5th Annual Work to Ride Polo Fund-raiser
By Lezlie Hiner
Before an exuberant crowd of over 250 people Work to Ride (WTR) held the 5th Annual Polo Fund-raiser. Large yellow tents graced the sidelines while pokeymon characters wandered among the crowd and painted childrens faces and handed out brightly colored balloons. Between chukkas a jazz trio played eclectic tunes.
Chris Perren on Matilda.
The Fairmount Park Polo field is among the oldest in the United States with trees lining the field on all four sides to provide shade for the spectators and trailers. The field lay dormant for 43 years following WW II. Since Work to Ride found a home at Chamounix Stables the field is once again active with polo alive and growing in Philadelphia. The polo gods, while raining out the original fund-raising event, threatened to rain out the event once again but ended up smiling on the day with occasional breaks of sun and temperate weather.
Work to Ride is a non-profit equestrian program for urban youth at risk in Philadelphia. Adopted by the Cowtown Polo club and Valley Forge Military Academy, WTR youth play grass polo in the summer and Interscholastic Polo in the fall and winter. Raising funds for the WTR program is a major focus for the annual event. However, for the young participants, it is an opportunity to play before a hometown crowd.
The WTR home team (splitting chukkas) consisted of Chris Perren (16), Lawrence Fields (18), Jose Perez (19), WTR graduate Richard Prather, Raymond (aka Tyreek) Munson ( 15), Jabarr (aka Killer Bee) Rosser (10). Completing the team was Greg Galster and Gregorio Simeones. The veteran Cowtown team consisted of Don Aikens, Amy VanIver, Justus Akran, Wendy Holler, Emory Dawes, George Mazzacano and Mark Stevens.
From the bowl-in the Philadelphia home team dominated the game. This was not a give away game to please the spectators. First to score was Chris Perren followed by a quick neck shot to goal for ten-year-old Jabarr Rosser. The crowd roared players names and jumped up and down each time a WR player gained possession of the ball or made a good defensive play. There was never a lull in the crowd the whole match. Dominance of the WTR team was aided by two goal Gregorio Simeones. Gracious and with skill Gregorio set plays in motion and the kids did the rest. The final score was 8 to 3 in favor of WTR. While some opponents grumbled under their breath about the over whelming WTR team they gave credit where credit due. Mantra of the day was Dont leave that kid alone!
You can contact WTR at (215) 877-4419 or visit the web site at www.worktoride.net for more information about this innovative program.