Polo match benefits the Nave Museum

mcIt’s a sport where man becomes one with his horse.

Both appear to be in sync as they race for the wooden ball and slam it into its target.

Polo has been around for a century in the United States, and for even longer around the world, but at least once a year, the sport ventures into the Crossroads as a way to raise money for the Nave Museum.

Polo committee member, Julie McCan, said the event is an exciting sight to see, with athletic horses and players swiftly moving among one another.

“It’s just beautiful,” she said. “We have about 300 yards of space at the ranch. You see the horses running back and forth. It’s a lot of space, so they are not just jumbled in one space. They love it.”

The Nave Museum has held the fundraiser continuously for the last decade, but has been bringing Polo to the area since around 1983. McCan said the sport is similar to “hockey on horses,” with players hitting the ball into target goals.

“Four people play against each other on horses,” she said. “They have these long sticks, and every time someone hits the ball it’s really exciting. You hear these thundering hooves and see so much action.”

And it was McCan’s husband, Bob McCan, who thought of a Polo match annual fundraiser as a way to monetarily support the museum, which has been dear to the family for many years.

With more than four decades of polo experience, Bob McCan knew how to organize the teams.

“My husband, his father and college friends come play at the ranch. Then Bob got more involved in tournaments around the state of Texas,” Julie McCan said. “We were thinking about trying to come up with something to do to make money” and decided polo would be good fit for the Nave.

While horses seem to run free and quickly around the field, McCan said the sport is tightly regulated and controlled to ensure safety.

This year will be the first time the event will be sanctioned by the United States Polo Association. Umpires from the organization will come to Victoria and regulate the game, she said.

“We are so terribly excited that the ranch will be part of the polo club,” she said. “We hope it will bring more of the sport to the area.”

More than 400 attended the match last year, and McCan said she hopes the event attracts even more people this year.

If bad weather conditions continue in the Crossroads, McCan said the ranch will hold its usual tailgate, which includes 14 trucks of the finest fare.

“Even if the weather conditions mean we cant play polo, we still are going to have a party,” she said.