Polo Players Edition

OCT 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1029347

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 67

10 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Pro Polo League players from around the world. Complete with a traditional Hawaiian opening ceremony, the regional polo experience is unrivaled. "Coming here gives players a unique opportunity to play polo," Hoe said. "Over the years we've had great exposure to a lot of our renowned polo families from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, England and Ireland, so we've developed a great international list of players and fans." Frequented by internationally recognized Hawaii Polo Life ambassadors and professional players such as Mariano Gracida and Pamela Flanagan, HPC hosts special events on Saturdays, which attract diverse players to Hawaii's shores a few times per year. Fusing the traditions of Sunday polo with aspects of Hawaiian heritage, HPC creates culturally immersive experiences for its guests truly distinct from mainland clubs. "Every year on opening day of the season we have a traditional Hawaiian blessing and chant given by a Kahuna (shaman)," HPC club manager and Hawaiian native, Ynyr Khai Agon, said. "The blessing is over the horses, players, families, friends, and the land for a safe season. It's a very moving ceremony that has deep cultural roots for us here." Offering both covered clubhouse seating overlooking the winners' circle or casual tailgating, HPC takes pride in providing a family-friendly day of polo action for an affordable price. Multiple aspects of authentic island life are incorporated throughout the club's operations, ranging from performances by Hawaiian bands and colorful hula dancers to the playing of the beloved state song, Hawaii Pono'i, to open games. An ideal setting for a leisurely afternoon, HPC continues to entertain well after the game finishes with spectators lingering to play volleyball, football or horse shoes and listen to music as the sun sets. Situated in one of the largest military hubs in the United States, HPC's location creates the ideal environment to increase the percentage of military players. "Our former Circuit Governor Chris Dawson, myself, Mark Gillespie and a handful of others approached the USPA about 10 years ago and convinced the board of governors to create an Armed Forces Committee," Hoe explained. "Each year since we've gained a little bit more and are able to do increasingly more to reengage the military with its history and culture of horsemanship. "I believe we have had some great successes in bringing young soldiers, both male and female, into the equine arena and the polo world, but we will always strive for more." Given the club's proximity to many active and retired military members, HPC leadership ensures that its American heroes always feel appreciated by granting them free entrance to games. "From day one we adopted a policy, which recognizes and honors all of the service men and women and their families as our special guests," said Hoe. Propelling the sport forward both on the field and from the sidelines, HPC is reaching out in all directions to engage potential players both locally and internationally. Since returning to Hawaii in 2011 to rejoin the same club where he got his start in polo as a teenager, Agon has taken on the joint responsibilities of club operations director and polo school manager, obtaining his CPI certification in 2016. Traveling across the mainland from California to Florida over the course of his 25-year polo career, Agon played and worked for some very influential players in the polo industry before shifting his focus to leadership at HPC. "I do have some adults in my polo school program, but most recently my focus has been on the kids," Agon said. On Wednesdays and Saturdays Agon works with eight to nine kids on the field Club President Allen Hoe helped convince the USPA to create an Armed Forces Committee. The club recognizes and honors all service men and women and their families as guests. Mariano Gracida, far right, is a Hawaii Polo Life ambassador and frequents the club. DARRYL OUMI/GETTY IMAGES FOR HAWAII POLO PRODUCTIONS

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