Three years ago, Jeff Boeh borrowed an earth scraper and spent $3,000 on grass seed to build the Quad City area's first polo field at his family's farm in Bettendorf, IA. In need of teammates, Boeh invited friends over to give the equestrian sport a try.
Mike Garner, a farmer from nearby Le Claire, was instantly enthralled. “You're galloping 20-25 mph and leaning over to try to hit a ball with a mallet — that's a real challenge,” says Garner, who grows 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans. Garner is now one of seven members of the Quad City Polo Club (QCPC) which Boeh founded.
A polo game matches two teams of four riders attempting to hit a ball across the opposing team's goal line. There are six, seven-minute periods or “chukkers” per game. When the QCPC held its first open house, about 1,100 curious spectators turned out to cheer on riders from Peoria, IL; St. Louis, MO; and Madison, WI.
Boeh's two sons, AJ, 12, and Logan, 7, help keep the horses in shape, and AJ is now practicing with the club. Boeh's wife Marcy is also learning to play. “It's a family affair,” Boeh says.
Sadly, the QCPC faced a difficult setback this past April when a barn fire claimed three of the club's seven horses and destroyed most of its gear. But Boeh's dream of polo in his community prevails. Two new horses have been purchased, practice has resumed and the club hosted a charity match in August at the Boeh farm.
Learn more at www.quadcitiespoloclub.com.