By Sharon Robb
WELLINGTON, Fl., March 16, 2018---The $50,000 National 12-Goal final between Beverly Equestrian and GSA on Saturday at 3 p.m. will be played in memory of Steve Orthwein at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The renowned polo player inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 2011 and member of the Busch brewing family, died in his sleep early Monday morning surrounded by his family at his Wellington home. He was 72.
Orthwein, also a member of the St. Louis Hall of Fame, devoted much of his life to playing and contributing to polo. He was an international-level polo player who was captain of the Yale team that won back-to-back college titles in the 1960s.
In the 1970s, Orthwein was elected captain of the St. Louis Polo Club, a position he held for 30 years. He was president of the U.S. Polo Association (1988-1991) and chairman (1991-1995).
Orthwein served as Chairman of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame and was on the board and founding member of the Polo Training Foundation and International Polo Foundation. As FIP Ambassador, Orthwein hosted several international tournaments.
Known for his contagious laugh and larger than life smile, Orthwein was always the first to volunteer time and money to the sport he spent much of his life playing, not only in St. Louis but nationally and internationally for the U.S. His highest goal rating was six. At one time, he was also the highest rated amateur player in the U.S.
Among his numerous trophies won were the Butler Handicap in 1975 and 1979 with Good Hope Farms and Oak Brook; Monty Waterbury Cup in 1977 with Mallet Hill, 1997 National Copper Cup with the St. Louis Polo Team and three Midwest Regionals Classic wins in 1995, 1997 and 2001 with Huntleigh Oaks and Grant's Farm Manor.
In 1988, the USPA honored him with the Hugo Dalmar Sportsmanship Award, which is presented to an individual who exemplifies characteristics of sportsmanship inherent to the sport of polo.
Orthwein learned to ride and swing a mallet as a young boy growing up in a family where polo was a way of life. His father, Dolph Orthwein, taught Steve and his brothers Dolph Jr. and Peter much about horses and the game. In 1967, he won his first major USPA tournament, the USPA National 16-Goal, with his father, twin brother Peter and Benny Gutierrez.
In addition to the St. Louis Polo Club, Orthwein was also involved with Gulfstream Polo in both Delray Beach and Lake Worth. After Gulfstream closed, Orthwein developed a new haven for polo in Port Mayaca. The Port Mayaca Polo Club was founded in 2007 in Okeechobee.
Above all, Orthwein was a devoted husband, family man and friend to all who knew him. His infectious spirit and positive attitude brought joy wherever he went.
Orthwein was a great great-grandson of brewery founder Adolphus Busch, ad his grandmother, Clara Busch Orthwein, was a sister of August A. "Gussie" Busch Jr.
"Throughout one's life you encounter individuals who make a profound impact upon your life...Steve Orthwein was that person for so many in life and specifically the polo community," said Melissa Ganzi, USPA Florida Circuit Governor and Grand Champions President.
A "Celebration of Life" for Steve Orthwein will be held Saturday at the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Lake Worth. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. followed by the service at 7 p.m. All who knew Orthwein are invited to attend.
"All of us at the USPA along with the world of polo have lost one of our most honored and respected friends," USPA CEO Bob Puetz said. "Steve will be sorely missed but his contributions to the sport of polo, his legacy and memory will stay with us forever."
Orthwein is survived by Ginny, his wife of 42 years; his three sons, Stevie and wife Margaret; Robert and his wife Tiffany; and Danny; his four brothers, Dolph, Peter, David and Chris; and his granddaughter Hazel.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Stephen Orthwein to any of the following organizations:
Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, 9011 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 33467.
Polo Players Support Group, 11924 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 10-A-287, Wellington, FL 33414.
Polo Training Foundation, 70 Clinton Street, Tully, NY 13159.
Ralph G. Dacey, Jr., MD Distinguished Professorship in Neurological Surgery, Washington University, David Blasingame, Campus Box 1101, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63130.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the championship final between defending champion GSA and Beverly Equestrian.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.
The club features monthly 6, 8 and 12-goal tournaments and women's weekly league play during the winter season in addition to two 16-20 tournaments, $50,000 National 12 Goal, $100,000 World Cup winner-take-all 0-40-goal tournament, WCT Tournament and USPA National President's Cup.
During the 2017 winter season Grand Champions attracted a record 72 teams and another 18 teams during the spring season.
Grand Champions caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Club Hotline is 561-644-5050. It will be updated every day at 8 a.m. for both players and fans.