The prestigious Drake Challenge Cup, presented by the Drake Oak Brook Hotel was held on Sunday, August 4 between Oak Brook and newest rival G-Squared. Prior to the match, the Oak Brook Polo hosted its inaugural “Horses & Harleys” presented by Wildfire Harley Davidson which featured forty new, custom and vintage Harley Davidson bikes from multiple Chicago and Illinois HOG Chapters.
Oak Brook last competed against G-Squared in the finals of the 2019 Oak Brook Polo Open 8-Goal Tournament on July 14th where they were defeated 12-9. The stakes were raised this past Sunday as both teams brought out their best players to compete in a 12-Goal match-up.
G-Squared’s Team was comprised of Captain Larry Aschebrook (Hcap 0), Juan Martin Gutierrez (Hcap 2), Lindor Novillo Corvalan (Hcap 4) and Matias Obregon (Hcap 4). Oak Brook’s team included guest player and replacement for Jim Drury, Mason Phelps (Hcap 0), alongside Horacio Onetto (Hcap 4), Tomas Obregon (Hcap 4), and Mariano Gutierrez (Hcap 4).
Opening festivities for the match featured a team parade with nearly forty new, custom and vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles that participated in the “Horse & Harleys” pre-match rally. The bikes were led by the new 2019 Harley Davidson Fat Boy 114 and Deluxe FLDE, bikes. Parade guests included anthem singer Karl Knutson followed by BraveHearts Riding Therapy Horse “Hank.”
The traditional ball roll-in was performed by Emma, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nagel-owners of the Drake Oak Brook Hotel, and the match was underway. G-Squared was given a two-goal handicap and were quick to extend that lead to three with a goal from M. Obregon. Gutierrez would answer back with two goals which put Oak Brook on the board at the end of the first chukker 3-2 G-Squared.
Before heading into the second chukker, Caroline Mueller performed the traditional Champagne Sabering presented by J Vineyard & Winery and received a marriage proposal from Karl Knutson. She responded with a joyful…yes!
In the second chukker, Corvalan would expand G-Squared’s lead to two goals before Phelps brought it back within one to end it, 4-3 G-Squared. In the third chukker, both teams remounted and came out swinging. Corvalan would be the first to score, but Gutierrez would be quick to answer with two back-to-back goals and tie the match 5-5. M. Obregon would respond with two goals of his own and regaining the lead for G-Squared, 7-5.
After a fun and entertaining Divot Stomp presented by J Vineyard & Winery with the Better Chicago “Best Hat Contest” being awarded to Eileen Newsome before going into the fourth chukker.
The second half got underway quickly with “Toto” Obregon and Onetto both knocking in goals for Oak Brook and to tie the match 7-7. The chukker would end 8-8 with G-Squared’s Corvalan and Oak Brook’s Onetto both putting up points. In the fifth chukker, Gutierrez would give Oak Brook a brief one-point lead, before M. Obregon would answer back with a goal and to tie the match for a fourth time 9-9. In the sixth and final chukker, Gutierrez would give Oak Brook the lead followed by a goal from his teammate Onetto. Oak Brook would keep G-Squared scoreless to end the match 11-9.
During the awards ceremony, the Heineken “Best Tailgate” title went to Frank & Dottie Petriko and Bill & Kay Horuath. Runner-Up trophies were presented to G-Squared by Better Chicago’s Editor in Chief, Brooke Geiger McDonald. Champion trophies were presented to Oak Brook by Anna Majus of the Drake Oak Brook Hotel. The match’s Casablanca Polo MVP trophy went to Mason Phelps and Best Playing Pony went to Alma, owned by Corvalan. Wildfire Harley Davidson’s Janet Arrieta presented both teams with gifts for their participation and great game.
Oak Brook’s next match is the Chicago Polo Open, presented by Heineken. The Chicago Polo Association’s 8-Goal Tournament kicks off next week with the Championship match at Oak Brook on Sunday, August 18th at 3:15 PM with gates opening at 1:00 PM. The match will coincide with the 2nd Annual “Horses & Hops “ beer festival featuring craft brews from award winning and popular breweries from Chicago, Illinois and the Midwest, including Tangled Roots, City Lights, Finch Beer Co. and 2 Fools.
For general information, event scheduling, tickets and parking directions, please visit www.oakbrookpoloclub.com or call 630.368.5095.