The teams are set for the Polo for Patriots benefit match to be held on Aiken Polo Club’s Whitney Field this Saturday, September 26. The teams are being sponsored by TakoSushi, the popular downtown Aiken eatery, and The Eye Guys of Augusta, “the CSRA’s premier comprehensive eye center.”
Playing for TakoSushi: (Red and Black)
Matthew Fonseca: 3
Marcos Onetto: 4
Pelon Escapite: 6
Julio Arellano: 8
Playing for The Eye Guys (Green and White)
Tiger Kneece: 4
Horacio Onetto: 4
Tommy Biddle 6
Mariano Obregon: 7
This is the second annual Polo for Patriots match, but the first to be held at Aiken Polo Club (last year the game took place at Wire Road Polo Club.) The event is a benefit for the Aiken-Augusta Warrior Project and Equine Rescue of Aiken, which has its own military connection through its association with Saratoga Warhorse. The featured match is sure to be fast and exciting, pitting two 21-goal teams against one another. It is also always interesting to watch the two Onetto brothers, Horacio and Marcos, playing on opposite teams.
In addition to the high goal exhibition, the day will also provide an opportunity for some of Aiken’s youngest players to show off their skills in a junior match before the main event. Aiken Polo Club has an active junior program under the guidance of Tiger Kneece, who learned to play as a child on Aiken’s fields. Players in the junior match will include Tiger’s daughter Summer, as well as Hope Arellano, the daughter of the 8-goal Julio. Hope, 12, is a slim girl who wears a pink helmet. A fierce competitor and an undeniable talent, she is currently wowing the crowds playing with and against adults in the USPA Governor’s Cup 6-goal at Aiken Polo Club. (Her team, Karna, has won all of its games so far.)
In addition to the polo crowd, expect to see a good contingent of veterans at the field, including Sergeant First Class Caldera, Senior Chief Machinist Mate John Glave Jr.,and Sergeant Robert Parent. These are local veterans representing several generations who served in many different theaters. They will be in the VIP tent.
The day includes social activities and festivities galore, including tailgating contests, a calcutta, a hot air balloon provided by REMAX Aiken (one of the event’s many sponsors), a silent auction, “Moonshine at Halftime” (Thank you Carolina Moonshine and Cooper Home and Stable) a display of military vehicles and equipment, a formal color guard and much more. The event is presented by Aiken Saddlery, and other sponsors include Aiken Dry Goods.
The junior polo match starts at 3:00, with the main event at 4:00. Gates open at 2:30, and you can buy your tickets at the gate, or ahead of time at Aiken Saddlery, Aiken Dry Goods, and online. Now all we need is for it to stop raining.