The OSU Polo Club is working to move into a new location and still has a few days remaining for its “Philanthropete” fundraising effort.
Club President Sydney Burke told the News Press the club has been able to operate, in large part, to a generous donor who provided them space rent free.
“Since we have been on the property, our officers and club members have built several pastures, an arena, a tie rail, and small feeding pens to provide for our ponies. Our club members and officers work hard to up-keep our property. We fix downed fences, move our arena dirt by hand, fill holes in our driveway with dirt we dug on the property, dig trenches before rainstorms in the arena, replace trim and boards on our shed and arena, and so much more. Our property has no running water, so our officers must haul in water via an IBC tote tank in the back of a truck we bought to provide for our horses.” Burke told the News Press. “There is a large level of dedication put in to be able to practice and compete at our current facility.”
But, the goal is a permanent home. And while the club has been working to raise the funds, it still has a ways to go.
“While we are managing at our current facility, our club members and officers are excited to have the opportunity of a new, freshly constructed facility that will have running water and electricity. To move there, the OSU Polo Club will need to raise a total of about $250,000 for our barn, fencing, shelters, arena, water buckets, etc.,” Burke said. “After several years of hard work, the club has been able to raise $40,000 to finish fencing and clear trees impending the fence line. Our progress would not have been possible without the help of our amazing Competitive Sports advisors – Andrea Kissman, Daniel Fragel, and Dr. Rachel Mosier. They have offered endless advice, assisted us in every aspect of the project, and are always willing to go above and beyond for our club.”
Burke said her favorite thing about the club is its open membership.
“Anyone can join – all genders, riding experience, majors, students, staff, and supporters. We have some members that have ridden for years and some which have never sat on a horse before,” she said. “Our officers take pleasure in spreading the love for our sport to all who are interested.”
The club has a women’s varsity, men’s varsity, and junior varsity team. They hold tryouts every September.
“The OSU polo club has introduced me to an amazing sport that I fell in love with, a sport that I hope to one day play professionally. I have been given the opportunity to meet some amazing people and sharing this experience with new friends at the polo club is another great benefit,” Club secretary Trevan Suter said. “It is a place where you are welcomed and encouraged with much generosity. I was thrown into men’s varsity and didn’t realize how difficult it would be. That experience, though, has let me grow as a person and a polo player. It taught me to be more humble and to handle my anxiety better. The relationships I have been able to make through this club and men’s varsity are relationships that will last for a lifetime. I love this sport and this club, I hope that I will be able to stick with it for a very long time.”
Burke said the club is fortunate to have enough horses to host games.
“This would not be possible without our equine donors such as our coach, David Ragland, and Ted Moore,” she said. “Our ponies range from seven to almost 30 years old and we are thankful for all of them! We have ponies to accommodate for all riding backgrounds and they work diligently to take care of our club members and crush competitions.”
The club is funded through membership dues, clinics, merchandise and parking but sponsors are a big part of what makes the club function.
“Without our generous sponsors, our club would not be able to accomplish as much as it does. Our club goes through on average $40,000 worth of expenditures per year. OSU provides our club on average $2,000-$4,000 depending on the budgetary needs of the other clubs in the competitive sports category. The USPA generously donates $2,500 a year along with uniforms and gear for our varsity teams. When we travel with our horses, they cover gas, hay, stable fees and provide a payment for the strings we bring which is typically enough to cover our hotel and entry fee. This is very important for our teams as we love to travel to tournaments, but the cost of all amenities is constantly on the rise,” Burke said. We are thankful to the leaders in the USPA organization like Robin Sanchez, Emily Dewey, and Ali Davidge that provide our club constant advice and support. These wonderful ladies have helped to shape our club members and varsity teams into the players they are today. Our grain is currently sponsored by Big V Feeds who gives us a pallet of feed a month for our ponies. We go through roughly a bag of feed a day at our club, so their sponsorship is invaluable. Other local sponsors such as Dearingers support through monetary or product donations. We are grateful for all our sponsors and the opportunities they pave for us.”
Public support is also critical. The club opens its matches to the public. The last match of the year is April 29 at the 1398 W 32nd Ave. location.
People who want to pitch in can visit https://philanthropete.osugiving.com/ and select Polo. The club is also searchable from the OSU Giving website.