On Our Radar: Team USPA’s Wesley Finlayson Tackles Athletics & Academics

You may recognize Wesley Finlayson from the aspirational USPA “Live Authentically” campaigns. He exudes the male model look with sculpted cheekbones and smoldering eyes but on the polo field, “Wes” is just another one of the guys, living the authentic polo lifestyle. Finlayson (4) has paved a notable career path for himself at an early age, achieving remarkable success both on and off the field.

Wesley Finlayson and Jonny Lavine. Photo courtesy of US Polo Assn.
Wesley Finlayson and fellow polo player, Jonny Lavine. Photo courtesy of U.S. Polo Assn.

Before discovering his passion for polo, Finlayson briefly competed in the hunters as a child, learning from his mother, hunter athlete Cynthia Mesker. His grandfather was also in the equestrian business, buying and selling weanlings and yearlings. Finlayson always preferred the thrill of the jumpers but eventually gravitated towards the high-intensity sport of polo. Compared to some of today’s polo youngsters, Finlayson may of had a late start in the game, taking his first lesson at age 11, but he quickly expedited the learning process with the guidance of veteran polo player and U.S. Open winner, Martin Estrada as well polo coach Ricky Bostwick. Bostwick was instrumental to Finlayson’s early development, helping him find jobs and play on teams that would elevate the 1-goaler to a 3-goaler. As a result, Finlayson honed his technique on the field and went pro at 15 years old, a huge accomplishment after just four years in the sport.

Photo courtesy of Wesley Finlayson.
Wes in action (white shirt). Photo courtesy of Wesley Finlayson.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, he now calls the international polo hub of Wellington, Florida his full time home, playing often at Grand Champions Polo Club. Early exposure to big names in the industry such as Kris Kampsen and the late Carlos Gracida has served to accelerate and develop Finlayson’s natural ability to the level it is today. Over the course of his career, he has played for sponsors in Virginia, Kentucky, the Hamptons, upstate New York and Florida.

Wes Finlayson for Team Coca-Cola in the 2017 Ylvisaker Cup. Photo by David Lominska/IPC.
Wes Finlayson (red) played for Coca-Cola in the 2017 Ylvisaker Cup. Photo by David Lominska/IPC.

Since branching out and developing polo relations on his own, Finlayson has spent the past two to three years working and growing as a player with Kampsen. “We’ve become great friends. He’s taught me a lot about my riding, style of play, and working with green horses. I’ve been fortunate enough that he has helped me to get great jobs and brought me around players like Mariano Aguerre and the guys at Greenwich Polo Club. It’s been great because I’ve developed relationships with them and they are all great guys,” commented Finlayson.

Kampsen echoes his sentiments about their working relationship. “I really love having Wes around my organization for his work ethic and attitude. He has the ability to read plays, which makes hitting and dribbling effortless.”

Photo by David Lominska and United States Polo Association.
Photo by David Lominska/United States Polo Association.

Finlayson speaks highly of Mariano Aguerre, the Argentine polo player whom he has played many practices with, but never a tournament. “I was fortunate enough to play practices with him all year and the guy is a genius the way he plays polo, truly an all-class player. He’s very professional on and off the field and there is never any drama. He’s obviously an amazing athlete and a great guy and I’d like to play with him before he retires,” Finlayson said.

Indicators to Put Finlayson On Your Radar:

High/medium goal tournament highlights include:

  • 2017 winner of The Ylvisaker Cup with Coca-Cola
  • 2015 winner of the Grand Champions $50,000 National 12-goal
  • 2014 winner of the USPA Limited Edition 12-goal
  • In 2014 and 2013 won two USPA President’s Cup tournaments
Team Coca-Cola (Wesley Finlayson second on right) wins the 2017 Ylvisaker Cup. Photo by David Lominska/IPC.
Team Coca-Cola (Wesley Finlayson second on right) wins the 2017 Ylvisaker Cup. Photo by David Lominska/IPC.

We know his professional record, but who is Wes Finlayson aside from his polo identity? A current college student majoring in general Management, he admits the workload is very challenging to balance with the demands of his polo schedule but is fully dedicated to earning a degree however necessary. Typically enrolled in three or four classes at once, he has to make time to watch online lectures either in the late afternoon or early morning, but usually he takes pre-recorded lecture classes for convenience. Finlayson hopes to pursue a career in real estate or insurance upon graduation. And Although he’s half Canadian on his dad’s side, he has become fluent in Spanish which he credits to exposure with native speakers from Argentina and Mexico.

But for now, Finlayson is focused on getting as well mounted as he can in preparation for the remainder of the year and next season in Florida, having just upgraded his string. Purchasing and selling three ponies, Finlayson strategically recycled his horses in hopes of landing another high-goal job and winning more 20-goal tournaments like his most memorable win in the Ylvisaker Cup at International Polo Club this past February. Finlayson ultimately strives to play his string of ponies across the globe but he values his family at Team USPA for always being supportive and wanting to see him reach his fullest potential.

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