The Oak Brook Polo Club hosted Mexico’s International Polo team on Sunday, June 23rd for the 3rd Annual Butler Challenge Cup (second match of the season) at the Prince of Wales Field. To combat the threat of afternoonrainstorms, the match start time was moved up to 1:30 PM from its traditional 3:15 PM start. An approximate crowd of over 400 came out despite the weather to watch the home team win 8-6 in the international championship match.
Oak Brook’s team included team captain and Patron, Jim Drury (handicap-0), Horacio Onetto (handicap-4), Tomas “Toto” Obregon (handicap-4) and Mariano Gutierrez (handicap-4). The Mexico Team included team captain and former Chicagoan, MiguelGomez de Parada (handicap-2), Guillermo Steta (handicap-1), Roberto Payne (handicap-3) and Carlitos Gracida (handicap-4), son of famous Mexican-American 10-goal polo player Carlos Gracida.
The afternoon began with the Friends of Conservation’s (FOC) Benefit Luncheon to celebrate the organization’s 37th Anniversary.Led by Reute Butler (granddaughter to Paul Butler), FOC is one of the world’s earliest leaders in development and community conservation in the Maasai Mara are of Kenya.FOC Founder/ International Chairman Jorie Butler Kent was also present along with brother Michael Butler and his son Adam Butler and family.
To kick off the match, both the American and Mexico national anthems were performed by 13-year-old, Katherine Navigato, who is a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir. The ceremonial ball roll-in was done by Mary Pat Wallace, founderand owner of Oak Brook sponsor Chicago Luxury Beds.
The Mexican Polo Team received 2-handicap to start the match and were quick to lengthen that lead to three with a goal by Roberto Payne. But Oak Brook’s Obregon and Gutierrez would tie the match at three with a few back-to-back goals toend the first chukker 3-3. Prior to the second chukker, Telemundo Chicago reporter, Anayeli Ruiz entertained guests with Oak Brook Polo’s celebratory champagne sabering presented by J Vineyard & Winery.
In the second Chukker, Oak Brook’s Drury would put the home team in the lead with a goal to make the score 4-3. Gutierrez would extend that lead to 5-3 before closing the out the second chukker and first half of the match.
In the second half, Mexico got the third chukker started with a goal by Mexico’s Gracida to bring the visiting team within a goal of tying the match. Oak Brook answered back with two back-to-back goals from Onetto to end the third chukker7-4.
For the fourth and final chukker, Gutierrez would score Oak Brook’s final goal to bring their lead to 8-4. But Mexico’s Gracida would answer back with two back-to-back goals to bring the final score to 8-6.
MVP honors went to Gracida for his three goals, while the Casablanca Polo “best playing pony” award went to seven-year-old, thoroughbred, Alfa, owned by Onetto. Michigan Avenue magazine’s “best hat contest” winner was Kimberly Gleesonand Heineken’s “best tailgate” winners were Joe Jaffari and Vika Pailuliene.
Trophy presenters included representatives from Napleton Westmont Porsche and Chicago Luxury Beds. Presenting event sponsors included Napleton Westmont Porsche, Chicago Luxury Beds, Heineken and Friends of Conservation. The Butler ChallengeCup trophy was presented by Michael Butler, sister Jorie Butler Kent and her daughter Reute Butler.
The afternoon’s match was a special and historic day for a number of reasons. It was the first time in nearly four decades that all living members of the Butler Family (three generations) were in attendance to award the Butler ChallengeCup. In addition, the match marked the return of many of the earlier polo players who played with Michael and Adam Butler on Oak Brook’s polo fields in the 80’s and 90’s. Those players included: Scott Devon, Chuck Wagner, David Wolfe, Tony Sekera, John Greene,Paul, Lue and Mark Adrian, Tod Rackley, Jackie Murphy, Chad Kraml, Horacio Onetto, Sam Pancotto Jr. and Miguel Gomez de Parada. The day was also made historic as it was the Village of Oak Brook’s and Oak Brook Polo Club’s founder, Paul Butler’s birthday.
Oak Brook Polo’s next match is the Oak Brook Polo Open on Sunday, July 14th at 3:15pm with gates opening at 1:00 pm.
Oak Brook Polo Club is located at 2606 York Road, just seventeen miles from Chicago’s Loop. A variety of ticket options are available atwww.oakbrookpoloclub.com. For general information, event scheduling, and parking directions, please call 630.368.5095.