The 27th Annual Harriman Cup, presented by Robert Redd, took place on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at the Meadowbrook Polo Club. International polo star Nacho Figueras was on hand to accept the inaugural Harriman Cup Award, along with Meadowbrook Co-Chairman Luis Rinaldini and his wife Julie Rinaldini. The Harriman Cup Award is given to honor leadership, public service, and outstanding dedication to the sport of polo. In addition to the commemorative Galway crystal award, the Harriman Cup’s Match Sponsor, Robert Redd, created custom watercolor prints for the 2011 honorees, painted by company president Robert Matheson’s father, Charles Matheson.
The day started out with a Pre-Game Bike Polo Match lead by Bicycle Polo Association founder Bill Matheson. As the University of Virginia and Yale teams lined up on the field, Metropolitan Opera tenor Gary Pate performed a rousing rendition of the Star Bangled Banner, followed by a moment of silence in honor of the 10th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. The alumni polo teams fought a heated match, but in the end, the UVa team was triumphant, with a final score of 6 to 5. Yale teammate Chip Steigler was designated the match MVP, and Theresa, a chestnut Argentine mare, the Best Playing Pony.
Over 1,000 revelers attended the polo match, and the first 500 received free colorful shades courtesy of Knockaround Sunglasses. After the polo awards ceremony, Chukker Sponsor J.McLaughlin gave away bags filled with numerous prizes for the most fashionable attendees. Julie McLaughlin handed the Best Outfit prize to Doug Berman who was donning his dad’s stylish red plaid blazer. Amelia Osborne and Chris Beck won for Best Tailgate, while Lydia Tower won for Best Hat. Besides gifts courtesy of Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Glamour Magazine, and a Michael Jackson CD from Epic Records, Ms. Tower also walked away with beautiful couture hat courtesy of Peter Beaton Studio of Nantucket. Yet perhaps the happiest party-goer of all was Alison Twiss, whose raffle ticket won her a free polo lesson with Nacho Figueras.
The funds raised from the polo tournament benefits the undergraduate polo teams at both the University of Virginia (the current Men’s National Champions) and Yale. It will also help rebuild Yale’s collegiate polo program after the 2009 closure of the historic Yale Armory.
The Harriman Cup was founded in 1984 to commemorate the life of W. Averell Harriman, a 1913 Yale graduate and polo player, who was the former Governor of New York, former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Truman.