Polo community mourns player killed in Aiken County crash
SALLEY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The polo community is mourning one of its own who died in a single-car crash over the weekend in Aiken County.
Professional polo player Delmer Walton, 39, of Blackville, died at the scene of a crash that happened around 3 a.m. Saturday on Surrey Race Road near Kittery Street just southwest of Salley.
With deep family roots in polo, he won the 2005 U.S. Open and owned Walton Farm Polo, a breeding and training business in Blackville.
The Aiken Polo Club noted that Walton was a third-generation polo player on both sides of his family who grew up in the sport and became a respected professional player, trainer, and breeder.
He was a mainstay of the Aiken Polo Club and played in essentially every tournament the club offered and usually made it to the final field where he was frequently named the MVP.
“Along with being a talented polo professional, Del was a devoted father, a lover of animals, and person of great energy and passion who lived his life to the fullest,” the club said in a statement. “His loss leaves an immense void in the polo community and in the lives of those who knew and loved him.”
Members of the polo community are sharing their grief on social media.
“So heartbroken for the loss of Del – for his family and forth epolo community at large. He was such a great guy and player and will be dearly missed,” said Anna Flournoy.
John Brumbaugh called his death “a huge loss to the polo community.”
“I never knew if the phone call was to give me a hard time or was to play a joke,” said Aiken Polo Club Manager Tiger Kneece.
Del was a name sung high and low in Aiken.
“Him, his wife, and his kids were part of the fabric of the Aiken Polo Club and the polo community,” he said.
An avid horseman since he was young, Del jumped into the saddle and into polo stardom.
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He hit the pitch for the Aiken Polo Club, New Bridge Polo Club and attended tournaments across the United States.
“He was always participating and the best polo on the best horses with some of the best players and at the best clubs as well,” he said.
When he wasn’t holding a mallet, Del had his hands full.
“His reach not only was all over the united states as far as playing as a professional but also the horse farm and raising and training of the polo ponies that him and his wife managed and ran. His horses were also scattered all across the united states just as well as him playing.
But most of all he was a father, a husband, and a friend.
“It’s a very special and unique thing he was able to accomplish,” said Kneece.
Walton died after a 2004 Toyota Highlander sport utility was traveling east when it left the roadway, hit a tree, and overturned.
Walton wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the SUV in the crash, according to Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables. He died from blunt-force injuries.
The Aiken County Coroner’s Office and South Carolina Highway Patrol are continuing with the investigation and a toxicology analysis is pending.
He is survived by his wife, Tessa; three young sons, David, Cal, and Harrison; as well as his mother, Robin Carroll-Bostwick; his father, Rob Walton; his sister, Laura Bostwick; and his stepfather Rick Bostwick.
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