Tommy Biddle, the highest-rated arena polo player in the world, will be competing in this tournament

Indio, CA:  For the second time in the history of polo in the desert, there will be a high-goal Arena Polo Game right here at Empire Polo Club.  The United States Polo Association (USPA) has awarded the 23-Goal USPA Townsend International Challenge Cup to Empire Polo Club. The game will be played on Saturday, January 12th, 2013.  This game represents the highest level of polo currently played on the west coast.  If you were to compare polo to golf, the Townsend Cup would be PGA Tour level polo.  Empire Polo Club and the local polo community are very excited to host such an historic event.

The USPA Townsend Cup is an arena challenge game traditionally played between teams from the U.S. and England.  The game will be handicapped at 23-goals, which means that all of the player’s handicaps on one team, when combined, equal 23 goals.  The higher the polo handicap is, the higher the skill level of the players and their team.   A 23-Goal arena game is a rare opportunity and one that you won’t want to miss.

Professional polo players are flying in from England and various parts of the U.S. to compete in this 1-day event.   The highest-rated arena polo player in the world is Tommy Biddle, rated 10-Goals.  He will be representing the United States in this tournament and he is the U.S.A. Team Captain.

U.S.A. Team

Tommy Biddle  (10)

Kris Kampsen  (7)

Rob Yackley (6)

Billy Sheldon (7) Coach/alternate

England Team

Chris Hyde (9)

Oliver Hipwood (7)

Max Charlton (7)

Sebastian Dawnay (8) Alternate

Event: USPA Townsend International Challenge Cup 23-Goal Arena Tournament

Date:  Saturday, January 12th at 5:00 PM

General Admission:  FREE

Location: Empire Polo Club Arena, 81-800 Ave. 51, Indio, CA  92201



5:00 PM: USA vs. England In The International Collegiate Challenge Cup

6:00 PM: USA vs. England 23-Goal Townsend International Challenge Cup

Food and beverage concessions will be available for purchase on site during the game.  The Empire Polo Arena offers bleacher seating for spectators.   All seats are General Admission, which is free and open to the public.  There is no VIP seating at this event.

About Arena Polo

In arena polo there are only three players on a team and in grass polo there are four.  The game is played in an arena, approximately 300 feet long by 150 feet wide, with walls all around.  The playing surface is dirt. The chukkers (periods of play) are 7.5 minutes long and there are four periods in an arena game.  The teams switch directions after each period of play.

Each player has a handicap between 0 and 10. The higher a players handicap, the better the player, which is the opposite of a golf handicap.  The total handicap of the three players on each team is the handicap of the team.  The term “handicap” is also referred to as goals. A 20-Goal Tournament means that the total handicap of each team cannot exceed 20.

What to wear? This is one of the most asked questions by spectators.  Polo is a casual affair at Empire Polo Club, so please wear whatever you feel comfortable in. You will see spectators wearing everything from shorts, jeans and flip-flops to sundresses, khakis and button down shirts. The Townsend Cup will be held at night, so we suggest you dress warm and bring a jacket.

About The USPA Townsend Cup Arena Challenge

The Townsend Cup has been referred to as “The World Series” of arena polo and it represents the highest-level of international arena polo in a competitive format.  The Hurlingham Polo Association is bringing the English Team to Indio, CA to compete against the United States Polo Association’s U.S. Team.

The Townsend Cup was first played in Manhattan in 1923 and featured two teams, one from England and one from the U.S.  It was this historic match that spurred the growth and development of arena polo here in the United States. The Townsend Cup wasn’t played again until 2004 and then again in 2008 and 2011. The Townsend Cup is named in honor of John R. Townsend, a New York City social figure who was an active advocate for arena polo in the early years of its development.

Empire Polo Club is honored to host the USPA Townsend Cup on January 12th, 2013 and to be part of such an historic event.  To continue the promotion and growth of arena polo here in the desert and in the United States, Empire Polo Club invites the public to join us in welcoming England to our county and to show support both teams as they compete for the title.

About Empire Polo Club

Established in 1987, Empire Polo Club is one of the largest polo clubs on the west coast with 12 polo fields and an indoor arena and a polo school. Polo is played Wednesday through Sunday, November through March 31st, 2013 with featured matches on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

For more information about the USPA Townsend Cup or for information about our season schedule, spectators can visit our website at or visit our facebook page

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