Dog Iron polo days at Will RogersBy Staff Report July 12, 2011
The Second Annual Dog Iron Polo Cup and Champagne Brunch, co-chaired by Diane Keaton and Dennis Quaid, will take place at the Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades. The event ― which raises funds for the park’s restoration and rehabilitation― is scheduled for Sunday, August 14.
The announcement was made through the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, a non-profit partner of Will Rogers State Historic Park that supports its preservation and maintenance and promotes the memory of actor and philanthropist Will Rogers.
The fundraising effort is underscored by the state’s intention to close 70 California state parks due to cost savings. Service reduction at the selected locations are set to begin this summer with closures starting in September; Will Rogers State Historic Park is not among the affected parks, which are due to be “locked” by July 1, 2012.
Will Rogers was a beloved American actor, humorist, writer and entertainer, as well as something of an unofficial U.S. ambassador to the world. Tragically, in 1935 he died in a plane crash at the age of 55. In 1944 his widow, Betty Rogers, donated their Pacific Palisades ranch home to the state of California to serve as a public memorial.
Although in the 1930s there were an estimated 25 polo fields in Los Angeles, including three of four at the Riviera Club (now the home of the Paul Revere High School), the one at Will Rogers Park is the last remaining grass polo field in the city.
It was graded by Will himself for friends like Spencer Tracy, Walt Disney and Clark Gable, to enjoy. Named after the brand used on Longhorn cattle at the historic Dog Iron Ranch in Oklahoma, where Rogers was born and learned to rope and ride, the Polo Cup promises to be a fast-paced match.
The funds from the event go directly back to Will Rogers State Historic Park, and will help ensure that the scenic trails, the tours of Will’s historic home and the equestrian atmosphere will continue to be available to the public as it has for the last 67 years. “Given the current budget crisis facing California and its impact on our State Parks, our fundraising efforts are more important than ever,” Will Rogers’ great-granddaughter and co- founder of the Foundation Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry said.
Last year’s sold-out event marked the 75th anniversary of Will’s death. Tickets for the Dog Iron Polo Cup and Champagne Brunch are $100 each, which includes two polo matches, brunch served with wine and champagne, the Veuve Clicquot Divot Stomp and parking. The festivities will also include a presentation of the colors by the Santa Monica Police Department’s Mounted Unit and a performance of horsemanship and roping by Tomás Garcilazo, Charro Tradicional.
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