When it comes to sporting events in Scottsdale, there’s one name that’s been echoing louder and louder: the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championship. As winter embraces its chilly grasp, the sprawling fields of Westworld in Scottsdale transform into a battleground for some of the world’s most accomplished polo players. And now, the most anticipated season in Scottsdale has officially begun.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, polo might appear to be a sophisticated form of croquet on horseback. However, when you delve deeper into the game, the athleticism and strategy involved are nothing short of breathtaking. To shed light on this thrilling sport and offer a sneak peek into its intricacies, I had the pleasure of hosting two eminent personalities from the world of polo on the podcast: Sterling Jones and Ricky Cooper.
While both Sterling and Ricky are remarkable in their own right, Ricky Cooper, hailing from Wales, stood out with his charm and expertise. He has been a part of the national polo team since its formation in the 2008-2009 season. Over the years, Ricky has not only showcased his skills in Scottsdale but has also played in countless international matches. What’s more, off the field, he’s an avid marathon runner and ice hockey player, exemplifying the very definition of a multi-faceted athlete.
How it Started
Ricky’s journey into polo wasn’t one he had envisioned. It all began in the heart of the UK when a twist of fate had him residing near the prestigious Sunningdale Golf Course. It was there that he crossed paths with the esteemed polo coach, Peter Grace. Under Grace’s mentorship, Ricky was introduced to the sport, and what started as a curious venture soon transformed into a passionate pursuit.
Polo is not just about galloping horses and hitting a ball; it’s about understanding the beast beneath you, syncing with its rhythm, and mastering the technique to guide the ball’s direction. As Ricky fondly recalled, the initial stages were akin to learning a dance where he was constantly out of step. But with perseverance, dedication, and countless hours on horseback, he soon became one of the most revered players globally.
Polo and Royalty
However, the glamor and glitz of polo matches, especially those in Scottsdale, aren’t just about the game. These events often turn into fashion parades, with attendees showcasing their finest attire, making them as much social gatherings as they are sporting events.
Behind the scenes, there’s a fascinating connection between polo and the British Royal family. Ricky’s team, the Wales polo team, boasts the royal insignia, having been sponsored by none other than Prince Charles himself. These affiliations brought not only prestige but also a sense of responsibility. The team has actively participated in numerous charity games, contributing significant amounts to various causes.
While the future of the Wales polo team’s royal patronage remains uncertain, Ricky remains optimistic. His journey in polo has been about more than just accolades and championships. For him, it’s the spirit of the game, the camaraderie with fellow players, and the joy of giving back to society that truly matter.
As Ricky fondly reminisced about a particular match in Scottsdale around 2013, which remained etched in his memory, it became evident that this sport holds a special place in his heart. As the Scottsdale Polo Championship approaches, scheduled for November 4th at Westworld, the anticipation is palpable. With outstanding players like Ricky Cooper gracing the field, it promises to be an event that combines sport, fashion, and community spirit, truly celebrating
the essence of Scottsdale’s vibrant vibes. Until next time, Scottsdale, See you around town!