerland.
Gilded Age Legacy. Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th-century b.c. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for nearly 2500 years, steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport’s summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America’s first polo club in 1876. A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.