February 10, 2021 – The Great Meadow Foundation is pleased to announce a multi-year contract has been reached to manage polo operations at the Greenhill Arena Polo Stadium and the Sheila C. Johnson Grass Polo Field. This contract was awarded to a joint submission by the Twilight Polo Club, led by John Gobin and Whitney Ross, and the Beverly Polo Club, doing business as the Virginia United Polo League led by Bill Ballhaus and the Virginia United Polo League management team of Marcos Bignoli, Juan Ghirlanda, and Tolito Ocampo.
“We are excited to unveil, with John, Whitney, and the Virginia United Polo League team, a more robust polo offering for the local and greater polo communities that includes higher goal grass games and tournaments and a return of Saturday night Twilight Polo,” said Great Meadow Foundation Chair, John Hochheimer. Mr. Hochheimer continued, “Supporting the advancement of equestrian sport is a huge part of our mission, and we couldn’t be happier to see this group working together towards this goal.”
Photo: John Gobin, Whitney Ross, and David Greenhill. Photo by Julie Napear Photography
John Gobin returns for his 16th season of Twilight Polo at Great Meadow. John also manages the Twilight Polo Club and School with Whitney Ross. Whitney, originally from Charlottesville, cofounded the school and has been a Twilight Polo partner for ten years. The Twilight Polo Club is a USPA polo club based in Middleburg, Virginia in the summer and Aiken, South Carolina and Wellington, Florida in the winter. The club offers lessons, practice chukkers, horse rentals, and USPA tournaments. One of the largest polo clubs in the United States, the Twilight Polo Club has over 30 members and many additional students. Mr. Gobin is a world-class polo player who has been playing polo for over 30 years. He is the former captain of the US Polo Team and has played in prestigious tournaments worldwide.
The selection of the Beverly Polo Club, owned by Beverly Equestrian, builds upon an established partnership with Beverly Equestrian, who has run high-performance events at Great Meadow, including the MARS Great Meadow International in tandem with business partner David O’Connor, for over six years. In 2021, Great Meadow will host competitive Virginia United Polo League (VUP) matches and coveted United States Polo Association (USPA) tournaments. VUP was formed in 2020 to further develop and expand polo in Virginia. The VUP managers are all proven 4-6 goal professionals with experience playing throughout the world. Bill is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and third-generation aerospace engineer. He has been active in the global polo community for over a decade and has won numerous tournaments in Argentina and the US including the 2021 USPA Ylvisaker Cup.
These professionals and the teams and players that formed the inaugural season of the Virginia United Polo League last year, alongside the players and students of the Twilight Polo Club, can be seen in action this summer at Great Meadow on the Sheila C. Johnson Grass Polo Field and in the Greenhill Arena Polo Stadium.
The United States Polo Association has provided a 2021 development initiative grant to the Beverly Polo Club to support enhancements to the Sheila. C. Johnson Grass Polo field. USPA Chairman, Stewart Armstrong explains, “The United States Polo Association is thrilled for the opportunity to help grow polo in the Virginia area in cooperation with the Virginia United Polo League. The VUP has proven to be successful with over 120 games in 2020 across multiple leagues and levels of play, including 12 goal polo. This type of growth in players and spectators is indispensable for the development of the sport, and the partnership between these clubs is truly commendable.”
This year, the Great Meadow Foundation will also unveil improvements to the Greenhill Arena Polo Stadium. These improvements include brand new decking for the Pavilion side boxes and the demolition of the old announcer’s stand in order to improve the spectator experience in the General Admission area.
The Great Meadow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, manages a 374-acre equestrian event park nestled within the piedmont’s finest horse country in The Plains, Virginia. The park was founded in 1984 with a mission to preserve open space in service to the community and for the advancement of equestrian sport. The late philanthropist and Great Meadow founder, Arthur “Nick” W. Arundel envisioned a place devoted to preserving the rich cultural and equestrian heritage of the area that also provided a permanent home for the prestigious Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase races. Today, Great Meadow hosts over 40 events that draw 200,000 people through the gates annually to see steeplechasing, polo, show jumpers, foot races, rocketry, cultural fairs, and Independence Day fireworks.
For more information on polo at Great Meadow and to purchase tickets for the upcoming season, please visit www.greatmeadow.org, email [email protected], or call (540)253-5001. Questions about this press release