The rain-delayed final game of the Mack and Madelyn Jason Memorial was played on Sunday, January 22, on a rather cool and damp desert afternoon. In spite of the inhospitable conditions, Geoff Palmer’s Antelope group (Grant Palmer B, Santiago Trotz 5, Team USPA member Jared Sheldon 4, Rhandy Heredia A – sub for Geoff Palmer) didn’t let the weather cool them as they rode to victory by a count of 12-9 over Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni and her Cotterel Farms foursome (Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni A.5, Francisco Benardoni 1, Ruben Coscia 5, Matthew Fonseca 2).

It was obvious at the start that longtime Antelope quarterback Trotz did not let the below normal temperature and threatening rain affect his team; they kept their powder dry and took an immediate four-goal lead after chukker one – a lead that was never to be surrendered.

MVP Jared Sheldon.
Most Valuable Player Jared Sheldon (Team USPA) of Antelope.

Cotterel was able to close the gap to three in the second 6-3, but remained behind by that margin going to the half at 7-4. The fourth chukker was, once again, played even with the three-goal gap enduring to read 8-5. Cotterel jumped out in the fifth and narrowed the count to just one early on at 8-7, but Antelope responded with three of their own to just one other for the Idahoans. The differential was once again three 11-8, going to the final chukker. With the temperature falling, the sixth chukker was played even for the third time with each team scoring once. Antelope won the first tournament of the 2017 season.

Best Playing Pony Centasia.
Best Playing Pony Centasia played by Antelope’s Santiago Trotz.

For the winners, Sheldon in his Most Valuable Player role scored six times, four of which were penalty conversions, Trotz made four goals, and the aggressive Eldorado Junior Polo graduates Palmer and Heredia each scored once. The runner-up replies came from Fonseca with four, Coscia three and Benardoni scored one. A penalty 1 award filled out their card. Along with Sheldon receiving his well-earned accolade, Centasia played by Trotz in the fifth was selected as Best Playing Pony.

LUNA POLO EASILY WINS CARLTON AND KELEEN BEAL CUP

Carlton and Keleen Beal Cup winners Luna Polo.
Carlton and Keleen Beal Cup Winners: Luna Polo – Jennifer Alexy, Roisin Obrien, Diego Laregli, Ernesto Ezcurra, David Carlson.
Second place team Shore thing: Rodrigo Salinas, Abby Riggs, Malia McCoy and Lamar Rutherford.
Second place team Shore thing: Rodrigo Salinas, Abby Riggs, Malia McCoy and Lamar Rutherford.

Jennifer Alexy’s Luna Polo (Jennifer Alexy A.5, Roisin Obrien/Dave Carlson B, Diego Larregli 2, Ernesto Ezcurra 2, -Obrien played final) went through the qualifying round of the Carlton and Keleen Beal Cup rather easily without a loss. The January 22 final turned out to be the same, as they easily triumphed over Shore Thing/M1 Financial (Lamar Rutherford B, Malia McCoy 1, Abby Riggs A, Rodrigo Salinas 3) by a score of 6-4.5.

MVP Ernesto Ezcurra.
Most Valuable Player Ernesto Ezcurra of Luna Polo.

Having to give up a half goal handicap at the start did not impact Luna in the slightest as they took control at the onset of the game and controlled almost every aspect of the match. A first chukker lead of 1.5 and an equal advantage at the half became insurmountable after three chukkers at 6-1.5.  Shore Thing/M1 Financial scored three goals in the final chukker, but it was not nearly enough as Luna Polo grabbed the Beal Cup without trouble.

Best Playing Pony Marley.
Best Playing Pony Marley played by Jennifer Alexy of Luna Polo.

In the final, Ezcurra scored four times, two of which were penalty conversions, with Alexy and Larregli each scoring one. In reply, McCoy scored two, while Salinas and Riggs scored one apiece. Ezcurra was awarded Most Valuable Player and Marley, Alexy’s third chukker horse, was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.

Game coverage courtesy of Tony Gregg