Royalty riding in to Chicago
July 31st, 2016
The “sport of kings” is returning to North Avenue Beach, and this time there’s royalty.
Some players competing will come from the Royal Team of Wales, which counts Prince Charles as a patron and non-playing member. And funds raised from the Qatar Airways Chicago Beach Polo Cup will benefit Sentebale, a charity co-founded by Prince Harry and which supports orphans.
They’ve both given their blessings for the tournament, but neither prince is expected to attend–this year. (You can never count out the unpredictable Harry.)
“We’re excited about the players and we hope this becomes an annual event on the charity scene,” said organizer Gustavo Bilbao, a professional polo player from Argentina living in Chicago.
Ricky Cooper, captain of the Wales team, spent recent days in Chicago promoting the Sept. 9-11 event. He’ll compete with players from Italy, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Cuba, Canada and Chicago. Bilbao can’t confirm yet names of the local team.
Beach polo competitions aren’t new to Chicago. The last one was held in 2011.
This year’s “hockey on horseback” will see 18 co-ed riders on a total of 40 horses, a few thousand spectators and an array of high-end pop-up shops, including the luxury Champagne lounge by Veuve Clicquot.