Photo Credit: Newport Polo

The Newport International Polo Series, presented by Turkish Airlines, will pit Team USA against longtime rival Argentina on Saturday, Sept. 17th, one of the original competing nations to participate in the Polo Series, and a recent fan poll favorite matchup. 

As the Autumn Equinox approaches, a perfect sunny weekend forecast and a full schedule of Newport’s biggest events including the popular Polo Series headliner, plus the Newport International Boat Show, the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, Cardines Classic, and Newport Oktoberfest, calls visitors to the destination for the weekend.

What is it about Argentina that produces such incredible players? “Dedication, hours playing and practicing at the highest levels, and learning to ride as soon as you are able to walk” says Newport Polo’s resident professional USPA Umpire this season and former professional player, Ernesto Ezcurra. Ezcurra grew up in Argentina as a second-generation polo player, with two brothers who also play professionally. “We start with the foot mallet, riding bareback and learn balance, strategy and technique until you perfect it.”

Over the past 30 seasons, USA has held its own while competing against Argentina, with a comparable win/loss record to boast.

“The rivalry has proven evenly matched throughout the decades,” comments Dan Keating, USA Captain and Polo Series founder. “This Saturday is shaping up to be just as great as previous years, as we welcome Argentina back for another match.”

Argentina first competed here in Newport during the inaugural season of the Polo Series in 1991, in a lineup of challengers that included the world’s top contenders in the sport of polo. And like Newport, Argentina has a long-standing history with the sport, whose beginnings date back nearly to the same year.

Polo was brought to Argentina in 1875 by wealthy landowners from the United Kingdom who played on cattle ranches, or “estancias”. The flat grasslands and wide-open spaces of the farms in Argentina, combined with the slick, athletic indigenous horses of the area, known as “criollos” created the perfect environment for the sport to grow. Outside of the country’s capital, Buenos Aires, local interest quickly grew in the sport, and most novices were already accomplished riders, taking to the game with ease. Soon the country was being invited to travel by boat to Europe to compete against some of the best teams in the world. The popularity of the sport has grown rapidly in Argentina, and the people of Argentina have proved to be particularly talented at the game. During the short time that polo was played as an Olympic sport, teams from Argentina competed and took home the gold on both occasions. Argentina today is the Mecca for polo aficionados.  In Buenos Aires every December, as many as 30,000 polo fans attend the Argentine Open, the world’s most prestigious polo tournament.

Advanced ticket sales and full details for USA vs. Argentina are available on www.nptpolo.com. The weekly Stella Artois ‘Best in Show’ Contest theme will be, of course, Argentina. The options are limitless with the variety of fun cultural aspects that Argentina is known for.

The weekly polo matches every Saturday are an ideal conclusion to a summer’s day, in the late afternoons of June through September, just minutes from countless other events, attractions and glittering beaches of Newport, in a manicured, timelessly picturesque setting of the International Polo Grounds at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, where weekly audiences of several thousand attendees have turned out for generations to cheer on the home team as well as the visiting challengers.

Last week’s goal-for-goal match featured Bentley vs. Rolls-Royce, in an International Polo Series highlight that had fans on pins and needles as the two teams fought for the prestigious trophy. Rolls-Royce found tooth and nail for each goal as Bentley consistently stay ahead by one until the second half. The game was tied throughout most of the second half, until Bentley hammered ahead for the win. Herb Chambers displayed an impressive stable of luxury vehicle horse power from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars New England and Bentley Boston for fans to admire during the game, and several dozen vehicles made a spectacular victory lap around the field at the finale. 

During this week’s match, the field-side festivities and activities will include the Daily Door Prize awarded to one spectator who will be entered into the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize, which includes two round trip tickets to anywhere in the world on Turkish Airlines. Prizes will also be awarded to the winner of the Stella Artois Best in Show Contest, judged the most festive display of the theme of the day (Argentina) with their picnics, tailgates, and attire.

Field-side amenities will be offered to spectators throughout the afternoon and throughout the match including classics at the Patio Bar with Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Santa Margherita Wines, and Stella Artois on tap, and popular Goslings summer cocktails, the Tropic Time Out and Bermuda Rum Swizzle along with the Dark ‘n Stormy, the official drink of the Newport International Polo Series.  

Serving up chilled wines to spectators, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Cart will be circling the field during game time. Gourmet Food Trucks will be field side offering Newport classics from Newport Chowder Company, Wally’s Hot Dog Cart, Village Greek, Amano Pizza & Gelato, Hawaiian Jims Shave Ice, and Milk Caffe. Boutique vendors includethe Pro Shop loaded with new seasonal team, .  

The day will conclude with the Newport Victory Salute as USA and Argentina make their way around the field followed by the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Toast and Trophy Presentation with player’s prizes from Providence Diamond.

To conclude the evening, spectators and players will retire to the Modern Luxury Lounge for a player’s toast and a complimentary Dark ‘n Stormy from Goslings.

The polo grounds are located at historic Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth RI. Tickets and reservations to the polo match and associated events are available online at www.nptpolo.com

Remainging Polo Schedule

Sept        17   USA vs. Argentina                               4pm    

               24   Turkish Airlines Finals                        4pm    Modern Luxury Lounge 

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.