After four events over three months, the dust has settled and the 2019 End of League Awards for Texas Arena League (TAL) were presented. At each event, players and teams competed for points based on win/loss/tie in each tournament. Additionally, each tournament had a Sportsmanship, Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony; all received individual points for those special awards as well as high-point awards. There were also awards decided on by committee or voting by fans and/or players. In every USPA arena tournament played during TAL, players also received points to qualify for the National Arena Amateur Cup that will be played in November at OC Polo Club in Silverado, California.
Going into the final event in Midland, many teams were in the running for flight winners or runners-up depending on the outcome of the games at Midland Polo Club (Midland, Texas). The Texas Arena League is formatted in order for teams to play a different team at each location. There is not necessarily a “final” but historically the top two teams have not played each other until the final event.
It was a tight race in all categories, requiring tie-breaking criteria for some. An overflowing trophy table featured many outstanding sponsors. The winning team in each flight took home custom-made belt buckles, while the runners-up walked away with team mallet bags. Sportsmanship in each flight won a highly-coveted Catena Swiss watch. Most Valuable Player was given a gear bag from U.S. Polo Assn. full of apparel and other items. Best Playing Pony was draped with a cooler while the Best String won a gift certificate from Superior Equine Sports Massage Therapy and horse brush. High Point Individuals in each flight were presented with engraved Bombers spurs from Jackrabbit Tack and the High Point Overall won a pair of custom-made boots from AB Boots. The Fan Favorites (voted on by the spectators) took home gifts from Galvin Agency/American National Insurance and the Best Team Player in each flight was recognized with an engraved Grizzly cup as was the Players’ Choice Competitor (voted on by the players). Best Host Club, also voted on by the players, received a giant banner to proudly display in their arena. Plus, every team took home a bottle of CCC Ranch Wine, compliments of Kelly Coldiron.
After 30 games (including round robins) below are the results:
0-3 Goal Flight
Winning Team: Legacy (Kyle McGraw, Ashley Owen, Javier Peralta)
Runners-up: Central Texas Polo Assn (Tres de la Paz, Zoe Lehmer, Gal Shweiki, Javier Insua, Holly Wood)
Catena Sportsmanship: Jack Crea
U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player: Sidro Olivas
Nutrena Best Playing Pony: Isabella owned and played by Kelly Coldiron
Superior Equine Sports Massage Therapy Best String: Brady Williams – DaVinci, Platinum, Sonita, Rosie, Caloosa, Cisco, Mary, Stella.
Jackrabbit Tack High Point Individual: Ashley Owen
Best Team Player: Cindy Von Falkenhausen
3-6 Goal Flight
Winning Team: Legend’s Horse Ranch (Nacho Estrada, August Scherer, Stephen Lacy, Omar Polio, JT Shiverick)
Runners-up: Legacy (Kyle McGraw, Loreto Natividad, Ashley Owen)
Catena Sportsmanship: Greg Summers
U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player: Javier Insua
Nutrena Best Playing Pony: Solita owned and played by Javier Insua
Superior Equine Sports Massage Therapy Best String: Greg Summers (who also mounted Wyatt Myr) – Dakota, Renee, R-Gina, Maximus, Diamond, Tiyana.
Jackrabbit Tack High Point Individual: Loreto Natividad
Best Team Player: Wyatt Myr
High Point Overall: Kyle McGraw
Players’ Choice Competitor: Ashley Owen (the player that most embodies the best aspects of Texas Arena League)
Fan Favorites: Mark Osburn, Matt Kenney, Nacho Estrada, Ashley Owen
Best Host Club: Midland Polo Club
Texas Arena League would like to thank the sponsors, players, grooms, family members, host clubs and spectators who made 2019 so successful. Thanks to the USPA Arena Committee, Umpires LLC, USPA Communications and Tournaments Departments and Polo Development for understanding the value of Texas Arena League to members, clubs and the growth of the sport. Also thank you to TAL charity partner Make-A-Wish and the Wish Kids who were able to participate.
Find out more on the Texas Arena League Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or www.texasarenaleague.com.
If you are interested in spearheading an arena league in your region please contact the USPA Arena Committee, USPA Polo Development, Megan Flynn (email@example.com) or Robin Sanchez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you would like to join Texas Arena League in 2020 as a player or team send an email to email@example.com.