Barrington polo cup offers competition on, off the field
Shannon Giustino, of Big Rock, plays for the women's team Saturday during the "Battle of the Sexes" polo match at the Barrington Hills Polo Club. The women's team won the match 7-0. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
BARRINGTON — A record crowd gathered at Oakwood Farms of Barrington on Saturday to enjoy beautiful weather and the eighth annual LeCompte/Kalaway Landowners Cup and Battle of the Sexes polo tournaments.
“We’ve had a record number of landowners RSVP, and all of the tailgating spots are filled,” reported Linda Adair, vice president of the Barrington Hills Riding Club.
On the field, the women’s team won the Battle of the Sexes match 7-0.
But as always, the polo cup offered intense and dramatic competitions both on and off the polo field.
Tailgating tents were again set up on both side of the field and judged based on different criteria.
Then there was the hat judging contest in which Barrington resident Gretchen VonHess went all out, donning a larger than life hat with flowers that matched flowers on all four of her dogs. VonHess’ effort won her the event’s most creative hat award.
“I love drama, I love being expressive, and love inspiring others,” said VonHess, an artist and designer who has attended all eight local polo events.
One of the most unique tailgate tent themes Saturday featured butterflies. Another offered an Olympics-inspired theme featuring food from various countries.
Aside from watching the tournament, all attendees are encouraged to walk from tent to tent, meeting new people and viewing the creativity of the tents. Several small shops were set up selling anything from accessories, to clothes and sweet treats. Another popular attraction, especially with the children, was The Lake Run Farm Clydesdales, which offered rides on the “beer wagon.”
“Every year it’s gotten bigger than the last year,” said Peggy Judd, secretary of the riding club. “Now my favorite part is meeting all the landowners.”
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle threw out the first ball, and Arnold Randall, general superintendent of Cook County Forest Preserves, was honored at the event as well.
The joint event, organized by the Barrington Hills Polo Club and the Riding Club of Barrington Hills, was founded eight years ago to honor the private homeowners in Barrington Hills who allow riding trails across their property. The private trails link up with Cook Country Forest Preserve trails to form a network of nearly 200 miles of bridle paths through the community.
The LeCompte/Kalaway Landowners Cup is a public, family-friendly event in which all members of the Barrington community are welcome to enjoy. In total, the event attracts between 2,000 and 3,000 spectators each year. Additional attractions included the running of the hunting hounds and the Pony Club Quadrille.
“Not only has the event grown, it’s grown for the right reasons,” said Matt Yeterian, president of The Riding Club of Barrington Hills. “It’s become more than an act of gratitude, people continue to get more and more involved.”