BIG HORN — Charlie and Harry Caldwell have a special connection that shined through at the Sagebrush Open/Bucking King Memorial Sunday at the Big Horn Equestrian Center. The brothers know one another’s tendencies and strengths, and those attributes carried Ed Hammer Chevrolet to a 14-4 victory over R.R. Williams during the opening week of the Big Horn Polo Club season.
“We don’t even have to look or say anything, we just hit it,” Harry Caldwell said. “We know where each other is going to be.”
The Caldwell brothers grew up on a ranch in Coldwater, Tennessee, where they still live today. Each and every summer for 18 years, the two have made their way to the Bighorn Mountains and stayed at their grandfather’s cabin.
Until just a few years ago, Charlie and Harry Caldwell had never played polo. The brothers competed in polocrosse, a combination of lacrosse and polo, but had never given polo a spin.
After receiving encouragement from multiple parties, the two took a lesson in polo, and the skills learned in polocrosse translated quite well.
Tommy Wayman, a decorated polo player in his day, helped the Caldwell’s fine-tune their craft the last couple of summers, and the results showed Sunday.
“Tommy Wayman has been with us for about two years now and helping us every single day,” Charlie Caldwell said. “The credit has all got to go to him.”
Charlie Caldwell recorded a pair of first-chukka goals and Harry Caldwell added another as Ed Hammer Chevrolet staked itself an early 4-0 lead. After each split the uprights in the second chukka, Harry Caldwell matched his brother with a third first-half goal to give his team a 7-4 halftime edge.
Last week’s season-opening festivities were rained out, but no early-season woes hampered either of the Caldwell brothers. Harry Caldwell had practiced for weeks in Big Horn and his brother had recently arrived in Wyoming following polo competitions in Aiken, South Carolina.
“We’ve been playing since March, so coming into [Sunday] I knew we’d be OK,” Charlie Caldwell said.
Trent Passini increased Ed Hammer Chevrolet’s lead to 8-4, and instead of taking its foot of the gas, the team extracted any doubt from the final tally in the last 14 minutes.
“We just tried to keep it the same,” Charlie Caldwell said about his team’s approach with a four-goal lead. “We try not and change anything unless we’re losing.”
Ed Hammer Chevrolet exploded for six goals in the final two chukkas for a resounding win.
Charlie and Harry Caldwell finished with five goals apiece. Joseph, the horse ridden by Charlie, received Best Playing Pony honors and Ed Hammer Chevrolet’s Bob Brotherton garnered the Most Valuable Player award.
“For the first week, I thought we played really well,” Harry Caldwell said. “All the horses went well, and the field played good, and we played as a team really good.”
The Big Horn Polo Club continues its season July 1 with the Malcolm Wallup Trophy game at 1 p.m.