Jesse Bray Wins Prestigious Equus & Co. Award
Four-goaler Jesse Bray, who has made his mark on the West Coast, traveled 3,000 miles to receive the prestigious Equus & Co. Award, which honors the Team USPA player who best exemplifies the program’s principles, which includes leadership and a commitment to growing the sport.
The 21-year-old Bray received a check for $10,000 and a unique belt buckle designed by Jim Whisenand, the Equus & Co. Chairman and CEO whose vision helped launch the award, in a post-match ceremony following the Maserati U.S. Open quarterfinal game between Coca-Cola and Lechuza Caracas at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, FL.
“This is one of our signature eventsLive and one of the best ways to honor our players who represent the program and the sport every day,” said Team USPA Program Director Kris Bowman. The Equus & Co. Award has been awarded since 2011. “Having the three finalists at IPC to watch the best players in the world is part of their learning process to become a complete polo player.”
Finalists Lucas Reid, a 1-goaler who grew up in Firth, Idaho and now lives near Seattle, and 3-goaler Will Tankard of Aiken each received a check for $1,000.
“I was really excited, very happy,” said Bray, who spent the money less than 48 hours later as a final payment on a new horse. “I bought the horse in March in Indio and he will help my string along.”
Bray, who was named MVP of the 20th annual Skins Game in March, will be playing in California throughout the summer, including the 12-goal in Santa Barbara in May and June. He has his sights set on playing high-goal polo in the near future as he continues to improve his string.
Bray has been involved in polo almost his entire life, playing in the peewee and junior programs at Eldorado Polo Club where his father, Graham, is a professional polo player and club manager.
Last summer in Santa Barbara, he captured top honors in the 12-goal USPA Intra-Circuit Cup with Can-Can and the 12-goal Vic Graber with Antelope, where he also earned the MVP award. He also won the USPA Spreckles Cup in San Diego and finished it off by being selected as winner of the prestigious Willis Allen award, which recognizes the top all-around player, sportsman and horseman under 25 years- old.
Bray has been on winning teams since 2010, when he was a part of the Eldorado Polo Club team that won the USPA National Interscholastic Championship. Bray is also a four-time winner of the Western Regional Interscholastic Tournament.
“Jesse has been trying to make his way east to Florida for his entire career,” said Bowman. “This award and trip to IPC has literally helped him get his foot in the door. I think the East Coast is going to see a lot more of Jesse.”
Past Equus & Co. award winners include Nick Snow (2013), Jorge Estrada (2012) and Steve Krueger (2011).