South Padre Island (SPI) Polo Club in South Padre Island, Texas, recently hosted a weekend full of USPA tournaments. The 2019 Museum of Polo Hall of Fame Challenge Cup took place first on Saturday, April 13. It was a beautiful day on the island with a band playing in the tent. Central Texas Polo Association (CTPA) (Maika Panzarini, Tori Mast, Brady Williams, Karl Hilberg) faced off against SPI Polo Club (Abi McVaney, David Werntz, Cinderella von Falkenhausen, Cami McVaney). The CTPA team showcased superior chemistry on the field and proved victorious. All of the players received the beautiful book Polo Art – the 2018 Season by Melinda Brewer and a donation was made to the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame from SPI Polo and club president and manager Pud Nieto. Best Playing Pony was awarded to Sonita owned and played by CTPA’s Brady Williams. This handy and bold little mare has been prolific in 2019 with five Best Playing Pony titles so far to her credit, including the Girls’ National Interscholastic Championship Final. Most Valuable Player was presented to Karl Hilberg, after a scoring streak for CTPA and the Sportsmanship Award was presented to David Werntz.
Following a full day of polo, many of the players went on a beach ride. Great seafood, rides along the beach and water activities are the added bonus of playing at South Padre Island Polo Club.
Brady Williams carries the ball in front of the pack on Best Playing Pony Sonita.
Making up for the 2018 General George S. Patton Jr. Cup which was rescheduled last year due to rain, the tournament was played on Sunday, April 14. The bay was filled with kite boarders as the polo game was played in front of the Farmers Market crowd. Participating teams were the Navy (Karl Hilberg, Brady Williams, Tori Mast, Maika Panzarini) and Army (David Werntz, Cami McVaney, Cinderella von Falkenhausen, Abi McVaney). Receiving a half goal on handicap, Army took the win in a very close game with goals from Abi McVaney and Von Falkenhausen. The Sgt. Reckless Best Playing Pony was presented to Chula played by Cinderella von Falkenhausen and owned by Pud Nieto. Most Valuable Player was presented to Cinderella von Falkenhausen and Brady Williams was the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award.
Best Playing Pony Sonita pictured with Brady Williams.
Brady Williams made the Texas-sized trip of 600 miles to play. “I had a great time playing at South Padre Island Polo Club and meeting new people,” Williams said. “It was a unique experience playing on the island with the water and boats right next to the field. I have been trying to travel around Texas this spring to play at different clubs. My trip to SPI was not a disappointment and Pud did a great job of hosting a fun weekend”.
Club President Pud Nieto presents the Sportsmanship Award to David Werntz.
All photos ©David MurrellSOUTH PADRE ISLAND POLO CLUB