In the middle of February the international polo comminuty met in Lake Worth (Florida) for the 25th time to honor the new members of the „Hall of Fame“. Outstanding personalities in polo and polo ponies are honored each year with the award also known as the “Oscar of Polo”.
In 2014, six new entries were added to the Hall of Fame: the former 10+goaler and double “Player of the year” and double U.S. Open winner Adam Snow, Peter Perkins and William S. Tevis, who were honored posthumously, the Iglehart award winner Paul T. Von Gontard as well as the ponies Beetlejuice and Fuss Budget.
First the grand dame of polo Marylou Whitney got the award for the polo pony Fuss Budget, who owned C.V. Whitney. The tribute to Mike Azzaros horse Beetlejuice were received by his daughter Allie Azzaro, who also a polo player. The „Posthumous Iglehart Award“ for William S. „Willie“ Tevis received his grandson Richard Mansfield. Paul T. Von Gontard was honored with the Iglehart award for his longtime credits for the polo sport. Diane Perkins received the posthumous award for Peter Perkins.
The ending was crowned by the honor of Adam Snow. The former +10 goaler came on stage with a polo stick. He explained the public that this stick helped him winning the U.S. Open in 2006.
Committee chairman Horace Laffaye: “This group of outstanding individuals represent the finest of American polo. The committee selected two players with outstanding records, a pair of supporters of the game who made lasting contributions to polo in this country and two polo ponies which were at the top of their respective generations.”
During the event there was a so-called „silent auction“ in which 6,470 US-Dollar for the Museum of Polo were collected.
Former +10-goal star Adam Snow was honoured for his accomplishments that, as he made his steady rise through the ranks, include being named Player of the Year twice and winning two U.S. Opens with an MVP in one of those years, and his mares Pumba and Amy winning BPP in 2002 and 2006 respectively. Along the way Adam (who actually initially preferred playing hockey to polo) notched three Silver Cup wins, three East Coast Opens, a Gold Cup, Monty Waterbury and numerous others.
The committee’s choice for the posthumous award is Peter Perkins, who during his stellar career reached an +8-goal handicap and won the U.S. Open in 1948 and 1951 along with other major tournaments of that era. The dashing polo-playing icon was frequently sought after as a model for magazine and poster advertising campaigns in the late 40s and 50s. According to Hall of Famer Bennie Gutierrez, “Peter Perkins had the most perfect form hitting a polo ball that I ever saw.”
Paul von Gontard got the “Iglehart Award” for his legacy of unselfish contribution to polo not only locally at the clubs with which he was involved, but also nationally and internationally. A member of the USPA since 1949, he has been one of the longest continuous active members. Paul served on the USPA Board of Governors from 1973 – 1974 and 2001-2009. He was recently, on his 80th birthday presented an award from the players of Jackson Hole in appreciation of his support.
The “Posthumous Iglehart Award” will go to William Tevis dubbed, the “Iron man of California”. Born in 1891, “Willie” was a colourful character who played polo for over sixty years, reached a respectable +6-goal handicap and was an active proponent in keeping the sport alive in California in its rebuilding years. Highly regarded for his superb skills as a horseman, he helped launch the famous 100 mile endurance ride known as the “Tevis Cup.”
To be honoured as a contemporary “Horse to Remember” will be Mike Azzaro’s great mare “Beetlejuice”. At just 14.3 hands, this small bundle of dynamite has racked up numerous awards including five +26-goal best playing pony awards one of which was the Hartman Award for BPP of the U.S. Open in 1996. In that game, Beetlejuice played almost three chukkers, leading Azzaro to score six goals on her alone. Mike has said that was the best game he ever played with her.
For “Horses to Remember (pre-1965)” the award will go to “Fuss Budget”, a thoroughbred mare foaled in 1928 who was a winner of twelve races before starting a polo career. Considered by owner C.V. “Sonny” Whitney as one of his greatest mounts, Fussbudget’s impressive accomplishments and the accolades she garnered earned her the right to be called during her era “the First Lady of the polo realm.”