The Polo Report
By Steve Crowder.

Bud Dardi was one of the nicest men on this planet. He was without a doubt one of the most well-known and popular polo players on the West Coast.  Bud was known  for being a super tough Patron and as one person said “a real warrior of the game.”

Bud was not a big guy and never loud or mean.  He had an even flow, no matter if he was winning or losing, but you knew he was never happy with losing. He loved his horses and made many of them. Bud played them from 0 goal to 20 goal. He was game to get it on.

Bud was so damn tough you would have thought he was a steel worker. I saw him hurt many times … in cast, wheel chairs, crutches and once with his jaw wired shut. That time I knew he was double tough.  Bud broke his jaw in a Wed. game in the 12-goal, which put us in the finals with one other game to play. He sat our on Fri. We lost our first game of that season and were all talking about finals and Bud came up and said no Jaw “I am playing in the finals.”

We all thought, yes, maybe a chukker or less. Well this was when I knew he was quietly, maybe the toughest man I knew. He played as hard as anyone and never said anything. And we won easy. Bud was still able to celebrate with Champagne and a straw at the Trophy Table. It was one of the best moments of my life. We won and we had my son about 2 weeks old in the Trophy Cup.

Bud was not only tough and a player, he was genuinely a hell of a good person. He helped People out no matter the problem. He did the best he could and it was almost all they needed. Bud was one of the Leaders in CA Polo.  He was involved with every big club…  started Santa Rosa, was active in Santa Barbara when they needed a lot of help, Eldorado when it started and San Diego when it opened its doors. He was one of the oldest active members of The Rancheros in the San Ynez Valley, a main man in the Sonoma Trail Blazers and the Frontier Boys.  There are all huge Men’s riding groups. Bud was winner many times in the California Distance riding and 100 miles’ ride. Once rode 100 miles in 11 hours and 18 minutes to set a record.

Bud was also involved in the Junior Polo program.  He always ended horses and money to Pee Wee Polo all the way to FIP.   Bud even did timing and horse checking at several of the World Cups. He spent 2 weeks in ’98 helping put the World Cup on in Santa Barbara.

As a Person all the wives loved him and the children as well. He always knew their names and had a MacDonald’s sticker for them, as this was his real-life business in Northern California. Bud came out of Santa Rosa with a bunch of polo people who we all knew of …. Mac Jason, the Little Giant Henry Trione, Jack Conant, Pete Gillman, Vic Graber  and several others, but they made Polo in No Ca.  I am not sure how Bud got into Polo growing up where he did, but I am sure as hell glad he did. If there was ever a MAN who meant what he said in was BUD DARDI and you could take it home with you.

Bud joins most of his Wild Bunch up there it the big gates and they should have a very good time. Bud lives on at the Polo fields as many of his horses are still playing. Jason has 2 Redhead and Dardi and Dardi is a star @ IPC. Bud leaves a lot of women behind both related and past wives,  but it was a HELL OF A RIDE! Gone but not forgotten.



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