The 2003 Hall of Fame Inductees have been selected. They are:
During the 1960’s and 70’s, Bennie Gutierrez was one of the highest rated players to grace a polo field. He attained an 8 goal handicap in 1968 in an era when there were no American ten-goal players. In the 1970’s he was one of the top five in handicap. He was respected for his consistency, his terrific mallet work and for his competitiveness on the polo field. His fine reputation as a consummate horseman, both on and off the field, can be attributed to his intuitive knowledge and care of his and other players’ horses.
His numerous club and USPA sanctioned tournament victories made him a much sought after teammate. His major titles include: the 1972 U.S. Open Championship, the 1960 and 1967 National 20 Goal, the 1967, 1969 and 1971 National 16 Goal as well as several Sunshine League championships. When America decided to send their best to Argentina to play in the 1969 Cup of the Americas, Bennie was selected for and played with distinction on the USA team.
Bennie continued his involvement in polo by training exceptional ponies and managing high goal polo teams. Ever dedicated to improving the sport of polo, he helped organize the professional umpiring program. He served as the USPA’s first Chief Umpire and was honored in 1993 as the Umpire of the Year.
Delmar “Del” Carroll was considered one of the greatest offensive players of his era, earning him the nickname “Mr. Speed.” One of his most remarkable talents was the ability to take the ball the length of the field and score, making him a real spectator favorite. Del was first rated 8 goals in 1949 and holds the distinction of being handicapped at 8 for ten consecutive years. He attained the 9 goal rating in the Arena.
During his 44 years of polo, Del Carroll played in nearly every major tournament, winning U.S. Open Championship titles in three different decades - 1959, ’67 and once again in 1974. In 1973 he won both the National 20 Goal and the National 16 Goal. His teams won the 1948 Senior Championship as well as the 1939 National 12 Goal. In 1950 he was selected for the USA team and participated in the 40 Goal Cup of the Americas.
He was a renowned horseman and one of the first players in America to selectively breed thoroughbred horses for polo prospects. In fact his legendary polo pony, named Magazin, sired many horses still competing in the game today.
Willis Allen, Sr.
A true benefactor of the sport, Willis Allen, Sr. fostered the development and growth of polo on the west coast. Willis was one of the original founders of several prominent, Californian polo clubs including: El Dorado in Palm Desert, Lake Farms in Indio, Rancho Santa Fe and continues the tradition of support today in Lakeside.
Willis has served as a USPA
Governor from 1969-1974 and played on numerous national and international
teams. He continues to raise top quality, award winning polo ponies and
was the sponsor of the national title winning youth team from San Diego.
According to many, Willis’ enthusiasm for the sport is infectious.
Still playing polo at the age of 89, his love of the game keeps him in
the saddle and others playing along him.
Joe Rizzo helped to rekindle the flame of polo that was nearly extinguished after World War II. His horsemanship and enthusiasm earned him not only a place on the polo field, but the respect and endorsement of his fellow players. For nearly fifty years, his Huntington and West Hills Polo Clubs, provided a welcoming place for aspiring players to learn and appreciate the rudiments of the sport.
Long after his playing days ended, Joe became a friend, coach and mentor to a wide range of players. Literally hundreds of men and women can attest that Joe put them on a horse and placed the first polo mallet into their hands. His philosophy was if one really wanted to play polo, it could be done without too much regard to cost.
Horses to Remember:
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