Forbes Plunkett


Today, Saturday, January 13, the first leg of the NPC 16-Goal Championship gets underway with the start of the Joe Barry Memorial.

The Joe Barry Memorial was founded in 2005 in honor of Joe Barry, who passed away in 2002. Inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1999, his major wins included six U.S. Open Polo Championship titles, three USPA Gold Cup titles, and the 1971 Coronation Cup in England.

Following the inaugural 16-Goal Super-Series Championship, an innovative effort to draw more teams into medium-goal competition, the battle for the championship continues in 2024 under a new moniker NPC 16-Goal Championship.

The Joe Barry Memorial will serve as the first qualifying leg of four prestigious national tournaments (Ylvisaker Cup, Iglehart Cup, Outback Cup) culminating in the NPC 16-Goal Championship. Qualifiers will be played across multiple clubs, with the championship final hosted on Sunday, April 14 at the National Polo Center – Wellington (NPC). Participating clubs include Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida) and the Wellington Polo Tour (WPT) led by Patagones Polo Club (Wellington, Florida) and a series of private fields falling under the WPT umbrella.

Each of the four national tournaments serve as a qualifier for the NPC 16-Goal Championship, with each winning team moving on to the final event. Should a team win more than one qualifier, that team will automatically advance to the NPC 16-Goal Championship.

To reinforce the idea that all participation is encouraged, players may compete in as many events as they would like on either the same team or on different teams. Yet, if a player triumphs in more than one event but on different teams, that player must choose which team he or she would like to compete in the NPC 16-Goal Championship and the other team may use a substitute. Qualifying teams must maintain at least two of their original members in order to play in the Championship.

The Joe Barry Memorial will be guaranteed three Sunday matches (January 14, 21 and 28) on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One.

In 2023, Iconica (Maureen Brennan, Mariano ‘Peke’ Gonzalez, Lucas ‘Luckitas’ Criado Jr., Santos Merlos) began their spectacular 16-1 season with a victory against BTA (Kelly Beal, Ignacio ‘Nachi’ Viana, Jesse Bray, Steve Krueger). Iconica’s tenacity despite BTA’s second half success ultimately helped the team capture the Joe Barry Memorial for the first time with a 12-11 win. Read article here.

Hosted and managed by Port Mayaca Polo Club (PMPC), this year’s competition will field eight competitive teams vying for a new victor and opportunity to advance to the NPC 16-Goal Championship including BTA, Catamount, Forbes Plunkett, Las Brisas, La Fe/Dazos, Palm Beach Equine, Patagones and SD Farms/Old Hickory Bourbon.

Representing Team USPA are Active Members Kristos “Keko” Magrini (Catamount), Lucas Escobar (Forbes Plunkett), Jack Whitman (Patagones), Graduating Member Nicolas “Nico” Escobar (Forbes Plunkett) and alumnus Steve Krueger (BTA).

Port Mayaca Polo Club will be taking advantage of the USPA’s Bridge to High Goal Initiative (B2HG) for the Joe Barry Memorial, which provides eligible USPA Member Clubs three USPA Professional Umpires (two mounted officials and one third man) at 50% of the regular cost to the club.

The Bridge to High Goal Initiative (B2HG) has been created to support polo between 12 and 16 goals. The goal of the program is to build a bridge from low-goal polo to high-goal polo that provides a safe environment for competition which will allow for the cultivation of team owners and the advancement of aspiring professionals.

**See below for the full list of teams/rosters:

Bracket I
• BTA (x) – Ignacio “Nachi” Viana (6), Steve Krueger (5), Alfonso Pieres (5), Kelly Beal (0)
• Forbes Plunkett (x) – Brandon Plunkett (0), Nicolas “Nico” Esobar (5), Felipe “Pipe” Vercellino (7), Lucas Escobar (4)
• Palm Beach Equine (x) – Antonio Aguerre (2), Dylan Rossiter (6), Raul “Gringo” Colombres (8), Scott Swerdlin (0)
• SD Farms/Old Hickory Bourbon (x) – Sayyu Dantata (1), Cesar “Peco” Polledo (6), Steve Orthwein (3), Mariano “Nino” Obregon (6)
Bracket II
• La Fe/Dazos (x) – David Farache (0), Roberto “Robi” Bilbao (6), Francisco Elizalde (9), Louis Devaleix (1)
• Las Brisas (x) – Larry Aschebrook (1), Juan Martin Gutierrez (3), Matias Obregon (4), Juan Martin Obregon (6)
• Patagones (x) – Jack Whitman, Joaquin Avendaño (4), Edward Banner-Eve (5), Santiago Wulff (5)
• Catamount (x) – Scott Devon (0), Rufino Merlos (3), Kristos “Keko” Magrini (6), Lucas “Luckitas” Criado Jr. (7)

**Lucas Escobar, Jack Whitman and Kristos “Keko” Magrini are Active Team USPA Members. Nicolas “Nico” Escobar is a Graduating Team USPA Member. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
**All team rosters are subject to change.

Joe Barry Memorial matches at 3:00pm ET on Sunday, January 14, Sunday, January 21 and the final on Sunday, January 28 will be livestreamed exclusively on the USPA Polo Network.