URI to host international polo match in Sept. 2012

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 28, 2011 – The pageantry of polo will be featured at the University of Rhode Island next Fall thanks to a new partnership with the Cavison Polo Group of Providence, R.I. On Sept. 15, 2012, an international, professional polo match will be held on the Kingston Campus fields along Plains Road.

Steven E. Courville, a Providence police sergeant and president of Cavison, has been working with University officials to plan the international tournament and its related programs.

“We were drawn initially to the University by its athletic fields, but as we began talking with President (David M.) Dooley and Vice President (Robert M.) Beagle, we realized this would create wonderful opportunities for alumni and students,” said Courville. “This is bigger than the polo tournament itself; with a fashion show, meet-and-greet events with the players and a series of special student events. We are lining up several key international teams and sponsors to help fund the events and to support URI student scholarships as well.”

“Steve’s idea for URI to host a polo match in Southern Rhode Island generated a buzz among campus leaders right away,” URI Vice President for University Advancement Robert Beagle said. “For us to attract such a prestigious international event is something that builds on our reputation as a worldwide leader that embraces a wide range of cultures and experiences. That this event is going to benefit students directly through scholarship assistance and hands-on experiences is a bonus. We are grateful to Steve and his group for working with us to build an event that will be enjoyable and beneficial to our entire campus community and the State of Rhode Island.”

The event will provide opportunities for students to be involved in all phases of the program – from business planning, marketing and public relations, event management, turf grass management and sustainability issues. He expects the events to draw about 4,000 spectators.

A seasoned polo player and an experienced mounted police officer for the Providence Police Department, Courville explained that a polo team consists of four riders and their horses. Using mallets, the players try to drive a small, white ball through goals 24 feet wide and 8 feet high. A graduate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Riding Academy, Courville is a 1992 graduate of Rhode Island College.

Courville said he has already enlisted a lead event sponsor — Kiel James Patrick, owner of the brand bearing his name and the company that makes handcrafted clothing and accessories in Rhode Island. His products are sold in more than 200 stores worldwide.

“We are fully on board,” said Patrick who grew up in Warwick. “Polo is right on par with our demographic, which includes targeting high-end resorts like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. We seek the type of customer who appreciates classic lifestyle and living.

“Polo will immerse students in this lifestyle that combines European and classic New England elements,” Patrick said. “As a retailer, I can think of nothing more exciting than bringing a polo match to a University. Because I was helped along by some wonderful mentors, I would also love to work with URI business students.”

To generate interest in the match and related activities, Courville said he’d like to hold a launch party in the next month or so. Details will be released as they are finalized.

“We’d like to make polo part of the culture here, and we are interested in starting a club program at URI,” Courville said.

He has connected with URI turf scientists and they are developing a special polo mixture of grass seed that could be sold on the market. “It would be a hearty blend that would also have an element of prestige. Imagine URI Polo Blend seed.”

For more information about the event, visit www.cavisonpolo.com or contact Steve Courville at 401-641-4926.