2019 SOUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT OFFICERS CUP
The 2019 Southwestern Circuit Officers Cup prize money tournament was full of excitement, with cash on the line, and seven strong teams, it took more than just luck to qualify for the final on Thursday, May 30 at Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. BTA and ML Bar Ranch showed consistency and strong teamwork throughout the tournament which brought them to the beautiful Pecan Acres polo field for the final. Husband and wife, KC and Steve Krueger* both scored in the first to place BTA ahead over ML Bar Ranch, as ML Bar Ranch’s Drew Luplow responded with one goal of his own. In the second chukker, Steve Krueger and Alejandro Gonzalez added two more goals from the field, followed by a Penalty 1 in favor of BTA as ML Bar Ranch was held scoreless. BTA ahead 5-1 moving into the third, each team scored a goal apiece ending the first half in favor of BTA who maintained a four-goal lead and walked off the field with confidence.
Drew Luplow was awarded Most Valuable Player.
ML Bar Ranch used halftime to regroup. Fox Benton, ML Bar Ranch team owner, secured the first point in the second half and spectators could sense a change in momentum. Gonzalez responded with another goal for BTA, but after being awarded a Penalty 4, which Cody Ellis* sent high and through the posts, ML Bar Ranch began an impressive comeback. Most Valuable Player, Luplow, scored back-to-back goals in the fifth to tie the score 7-all. A true comeback, each team had an equal chance at the prize money moving into the final chukker. ML Bar Ranch came ahead for the first time in the game in the sixth, Whistle Uys, on Best Playing Pony Tornado, scoring three goals to put his team ahead, Ellis adding another to the tally. Gonzalez scored a final goal for BTA, a beautiful 60-yard field goal in the last seconds of play as the final horn sounded. Nevertheless, ML Bar Ranch came out with the win 11-8 exemplifying the idea that a game is never over until it is over.
Best Playing Pony was awarded to Graymar Farm homebred Tornado, played by Whistle Uys in the sixth chukker. The award was presented by Celebrity Cruises representative Kyle Bodden. Pictured with Uys are Julio Cesar Telon, Elijah Uys, Adrian Romero Hernandez, and Sandro Manuel Diaz.
2019 SOUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT PLAYERS CUP
2019 Southwestern Circuit Players Cup Champions: ML Bar Ranch – Drew Luplow, Cody Ellis, Fox Benton, Abby Benton.
Emerging finalists in the Southwestern Circuit Players Cup, BTA and ML Bar Ranch met on Sunday, May 26. Coming out strong in the first half, ML Bar Ranch’s impressive offensive tactics ultimately carried them through the game, securing the win 6-4.
BTA’s Alejandro Gonzalez and Cody Ellis of ML Bar Ranch battle for possession.
Both teams scoring a goal each in the first chukker, the level playing field would not remain for long as ML Bar Ranch took an early command of the game. Starting off the series of goals, Drew Luplow opened the second with one from the field, closely followed by another from teammate Fox Benton. Finding their rhythm in the second, ML Bar Ranch dominated the chukker, leaving BTA scoreless, picking up two additional goals off the mallet of Cody Ellis to end the half 5-1. Continuing their powerful drive into the second half, Luplow delivered ML Bar Ranch’s fifth unanswered goal before BTA was able to retaliate with two of their own. Headed into the final chukker down by three, BTA defended their goal well in the fourth, preventing their opponents from scoring a single goal. Capitalizing on a Penalty 3, Tiffany Orthwein seized the final goal of the day, conceding the victory to ML Bar Ranch 6-4.
*Steve Krueger is a Team USPA alumni. Cody Ellis is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
All photos courtesy of ©Kaylee Wroe Photography.HOUSTON POLO CLUB
2019 Southwestern Circuit Officers Cup Champions: ML Bar Ranch – Whistle Uys, Cody Ellis, Drew Luplow, Fox Benton, presented by Celebrity Cruises representative Kyle Bodden, and pictured with Elijah and Naomi Uys.