From the Belmond El Encanto High Goal Challenge to the lead-line division of the Miguel Torres Memorial World Gym Junior Tournament, young players eagerly donned their whites and jumped on their horses to show off what they had learned in the past year. The annual Miguel Torres Memorial World Gym Junior Tournament began over 10 years ago at the Meeker property down the street from the Santa Barbara Polo Club. Jason Crowder, Jesse Bray, Patrick Uretz, Sterling Giannico and Santi Torres amongst others grew up playing in the tournament and are now competing at the highest levels across the country. This year 11 teams competed across four divisions ranging from 3 year olds on lead lines to the “Run and Gun” division which hosted several 1 goal players. Leon Denoso played in the leadline three summers ago and has worked his way up to the third division – playing two chukkers on the famous horse of Santi Trotz’ “Mambo.”
That afternoon the big kids got back in the saddle for the National Youth Tournament Series Qualifier. Charlie Walker, Bayne Bossom, Johnny Kirton and Lucas Escobar were named as All-Stars. “Diabla” owned by Bayne Bossom was named Best Playing Pony.
On Sunday, Santi Wulff, John Muse, Matt Walker, Hana Grill, Juan Monteverde and Anita Avendaño joined youngsters Lucitos Criado, Jazmin Trotz and Charlie Walker on the main field to compete for the Belmond El Encanto High Goal Challenge. Though there were plenty of smiles throughout the match, competition heated up in the final chukker of of the game. Anita Avendaño was named MVP and “Wicked” played by Charlie Walker was awarded Best Playing Pony.