Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Season's End is Near But Summer is Already Here!

It was a HOT one this past Sunday and we aren't just talking about the weather. Duck Hill Farms certainly turned up the heat on their opponents Cadena, defeating them 13-10. Duck Hill held the lead throughout the game although Cadena made a great effort towards the end for a comeback. For this 8 goal tournament, Randy Rizor has replaced Bill Patterson, who joins John Gobin, Marcus Onetto, and Bob Stanton on the team. Cadena patron, Nancy Glober joins us from Texas and her squad is comprised of Taylor Bostwick Freeman, Nicholas Snow, and Will Tankard. All the fellas on Cadena are also members of Team USA, a program sponsored by the United States Polo Association.

According to the USPA's website, "The Team USA concept was established by the Association to identify talented young American players and to provide them with medium-and high-goal playing opportunities." In January 2010, 24 players were selected from 73 applicants. This spring, Aiken has been fortunate enough to have quite a few of these players visiting and playing at our local polo clubs, such as, Devon Dailey, Cristina Fernandez, Carlitos Galindo, Nicholai Galindo, Nicholas Morrison, and obviously the players mentioned above on the Cadena team. If you get a chance to see these talented players, remember you could be watching one of polo's future 10-goalers!

Now, onto Sunday's sidelines highlights! You may have noticed a new member of the CMP crew, joining us for our usual stroll around the field. That cute little pup you saw is named Niko and is owned by CMP gal Jessica. Niko made friends with everyone at the game, being sure to stop at every spot to get some attention from all the fans! When she stopped in front of Steve and Cindy Matheson's spot, it was their matching red shoes that stood out and gained them the Best Dressed award sponsored by Equine Divine! It was the first time we have given the award to a couple, so hopefully we don't cause any disputes over how to use their gift certificate!

If it weren't for their previous win for Best Tailgate earlier this season, we would have awarded it to Dan and Gayle Elliott for the fan in their backseat. Kudos to those Sunday regulars for that great idea to help stay cool! The winners of this week's Best Tailgate Spot were also doing a good job of staying cool with their own tent and lots of cold drinks! If you are a fan of Takosushi, you would recognize winner, Kaya Hagen, who works at the downtown restaurant. Kaya and her husband Robbie received a gift certificate to The Restaurant at the Willcox as their prize.

At half time, it was a little gal named Tessie who took the Aiken Polo Club hat prize for Best Divot Stomper. She must have gotten some tips from her sister, who was last week's winner and sporting her own APC ball cap. Now the girls have matching hats to show off together when it's divot stomping time! To beat the heat and try to catch a breeze, the CMP ladies spent the second half of the game in the announcer stand. Bob Besley was cracking jokes as usual while Bob Donahey found the corner of the booth with all the shade to take over. He was happy to share the space once we arrived...I imagine we must have looked a hot mess for him to take such pity on us! The CMP girls try to stay neutral when cheering for teams, but it was hard not to give a few extra shouts for Cadena with one of their biggest cheerleaders, Amanda Hersey, hanging out in the stand with us. [Check out this week's Spotted to see where she and her "MVP" Nick Snow headed post polo!]

Hopefully this Sunday's game will be a bit cooler and a bit breezier! We will be at Whitney Field at 3PM and hope to see you there! So, wear your Sunday polo best, bring your pretty pooches, and spruce up your spots because we will have a pocket full of prizes to give out! Only a few Sundays are left in the spring season, but you can still sign up for an Aiken Polo Club social membership to get a jump start on fall polo! Visit the Aiken Polo Club website for more details on memberships!

Until next time, Marco...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Under the Big Top for the Aiken Cup Finals

What a beautiful day for a Finals Sunday at Powderhouse Field! Duck Hill Farms and Casa Azul/C-Spear took the field to battle it out for the Aiken Cup! At the end of the day, Casa Azul/C-Spear came out on top! As we went to do our usual rounds, tailgate spots were missing in action. It seems the hospitality tent was the place to be this past Sunday! As a matter of fact, all of our prize winners this week were found underneath the big top.

More than one fan gave us a helping hand looking for our "Polo Pooch of the Day." It seemed inevitable that we would have to choose Kiazi Marie, a 12 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback, since she was such a fan favorite. She belongs to Kathy Roberts and Chuck Wright, who are new members to the Aiken Polo Club! A fun fact we learned was that Kiazi's name means "sweet potato" in Swahili, which they chose because her fur was the same shade orange as the inside of a sweet potato when she was a puppy. Kathy and Chuck were quite happy with the prize treats from Bone-i-Fide Bakery since they said they were already loyal customers of the store!

If you have seen Mary Pimsner lately, you have probably noticed her new arm accessories. Bless her heart, but she is sporting two arm casts on each arm after falling off of a horse. However, there was no "horsing around" when it came to picking our "Best Dressed" winner this week. Mary was sporting a bright green halter sundress and a straw John Deere cowboy hat. She complained that her bright pink cast didn't match, but we told her it fit perfectly with the Best Dressed award, which was sponsored by PINK Clothing Company this week.

Since there were no tailgate spots to contend for our usual "Best Tailgate" award, we decided to find the table inside the tent that was having the most fun. It didn't take us long to spot Lori and Sean O'Conner and their friends, laughing and enjoying the day. All were dressed to impress and making good use of the tent's open bar! We even had to wait on a few guys before we took the group picture because they were getting a refill! Don't forget, everyone can enjoy the hospitality tent each Sunday for $20 at the gate, which includes game entry, food and beverages in the tent and all the fun you can stand! If you're a member of Aiken Polo Club, the tent is free for you! So, if you haven't experienced a Sunday game at the tent, you only have a few more Sundays this spring to do so!

Everyone was having such a great time at the tent, it was hard to get anyone out to stomp divots at half time. There were even some people who made it out to the field, but not to stomp divots. Justin Pimsner and his son played a bit of soccer instead of stomping...and Justin kept asking us why he couldn't win. You can't be the #1 Divot Stomper when you aren't stomping divots! It was Geoff Ellis, owner of the Willcox hotel, that saved the day. He was all over the field, jumping all over those divots. He even let me in on his secret to stomping, saying, "Everybody forgets the area right in front of the goals. That's where the most action happens, so I always make sure to get those divots taken care of." Good advice from Geoff, who received an Aiken Polo Club ball cap as his reward!

This week is the start of the last 8 goal tournament for Aiken Polo Club this spring. Check out the APC website: http://www.aikenpoloclub.org/ or http://www.aikenpoloinfo.com/ for game information and team rosters! We will keep you posted on this Sunday's game location. Be sure to check the "Upcoming Events and News" section before this Sunday's game, so you'll be in the know on where to go!

Until next time, Marco...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Duck, duck....Win!

For a game so full of penalties, it only seems right that the winning goal be scored by a penalty shot! John Gobin of Duck Hill Farms scored the winning goal for his team, beating Acme Rockets 13-12. It was a close game all the way through and both teams put in a tremendous effort this past Sunday to bring the fans an exciting match from the very first goal that was scored by the Rockets under 15 seconds into the first chukker!

Quite a treat for everyone's favorite announcer, Bob Besley, was the attendance of his family from Columbia! As we went over to say hello, we knew there was no doubt who was winning the Best Tailgate award. The spot was overflowing with 15 or so members of the Besley family all under a large white tent, complete with a hanging flower basket and table floral arrangements. You should have seen their table spread which featured fried chicken, strawberry cupcakes, veggie & cheese trays, and much more...not to mention those three large coolers iced down with all your beverage needs! They said they couldn't wait to come visit again to use their prize, which was a gift certificate to The Restaurant at the Willcox!

Looking like the very essence of spring in her pink, green, and white sundress, Stephanie Ferrante was our winner for the Best Dressed award! It was also her birthday (which can help you win our awards because we love helping people celebrate their birthdays!) As our winner, Stephanie will be treating herself with a gift certificate to Equine Divine. Speaking of divine, let's talk about the mouth watering food Dan Bullington was serving up in the hospitality tent. Bob and I both had a chance to sample the homemade Waldorf summer chicken salad and as Bob said, it was "lip smacking good!" [You can get your tickets for the hospitality tent each Sunday at the gate for $20 which includes your entry to the game. Free food and drinks and a shady spot to watch the action! Or become a social member of Aiken Polo Club and get free admission to the tent every Sunday, included in your membership fees!]

Our Polo Pooch of the Day winner was Baby Lou, who happens to be dog buddies with a previous winner, one of our favorite Jack Russells, Lucy. This week, the CMP gals provided the prize with a chew toy and some beefy snacks. Lucy was quick to make use of the toy, but maybe Baby Lou will share her yum yums too! While we were busy with the doggies, Bob was choosing Kat Moore as the Best Divot Stomper during halftime! She received a hat from Aiken Polo Club, which was a bit big for her yet she wore it proudly for the rest of the afternoon!

We spotted Gray's Polo Equipment parked over by the trailers. If you didn't get a chance to check out their large trailer equipped with all your polo needs, don't worry because they assured us they will be at all the games! So, give their trailer a look see at the next game and say hello to Claude & Monique for us! We also spotted the Aiken Standard covering the game again, which will hopefully bring out more fans for polo Sundays!

This past Sunday's game was apart of the prestigious Aiken Cup sponsored by the Smoak Family of Aiken. It is one of the most popular tournaments played at Aiken Polo Club. For the full schedule and team rosters, be sure to visit www.aikenpoloinfo.com.

Next Sunday, we will be moving the polo action to the Powderhouse Field. [You can find directions in the sidebar of this blog.] At 3PM, the finals of the Pete Bostwick Memorial tournament will be played with the Aiken Cup game to follow. So don't forget the field change or you'll be sitting at Whitney all by your lonesome!

Until next time, Marco...


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Can't Beat the Heat...that Aiken Hay Farm was Bringing

It’s only the 2nd of May, yet Sunday at Whitney Field the weather felt like we were at the end of the spring polo season. With temperatures reaching the low 90’s with the humidity around 50%, it was a sweaty Sunday for all the spectators on the sidelines. At least we can be thankful for the wind that provided us with a tiny bit of relief throughout the game.

Speaking of heat, Aiken Hay Farm may be to blame because boy did they bring it! It was a close game, but they pulled out the “W”, defeating La Pechada/Pony Up, 8 to 6. Federico Wulff didn’t seem too pleased at the end of the game, raising his arms in frustration. He shouldn’t be too down though, considering it was his pony, Caminada, that was awarded “Best Playing Pony”. It’s arguable that if a few more minutes were given to play, La Pechada/Pony Up may have just turned that game around. A big congrats also goes out to Devon Dailey with Aiken Hay Farm for being awarded “MVP” for the first 2010 spring 4-Goal Invitational. I was joking with his mom during trophy presentations regarding his noticeable height difference from all the other players. It must have been his longer reach that gave him the advantage.

You couldn’t miss the large umbrella shading Don & Linda Biersack and Bob & Sterling Denny during the game. Of course, I gravitated right to that shady spot and ended up realizing there was more than just shade there. They were awarded our “Best Tailgating Spot” sponsored by The Restaurant at The Willcox thanks to their crab dip, fruit salad, mixed nuts, champagne and most importantly, according to Don, the BEER! The only thing missing was the kiddy pool for me to sit in. I have no doubt that their next couple’s outing will be on Colleton Avenue at The Restaurant.

This Sunday was a first for our “Best Dressed” award because we didn’t have just one! It was a “Double Take” edition with both of our sponsor’s participation. Barbara Woolley was awarded the Pink gift certificate which was a perfect addition to her pink and white skirt! It was Laura Bagwell’s flowing brown and white sundress (and possibly that silver cup accessory) that helped her snag the other award sponsored by Equine Divine. The CMP gals love our polo ladies and can’t wait to see what they are wearing next week.

Laura and her polo partner in crime, Miles Denham, should probably consider playing the lottery because they ended up walking away with two prizes! Miles had the lucky number 47 on his program and was awarded the “Shaping Up for Summer” award sponsored by Kenny Ray Personal Fitness! Laura later told me that she will be taking that award as well. We didn’t see too many pooches on the sidelines probably due in part to the hot, humid weather but there was one Sunday regular pooch that was still full of energy and lots of kisses. “Polo Pooch of the Day” was given to Spencer, a 6 month old Airedale owned by Pat & Elizabeth Paterniti, who is quite the polo regular. I hope he enjoys his yummy treats courtesy of Bone-I-Fide Bakery!

Everyone should also take a look back at the NBC 26 News archives from Sunday for any footage from the game. A reporter was out talking to some of the board members and I think I even saw him interviewing Pam Gleason! It’s great that the media is starting to realize what an amazing sport this is, especially on Sunday’s with the family!

Don’t forget polo fans, APC is still accepting memberships for the 2010 season. If you are interested in full, practice, family, junior, parking or social memberships please contact club manager Craig Fraser at craig@pologuy.com.

Until next Sunday, Marco…


Sponsor Spotlight: The Restaurant at The Willcox

As soon as you walk through the doors of the Willcox, you instantly get that feeling of walking into a piece of Aiken's history. New proprietors, Geoff and Shannon Ellis, became apart of that history in January of this year and have without a doubt brought it's historic prestige into the present. The Restaurant at the Willcox is certainly a popular spot for the Aiken locals, especially many of the familiar faces that frequent the polo scene. The Restaurant offers delicious and exquisite food in a cozy, relaxed environment...a perfect combination! It can certainly be a challenge for a restaurant to offer 5 star quality food and still maintain an atmosphere that isn't too stuffy. The Restaurant at The Willcox has done so flawlessly. Whether you are enjoying a meal in the simply elegant dining room, or having a few cocktails on the patio by the poolside, you are sure to feel "welcome and comfortable" as its website boasts. It is perfect for special occasions, big or small, with concept and pricing that makes The Willcox a place you can afford to enjoy often. [CMP gal Jessica can vouch for that, as her intimate wedding ceremony took place poolside at this beautiful property just last month!]

Take a peek at The Restaurant's website, www.therestaurantatw.com, and if those pictures don't make your mouth water, you should probably get your eyes checked! You can also view their menus on the website as well. "Chukkers, Mallets, & Ponies...Oh My!" are proud to have them as our new sponsor for the Best Tailgate award this spring! If you want to win this savory award, it is awarded at every Sunday game to the spectators with a parking spot that features a festive & functional set-up, yummy food, and good spirits (not just the ones in the bottles!) The Restaurant is open 11:30am - 10pm Monday - Saturday and 9am - 10pm on Sunday, located inside The Willcox hotel at 100 Colleton Avenue in downtown Aiken. The CMP gals give The Restaurant at The Willcox four thumbs up!