The first Southwestern Circuit women’s polo tournament of 2019 was played at South Padre Island Polo Club (SPI) in South Padre Island, Texas, January 5. Players traveled from San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley and Northeast Texas to play at a waterside location in front of a crowd in the 0- to 4-goal USPA Women’s Challenge.

San Antonio Polo Club (SAPC) was represented by Ursula Pari, Georgia Stone, Stella Stone and Stephanie Franke. South Padre Island Polo Club players included Keala Panzarini, Devan Groves, Abigayle McVaney, Robin Sanchez and Rebecca Seales.

Most Valuable Player Keala Panzarini pictured with USPA Governor-at-Large Steve Armour and Melissa Panzarini.
Most Valuable Player Keala Panzarini pictured with USPA Governor-at-Large Steve Armour and Melissa Panzarini.

Devan Groves owned the first chukker for the SPI team with three goals. Ursula Pari then took ownership of the second chukker with a goal for San Antonio while her teammates held SPI at bay. In the third, SAPC put two on the scoreboard while Abi McVaney tallied one for SPI leaving her team barely holding a lead going into the final chukker. In the fourth, Keala Panzarini and Robin Sanchez scored five additional goals between them to shoot South Padre Island into the winners circle. Keala Panzarini was awarded Most Valuable Player, Abi McVaney received the Sportsmanship Award and Ursula Pari’s grey India won Best Playing Pony.

Best Playing Pony India, pictured with USPA Governor-at-Large Steve Armour and Ursula Pari.
Best Playing Pony India, pictured with USPA Governor-at-Large Steve Armour and Ursula Pari.

“Playing at the South Padre Island Polo Club was an unforgettable experience,” said Devan Groves, who played for the first time at SPI. “Growing up in Illinois, I have never had the opportunity to play right along the beach and I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the grounds are. Of course, the experience of playing polo at South Padre would not have been possible without the incredible dedication of Pud Nieto. Pud makes you feel like family as soon as you come to his club and has been one of the most hospitable people I have ever met. Not only does Pud put on wonderful tournaments, but he also offers polo ponies for lessons and lease. I had the privilege of playing Chula and Pokey in both the Women’s Challenge and the Amateur Cup and they were a lot of fun to play. I can’t wait to play at South Padre Polo Club again in the future!”

This tournament was the first in the 2019 Mid-Continent Women’s Polo Series. The series plays both arena and outdoor USPA women’s polo tournaments in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas at multiple clubs including: New Orleans, Central Texas Polo Association, NWA, Houston, Midland, Dallas, Willow Bend, Oklahoma City, South Padre Island and East Texas polo clubs with more being added. If you are interested in participating in any of these women’s events please contact the individual clubs and check their Facebook pages for schedules and information.

All photos ©murrellphoto.com