Ponies flown in from Argentina – International Players contracted – Months of strategic preparation: Welcome to the New Dawn of Top Level Women’s Polo
Houston, TX, 29th September 2020 – Team PoloGear Coffee Company (PGCC) announces that they will be competing in the 16-20 goal 2020 USPA Texas Women’s Open as part of the Houston Women’s Polo Championship presented by Luxury Event Trailers at the Houston Polo Club, TX, between November 10th and 15th. The club is the largest polo club in the USA by number of players. This stands as a significant moment in time as women’s polo continues to gain ground globally. Participation by women in the sport of polo has recently accelerated in growth and strategic sophistication, inspiring future female athletes of all ages to take up the game. Thanks to supportive polo clubs, associations, private and corporate sponsors, like PoloGear, women’s polo is experiencing historic growth in creating more tournaments i.e. more playing opportunities. Globally these established women’s tournaments are a valuable contribution to the health of the sport and promotes female athleticism in general.
Women players from all over the USA and around the world will come to Houston for one of the country’s most prestigious ladies tournaments. This will be the 26th consecutive year that the Houston Polo Club is proudly hosting the event. The club offers 26 beautiful acres right in the heart of Houston, 2 polo seasons each year, has 8 levels of polo, incl. 2 polo schools and provides annual riding and boarding memberships for English and Hunter/Jumper.
The 20 goal Team PoloGear Coffee Company is proud to be represented by the following diverse group of highly cultured polo playing women with an impressive variety of backgrounds:
1. Dawn Jones, 6
2. Danielle Lussi, 2
3. Tiffany Busch, 6
4. Clarissa Echezarreta, 6
#1 San Antonio, TX native Dawn Jones will be playing the number one position given her speedy and accurate skills going to goal. Dawn has been involved in polo since meeting her husband, Tommy Lee Jones, 24 years ago. She has won the Womenʼs U.S. Open twice, was once awarded the game MVP, she has played in the historic Argentine Womenʼs Open every year since 2017 and over the years won the co-ed Outback 14 goal league and played in the co-ed 26 goal 100 plus year U.S. Open. She is also a founding member of the Women’s International Polo Network (WIPN). When not playing polo, Dawn works as a production stills photographer in the motion picture industry. As a 27 year member of the International Cinematographers Guild, she provides on set and behind the scenes images for press kits and advertising promotions. When not on film location Dawn spends time with her husband on their ranch in San Saba, TX where she assists in organizing their wildlife management program, Brangus cow calf operation, and land management goals of removing non indigenous plants while preserving native biodiversity. Her ranch experience offers opportunities to share and learn with Texas’ top agronomists at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas where she serves as an advisory board member.
#2 Lake Placid, NY native, Danielle Lussi will be playing position number two given her skills and ability to disrupt the opposing teamplay. Danielle recently graduated from Harvard with a degree in Germanic Languages & Literatures. While studying at Harvard she began playing polo in her sophomore year and eventually represented the women’s varsity & mixed team in matches across the East Coast and abroad in China, Mongolia and Italy. After graduating she moved to London to work as Business Development & Partnerships Director for British Polo Day. Est. in 2009 BPD to create an invitation only global platform to promote British luxury brands in emerging and established markets, whilst building relationships with individuals from around the world. There have now been 78 BPD events in 16 countries spread over 5 continents and over $2.7 million has been raised for good causes. After four years in London working on partnerships with brands such as Royal Salute Scotch Whisky, Bentley Motors, VistaJet, Burgess Yachts and Chelsea Barracks, she decided to move back to the USA to work with horses on a daily basis. Danielle assists the Harvard Polo Program by helping new team members with their equitation, horse management and team strategy. She’s currently in charge of caring for the team’s 16 horses. In her spare time she competes in co-ed and women’s specific polo around the globe. She began riding horses at a young age and developed her athletic competitiveness through ski jumping and flew over 97 meters in Lake Placid, NY, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.
#3 Vero Beach, FL native Tiffany Busch will be playing position number three requiring her to organize plays for her team. She will need to remain central to the team’s offence and defence, while remaining poised to establish set plays and look for passing opportunities to her team mates. Tiffany is a veteran of the game and was introduced to polo through her father, Peter Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame. She’s since grown to become an icon in women’s polo today. Tiffany rose to the top of the women’s rankings with fierce determination and natural talent. Supported by an ever growing string of horses, she brings her unique style and competitive spirit to the field in every game she plays. Tiffany currently works as a professional polo player and instructor at the Vero Beach Polo Club with an emphasis on cultivating youth polo for the future of polo in the USA. She dedicates her spare time to organizing polo events and raising funds for the Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast, a therapeutic riding program designed to help people with special needs. Since 2014 Tiffany is also a supporter and participant in the Gay Polo League. Highlights of her playing career include securing the overtime win in the 2012 Women’s U.S. Open in Houston, TX and being named MVP of the tournament. She also played in the 2017 Women’s Argentine Open and won the 2019 Women’s Texas Open for Team PoloGear.
#4 Middleburg, VA native, Clarissa Echezarreta will be playing position number four as our defensive back. This position requires anticipating how best to defend our goal with her well developed riding skills to ride off her opponents and hit strong back handers to her teammates. On offence she’ll need to patiently wait to snap up a loose ball, she can send forward to her teammates, while on attack. Clarissa was raised with horses and has ridden her entire life. Her riding skills are impeccable. She played polo in high school at Garrison Forest School and went on to play polo at the University of Virginia, where she won a National Championship. She reached a 3 goal handicap in co-ed polo before having two children. While raising her two children, she continued to compete in co-ed and women’s polo, she volunteered countless hours to youth polo and donated her time to the United States Polo Association junior polo with as many as 70 students at a time. She’s an active advocate for women in polo by mentoring younger women players and she supports the WIPN with innovative ideas to enhance women’s polo. Clarissa has won numerous tournaments incl. the multiple Women’s Championship Tournaments and played in both the Women’s U.S. Open and the Women’s Argentine Open. In women’s polo Clarissa is one of the most respected position number four players in the world.
Preparation, Mentoring & Warm-up tournaments:
Team PGCC’s path to Houston has been one of dedication to support women’s polo and is spearheaded by Dawn Jones together with PoloGear’s very own Gary Fellers and Jeanette Sassoon. The prize they have their eyes on is the USPA Texas Women’s Open title. Strategically PGCC participated in two warm up tournaments, allowing preparations of some of the team’s horses, two of which were recently flown over from Argentina, whilst giving other promising players a chance to compete at the sharp end of the sport.
On August 28th a PGCC team competed in the Santa Ynez Sunny Hale Women’s Invitational lower flight 8-12 goal consolation finals. Zoe Cookson from Northampton, UK; Dawn Jones; 17-year old Taylor Olcott from San Luis Obispo, CA and Jenny Alter from Miami, FL defeated the very competitive JC Polo team to win 5-3. Many thanks to Megan and Memo Gracida and the entire La Herradura organization for hosting such a well planned women’s tournament in memory of the much beloved and respected Sunny Hale. Between September 4th – 6th a PGCC team participated in the prestigious 2nd Annual Women’s Pacific Coast Open at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, CA. The final day was an excellent day for USA women’s polo! Its success continues to develop and keeps drawing attention to women in polo.
For this tournament Team PGCC selected the following players: Santa Barbara native, Public Policy and Economics student Cory Williams, who together with team member Kendall Plank were title holders of the Cup in 2019; Licensed Texas attorney and horse welfare advocate Pamela Flanagan, who was 2019 Women’s U.S. Open Champion and recipient of the tournament’s Amateur MVP; Dawn Jones and the quartet was completed by Kendall Plank, who holds a degree in Leadership with minors in Business and Communications and is currently working for LC Design Studio to develop her business skills. Together with her mother, Susan Plank she founded and established Dec My Room, a non profit charity dedicated to enhancing the lives of pediatric cancer patients during their treatment and healing whilst hospitalized.
Despite giving their best efforts in the consolation finals, they were not able to convert for a win. All the players relished the chance to play at the women’s 20 goal level. The PoloGear Coffee Company banner served as an excellent learning experience to improve booth individually and as a team. As is typical with women’s polo all attended an exciting final in a show of support to their friends participating. Then two birthdays were celebrated for team Timing’s number 4, Sofia Lorenzo and our team mate, Kendall Plank.
The brands behind the team:
PoloGear Coffee Company (www.PoloGearCoffee.com) is a Midwest-based global speciality coffee company with a passion for the Game of Polo and has over 90 years of experience as importers, roasters and packagers of fine coffees from all around the world. Following extensive research of the global coffee industry they recognized that there was and is a tremendous opportunity to create a turnkey “Crop to Cup” solution that rewarded supply chain efficiencies and enabled them to make a difference, change lives and communities for the better. Their extensive knowledge of roasting techniques allows constant evolution, refining their specialty coffee offerings, which differentiates them from all brands in the industry. PGCC aims to become a market leader and premier online global coffee company. We invite you to join us and together, we can change the world “One sip, One Cup and One Community at a Time”.
PGCC also proudly supports Saves the Horses, which is helping Safe From Slaughter Equine Rescue rebuild their equine rescue farm after a devastating direct hit by Hurricane Laura. Left homeless and without resources, founder Katie Roush has persevered and placed all of her adoptees safely while her family rebuilds everything with help from donors/friends. Our hearts and support are with this wonderful organization.
PoloGear polo outfitter, is the official supplier of Team PGCC and provides the team jerseys and equipment. Dawn is a fervent advocate of the PoloGear proprietary KwikDri™ fabric. It’s state of the art moisture wicking with anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties and 48 SPF. This fabric not only provides unlimited design and sublimation possibilities but it also excels in skin and health protection. Over the years PoloGear has been a leader in the development of products for polo, including saddles, team products, helmets and polo equipment.
Additional 101 Info:
Keep an eye out on PoloGear’s social media to follow Team PoloGear Coffee Company’s “Path to the USPA Texas Women’s Open” and exclusive content throughout.
The tournament will be live streamed by Global Polo (www.globalpolo.com).
For Sunday USPA Texas Women’s Open tickets, individual or box seating, please go to: http://houstonpoloclub.com/buy-tickets/
Current county and state mask and social distance requirements will be practiced and enforced. Everyone on the property at Houston Polo Club will be expected to fill in an HPC COVID-19 Release and Questionnaire.