Museum of Polo Reveals 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

Lake Worth, Fla. – Oct. 8, 2018 – As the polo season in Florida gears up, the Nominating Committee of the Museum of Polo has been hard at work and has concluded the review and voting process. Upon their recommendation, the Board of Directors of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that on Friday, February 15th the following will be inducted into the Hall of Fame: Daniel Gonzalez, Gerald Matthews Balding, Karlene Beal Garber, John B. Armstrong, Mr. Polo and Conover.

“This is a stellar group of individuals, all of whom have made amazing contributions to the sport of polo in this country” says the Museum’s Executive Director, George DuPont. “We are looking forward to welcoming them as they join the others who have been honored in the polo Hall of Fame.”

Players Hall of Fame Award winner Daniel Gonzalez. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives
Players Hall of Fame Award winner Daniel Gonzalez. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives

Selected as the Living Hall of Fame Award winner, Daniel Gonzalez was a prolific player and a force in polo in the U.S and around the world. Rated 9 goals in the U.S. and 10 goals in Argentina he won the Argentine open 7 times (between 1961 – 1973) and in this country won the Butler Handicap in 1977 and the Pacific Coast Open in 1986. Board Director Glen Holden says of him, “Daniel Gonzalez has won all important Argentine tournaments and has done so much for California Polo. He has won every high goal tournament in California and played in California for 28 years plus continuing to come, coach, and bring players and teams, for 39 consecutive years. Daniel is one of the best liked, popular, and most helpful players on the West Coast. We all congratulate him on being nominated to the Museum Of Polo Hall of Fame”.

Posthumous Players Hall of Fame Award winner Gerald Matthews Balding. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives
Posthumous Players Hall of Fame Award winner Gerald Matthews Balding. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives

Gerald Matthews Balding, a dashing figure and 9 goal standout of the Golden age of polo in the 1930s, was chosen for the Posthumous Hall of Fame category. After the first World War and in his twenties, English-born Gerald Balding was invited by Robert Strawbridge, the president of the United States Polo Association to come to America “to train our boys how to play the game”. And show them he did; among his major American tournament wins was the U.S. Open in 1935 and 1936 the Junior Championship in 1928 and the Monty Waterbury Cup in 1930 and 1935. In England where he was rated 10 goals he was captain of the British national polo team.

Iglehart Award Winner Karlene Garber photo is Karlene with her winning women’s team: l – r: Karlene Beal Gaber, Caroline Anier, Kristy Waters, Susan Kent Stovall, the 1999 All women’s BTA winning team. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives
Iglehart Award Winner Karlene Garber photo is Karlene with her winning women’s team: Karlene Beal Gaber, Caroline Anier, Kristy Waters, Susan Kent Stovall, the 1999 All women’s BTA winning team. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives

Having come from a legendary polo family, Karlene Beal Garber has made a statement in her own right as a player and through her service to polo, and for that will be honored with the Philip Iglehart Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to the Sport of Polo. Starting to play polo in 1992, she went on to earn honors winning the Women’s Handicap and the Pacific Coast Circuit Player’s Cup in 1994, followed by many other impressive wins right through to 2000 with her famous all women’s team defeating 12 other co-ed teams in one month. Her dedication did not stop on the field. A gracious and much beloved benefactor for junior polo and the Polo Training Foundation, she served on their Board of Directors and helped raise over $1,000,000 to benefit polo players all over the U.S. with polo schools and umpire clinics, the umpire program having been originally initiated by her father, Carlton Beal.

Posthumous Iglehart Award winner John B. Armstrong (left) with his father Charles Armstrong (right). Photo: Museum of Polo Archives
Posthumous Iglehart Award winner John B. Armstrong (left) with his father Charles Armstrong (right). Photo: Museum of Polo Archives

The Posthumous Iglehart Award will be going to John B. Armstrong. He left us at age 83 in 2003 but he will be remembered for many reasons. He was a sportsman and gentleman on the field, a mentor to his sons and a cavalcade of other young players many of whom went on to greatness; he was a great supporter of polo in the San Antonio area and he was a recognized horseman who bred, raised, trained and imported many fine horses that played in our country’s best polo. As a player he started swing a mallet in 1938 and went on to 6 goals in 1958 playing in the US Open in 1957 and 1958. He continued to play in high goal polo for the next forty years and also served the USPA as Southwest Circuit Governor during the 1950s and was Vice-Chairman 1960 – 1962.

Horses To Remember – Conover and J. Monty Waterbury in 1911. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives
Horses To Remember – Conover and J. Monty Waterbury in 1911. Photo: Museum of Polo Archives

Also staking their claim in the Hall of Fame will be “Horses to Remember” Mr. Polo and Conover. Memo Gracida’s memorable old war horse Mr. Polo, who more than lived up to his name, just recently died at the age of 35. Playing in his first US Open at age 4, the magnificent chestnut thoroughbred gelding played with heart for Memo through over 10 years of high goal polo winning 8 US Opens, always playing two chukkers. He earned many BPPs in other major tournaments along the way including the Camacho Cup and was featured in Sports Illustrated Magazine.

Horses to Remember – Mr. Polo in pasture at age 35. Photo: Mimi Gracida Boyle
Horses to Remember – Mr. Polo in pasture at age 35. Photo: Mimi Gracida Boyle

In the early 1900s, Conover was part of the incomparable string of Harry Payne Whitney and regarded as a star of the Internationals from 1909 – 1914 played by Whitney as well as Monty Waterbury. Both Whitney and Waterbury are Hall of Famers and half of the legendary “Big Four” who, aided by a select group of amazing ponies, dominated International Polo in those years. After a long and illustrious playing Conover was then used as a mount for the Whitney children.

We hope you will join us at the Hall of Fame Dinner to welcome these icons of polo into the Hall of Fame. The Awards Gala and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Museum of Polo on Friday, February 5th, 2019. Reservations are $250.00 each (tax deductible portion $125.00). The Hall of Fame Awards Dinner is the most important fundraising event for the Museum each year, so we hope you will help support your Museum, a 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit organization. Contact Brenda Lynn at the Museum of Polo, (561) 969-3210 or (561) 969-7015, e-mail: polomuseum@att.net for further details, information, or to make your reservations.

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