Oak Brook polo a go for August
In 2012, four polo matches will take place Aug. 19, Aug. 26, Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 in Oak Brook. Each game will begin at 1 p.m. | Contributed photo
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:29AM
OAK BROOK — With polo’s return to Oak Brook only a few weeks away, the village and event organizer have begun promoting the games through the launch of a website and filming of commercials.
Polo players from Willow Harbor Vineyards and Polo Club got their first look at the refurbished polo field last week and a limited number of spectators were allowed to view the commercial filming. The field and venue received rave reviews from those in attendance.
“Several of the players who came out had played here previously,” Sports Core Director Trey Van Dyke said. “(Polo player) Todd Rackley told me he last played here on this field in 1993 and it was bringing back some fond memories.”
In 2012, four polo matches will take place Aug. 19, Aug. 26, Sept. 2 and Sept. 9. Each game will begin at 1 p.m.
Information is available on the newly launched oakbrookpoloclub.com website. Willow Harbor Vineyards and Polo Club owner Kevin Kelleher launched Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep fans informed, and shot the commercial.
“(Kelleher) hired some actors and actresses and brought out the polo ponies,” Assistant Village Manager Blaine Wing said. “With a helicopter, they shot some aerial shots of the guys playing on the actual grounds.”
Kelleher hopes to use the footage shot to create three, 30-second commercials to begin airing in the Chicago area as early as next week, as he begins promotional work for the matches.
“We went to the matches as kids every Sunday and socialized with (Paul Butler’s) family,” Kelleher said. “We want to preserve polo like it was in its heyday. To us, Oak Brook is polo and polo is Oak Brook. We’re really excited about running this for the next three years.”
The village last hosted polo in 2008, but budget cuts caused the games to be absent in 2009. Village officials and residents had hoped for polo to return the next two years, but Salt Creek’s floods caused heavy damage to the polo fields and golf course.
“We had significant flood damage in 2008 and 2010,” Van Dyke said. “That field was completely under water in both of those events.”
In October 2011, the Village Board authorized spending $15,000 to repair the flood damage in anticipation of hosting games this summer.
“We had a great spring and it healed itself really well,” Van Dyke said. “The players said it was in good shape and had no issues.”
Tickets are available at oakbrookpoloclub.com and begin at $15 for Oak Brook residents, $25 for non-residents. VIP seating starts at $125. Tickets are also available by phone at (800) 373-1660.