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

By Lynn Bremner

For the third time in the history of polo in the desert, there will be a high-goal arena polo game 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, March 14th, 2015 at 6:30 PM in the polo arena at Empire Polo Club.

The USPA Townsend International Challenge Cup is an arena polo game traditionally played between teams from the U.S. and England. In 2013, England defeated U.S.A. to win the USPA Townsend International Challenge Cup for the first time in the history of the tournament. England is returning to Indio, CA to defend their title.

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. A 23-Goal arena game is a rare opportunity and one that you won’t want to miss. 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 a historic event.

Professional polo players are flying in from England and various parts of the U.S. to compete in this one-day event. The highest-rated arena polo player in the world is Tommy Biddle, his handicap is10-Goals. He will be representing the United States in this tournament and he is the U.S.A. Team Captain.


Tommy Biddle (10)

Kris Kampsen (7)

Jared Sheldon (5)


Oscar Mancini (6)

Jonny Good (8)

Chris Hyde (9)

Event Details:

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

Date: Saturday, March 14th, 2015 6:30 PM

General Admission: FREE

Location: Empire Polo Club Arena, 81-800 Ave. 51, Indio, CA 92301


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

6:30 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.

For more information about this event spectators can visit Tel. 760-393-7298

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. For example, a 23-Goal Tournament means that the total handicap of each team cannot exceed 23.

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, 2011 and 2013. 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, for the third time, on March 14th, 2015 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 for 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, December through March. Featured matches are held on the second Friday of each month and every Sunday afternoon during the season.

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