published Thursday, September 12th, 2013

'Extraordinary' polo set for Bendabout Farm — Sept. 14-15, 21-22

Polo action at Bendabout Farm the next two weekends may be at its highest level ever.
Polo action at Bendabout Farm the next two weekends may be at its highest level ever.
Photo by Allison Love.

IF YOU GO

• What: Polo matches

• When: 10 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 14 and 21; 2 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 15 and 22

• Where: Bendabout Farm, 3553 S. Lee Highway, McDonald, Tenn.

• Admission: Free

• Phone: 423-476-6602

• Website: bendabout.com

The polo curious will have a field day the next two weekends at Bendabout Farm in McDonald.

Not only will the sport return for its annual matches, but the level of play will be unprecedented, according to spokeswoman Kay Hutcherson.

When an all-United States team takes on an all-South African team this Saturday and Sunday, "the quality of the polo" will be the attraction, she says.

"This is polo Chattanooga has never seen before," Hutcherson says. "The level is extraordinary. It really and truly is. We just don't get an opportunity like this."

Among the players for the matches, she says, are Julio Arellano and area native Gillian Johnston, among the highest-rated male and female players, respectively, within the U.S. Polo Association.

The latter, according to Hutcherson, has her own polo horse breeding operation in Wyoming.

Johnston's "one heck of a polo player," she says. "She has a real eye for a horse. She's the best of the best."

Donations at this Sunday's match will benefit the 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., as they have for the past several years, according to Hutcherson.

Bendabout Farm and a team from the Army's 6th Cavalry, once stationed in Fort Oglethorpe, played matches from the mid-1930s until World War II began, alternating sites between the Army post and the farm.

While polo picked up at the farm between the 1950s and 1970s -- the post closed after the war -- matches open to the public did not begin until about 20 years ago, she says.

"There's such a history between Bendabout and the 6th Cav," Hutcherson says. "We do what we can to support [the museum]. We know they've got a lot going on."

There is no charge to attend either weekend. Parking also is free.

Although new bleachers are in place, they are expected to go quickly. Spectators are invited to bring folding chairs.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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