33 stalls out of commission after winds ripped off roof
By Nicole Brown, Staff Writer, The Times
NEW GARDEN – Last April, tragedy struck the Brandywine Polo Club when tornado-force winds ripped the roof off its main barn.
There were no horses in the barn at the time, as the polo season hadn’t begun yet, but because the season wasn’t in session, the club did not have insurance on the barn, and the damage was devastating.
Polo school manager Robin Bostwick explained that the barn had 33 stalls and was the main location on the property where the polo school players housed their horses.
“We have other stabling, but to lose 33 stalls is very difficult,” Bostwick said.
The barn was built in 1966 after a fire burned down the original wooden barn. The Bobby Jones Memorial is in honor of the horses that were lost in that tragedy.
After the fire, the barn was rebuilt in cinder blocks, in effort to prevent another fire, but no one expected the wind to destroy it.
The majority of the roof landed in the arena on the property and knocked down the announcers stand. But Bostwick said debris covered over a half mile of the property.
The destruction was first discovered by a group of lacrosse players who arrived at the fields on the club’s property for a tournament. The players, along with polo students, the club staff and other members of the community, worked for weeks to clean up the debris.
“It was absolutely amazing to see how the community pitched in,” Bostwick said.
She said the biggest problem was the aluminum nails all over the ground, presenting a danger to the horses. A local metal detector club volunteered to find and pick up the nails, which was a blessing to the polo club.
“Trying to get that up by hand would have been impossible,” Bostwick said.
The arena has been rebuilt, but the barn will cost over $100,000 to rebuild. Bostwick said they have raised about 25 to 30 percent already.
To help raise the rest of the money, the club is hosting “The Polo Ball” on Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Yellow House of Willowdale, in Kennett Square. The evening will be Gatsby-themed and include food catered by Outback Steakhouse, dancing, live music and a silent auction. All proceeds from the event will go towards the repair of the barn.
More information can be found on the website.
The club is thankful for all the donations it has already received and appreciates any more.
“Brandywine has traditionally done a lot of benefits, and helped raised a lot of money for fund-raisers for other people, so it’s just nice to see people returning the favor,” Bostwick said.
Bostwick also wants to remind the public that the club is open on Fridays and Sundays for people to come tailgate, watch polo matches, and enjoy an afternoon outside.