World Gym (Melanja Jones, Claudia Uretz, Tony Uretz and Tom Shurman) came away as the ultimate winner of the Last Chance Tournament. Named after the Last Chance Bar in Big Horn, Wyoming, the Last Chance Tournament is the last hoorah of the grass season at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. Eight teams comprised of players from across California and beyond showed up to compete. With a horse show taking place on the grounds and a lively asado on Saturday night, there was plenty of activity to close out the season.
The eight teams were divided into two playoff brackets, with the winners advancing to a four-team round-robin final. The winner of the first two chukkers and the winner of the third and fourth chukker played against each other in the final seventh and eighth chukker to determine the winner of the tournament.
On Saturday, Ask Abby defeated Continental Polo, Pacific Polo Tour defeated Brisa Mare, HYT Polo defeated Sandalford and World Gym secured the final spot in the final by defeating LV Polo.
After defeating HYT Polo, World Gym faced Pacific Polo Tour for a competitive final two chukkers, dubbed the “Ultimate Final.” The exemplary teamwork displayed by World Gym set the foursome apart. Pacific Polo Tour had the benefit of having one of the highest rated players in the tournament, but Melanja Jones and Claudia Uretz shut down his attempts at an offensive rally. Combined with the efforts of Tony Uretz and Tom Sherman, World Gym pushed ahead, relying on each other to keep the ball moving forward.
The World Gym team focused on scoring one goal at a time, and their strategy paid off as they rode off the field with megawatt smiles. “Canuela” played by Melanja Jones and owned by Central Coast Polo Club was awarded Best Playing Pony. MVP Tony Uretz had the privilege of playing, and winning, alongside his mother. Uretz said, “The best part of this Last Chance Tournament wasn’t winning, or even winning MVP, but rather being able to play polo with my mom.” The four players of the World Gym tournament unanimously agreed, “Part of the fun was we played four-man polo!”
Luke Klentner was recognized at the trophy presentation for playing in all levels of polo from 16 Goal to the Last Chance Tournament at Santa Barbara Polo Club in 2018.