A Vibrant Opening Weekend at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

The air was electric as the first ball was bowled in for the start of the 2018 Folded Hills Pope Challenge 12 Goal Tournament. The fieldside cabanas and the Engel & Volkers stadium were filled with polo enthusiasts looking to cheer on their favorite player and team. Farmers & Merchants Bank featured a lineup similar to last year, Dan Walker (2), Felipe Viana (5), Leigh Brecheen (A) played alongside Marcos Bignoli (4) and faced off against the Antelope squad HIlario Figueras (2), Peke Gonzalez (5), Santi Trotz (5) and Geoff Palmer (A).

After falling short to Klentner Ranch in the first round of play, Farmers & Merchants Bank quickly found their stride in the first chukker with team captain Felipe Viana leading the charge with three quick goals. Trotz broke the momentum momentarily, putting the first tally on the board for Antelope. Bignoli drew next blood, pushing FMB into a 5-1 lead early in the second chukker. Young Figueras took control of the scoreboard for the remainder of the chukker and into the third, putting the next three marks on the board for Antelope closing the gap to 6-4 in favor of FMB as the team rode into halftime.

Walker jumped out in front after halftime, scoring his second goal of the game, but Antelope began edging back into the game as Farmers & Merchants Bank was unable to maintain their fast pace of the first half. Trotz expertly converted a penalty four to keep his team within two goals of the lead. Viana pushed forwards once again with his fourth goal of the match, but Antelope answered back with two goals of their own. The sixth and final chukker swung in favor of Antelope, ending with the final score 10-9.

For Santi Trotz, playing alongside Peke Gonzalez has been a heart-warming experience. “I played with Mariano [Gonzalez] for many years in Santa Barbara and I remember holding Peke as a baby on this field – and now I am playing with him! It was a very good weekend for the Antelope organization.”

Chukker 1 4 | 1 FMB (began with handicap)

Chuker 2 6 | 2 FMB

Chukker 3 6 | 4 FMB

Chukker 4 7 | 5 FMB

Chukker 5 8 | 7 FMB

Chukker 6 10 | 9 Antelope

Folded Hills Pope Challenge

Round 1

Klentner Ranch def. Farmers & Merchants Bank 12-8

Antelope Jr. def. Antelope 13-8

Round 2

Antelope Jr. def. Klentner Ranch 12-11

Antelope def. Farmers & Merchants Bank 10-9

Team Rosters

Antelope Jr.

Grant Palmer A

Jim Wright 3

Felipe Vercellino 6

Herndon Radcliff 3

Klentner Ranch

Luke Klentner A

Jesse Bray 5

Santi Wulff 5

Justin Klentner 1

Antelope

Hilario Figueras 2

Peke Gonzalez 5

Santi Trotz 5

Geoff Palmer A

Farmers & Merchants Bank

Dan Walker 2

Marcos Bignoli 4

Felipe Viana 5

Leigh Brecheen A