The final stop for Texas Arena League (TAL) at Midland Polo Club (Midland, Texas) was by far the busiest and best attended. The event kicked off on Friday, March 15 with the Texas Arena League C Flight Challenge, followed by the 6- to 9-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Delegate’s Cup and an equine nutrition workshop on “Feed Tags and Forage,” with Cargill nutritionist Kirk Carter and a very Texas chili dinner cooked up by Ashley Owen. On Saturday, March 16, the 0- to 3-Goal Flight had five games with ten teams competing, followed by a BBQ dinner at Kyle and Deann McGraw’s home with a discussion led by veterinarian Dr. Michelle Bessire. Sunday’s matches on March 17 included seven teams playing in the 3- to 6-Goal Flight with a match between undefeated Legacy and Legend’s Horse Ranch that left spectators on the edge of their seats.
Amanda Massey, former Texas A&M University player, has been competing on San Antonio in TAL, “if you haven’t experienced Texas Arena League, it is better than college polo because you don’t have to go to class the next day!” she said with a smile. “It’s all the friends that you played Intercollegiate/Interscholastic polo with plus new people. We all come together to play arena polo and have fun,” continued Massey.
Mark Osburn who has been playing on William’s Polo in the 0- to 3-Goal Flight, played both the Southwestern Circuit Arena Delegate’s Cup and the 3- to 6-Goal Flight at the Midland event. “I started playing polo while in college at Texas Tech University but then left the sport for about sixteen years,” said Osburn. “Last year, I was invited to play in the Texas Arena League in Midland and now I’m back in polo! This Texas Arena League is my speed. Everyone should come out and give the TAL a try, it’s fun!” Osburn exclaimed.
For the duration of the weekend, Nutrena was on site with giveaways, to answer feed and nutrition questions and present Best Playing Pony awards. Additionally, Jackrabbit Tack and Consignment’s Megan Mitchell was available for fittings and advice on Bombers bits.
Matt Kenney, playing in his first polo tournament, won the spectator-voted Fan Favorite award sponsored by Shannon Galvin Agency.
TEXAS ARENA LEAGUE MIDLAND POLO CLUB RESULTS
In the C-Flight Challenge, Prevalecer (Ayden Wallace, Elizabeth Natividad, Loreto Natividad) narrowly defeated Lazy 3 (Sarah Holland, Jeremiah Valles, Molly Smith). U.S. Polo Assn Most Valuable Player was awarded to Ayden Wallace, Sarah Holland received the Catena Sportsmanship award and Nutrena Best Playing Pony was presented to Robin played by Elizabeth Natividad.
The Southwestern Circuit Arena Delegate’s Cup saw Prevalecer (Brady Williams, Loreto Natividad, Mark Osburn) capture the win over Lazy 3 (Molly Smith, Peter Blake, Ernesto Natividad). Nutrena Best Playing Pony was awarded to Menos Uno played by Ernesto Natividad, U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player was presented to Loreto Natividad and Molly Smith received the Catena Sportsmanship award.
In the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz military tournament, William’s Polo (Brady Williams, Mark Osburn, Bleu Bannister) defeated Legend’s Horse Ranch (Nacho Estrada, Jack Crea, Stephen Lacy). Mark Osburn received U.S. Polo Assn Most Valuable Player honors, Pompero played by Bleu Bannister won the Nutrena Best Playing Pony and Jack Crea received the Catena Sportsmanship award.
In the Southwestern Circuit Arena Amateur Cup, OKC CCC Ranch (Kelly Coldiron, Allen Bowman, Greg Summers) captured the win over Texas Military Polo Club (Matt Kenney, Gal Shweiki, Karl Hilberg). Catena Sportsmanship was awarded to Matt Kenney, Miss Carlita played by Karl Hilberg received Nutrena Best Playing Pony honors and U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player was presented to Greg Summers.
Castillo Polo (Cindy von Falkenhausen, David Werntz, Trenton Werntz) defeated Santa Anita (Sidro Olivas, James McHazzlett, Alec Felhalber) in the Southwestern Circuit Arena Challenge Cup with Alec Felhalber winning the Catena Sportsmanship award and David Werntz taking home U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player honors. Peanut played by Trenton Werntz went home with the Nutrena Best Playing Pony blanket.
Legacy (Ashley Owen, Kyle McGraw, Javier Peralta) took the win against Central Texas Polo Association (Zoe Lehmer, Tres de la Paz, Brady Williams, Gal Shweiki) in the Midland Arena Cup; Gal Shweiki received U.S. Polo Assn Most Valuable Player, Tres de la Paz was the Catena Sportsmanship winner and Guapo played by Kyle McGraw was presented with the Nutrena Best Playing Pony blanket.
In the Texas Arena League 0- to 3-Goal Challenge, Rough Riders (Amanda Massey, Walker Rainey, Karen Summers) defeated Rancho Naranjo (Francesca Felhalber, Alec Felhalber, Cole Felhalber, Julian Martinez). Francesca Felhalber won U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player, Dakota played by Karen Summers rode home with the Nutrena Best Playing Pony blanket, and Walker Rainey received the Catena Sportsmanship award.
In the Southwestern Circuit General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller military tournament, Central Texas Polo Assn (Tres de la Paz, Karl Hilberg, Pete Blake) narrowly pulled off the win over OKC CCC Ranch (Wyatt Myr, Greg Summers, Kelly Coldiron). Pete Blake was named U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player, Karl Hilberg received the Catena Sportsmanship award and Renee owned and played by Greg Summers won Nutrena Best Playing Pony honors.
The Southwestern Circuit Sherman Memorial was played as a round robin between The Chili Peppers (Mark Osburn, Pato Tadeo, Ernesto Natividad), Big Time Polo (Brady Williams, Megan Flynn, Devan Groves) and San Antonio (Gal Shweiki, Amanda Massey, Jack Crea, Wyatt Myr). The Chili Pappers were victorious in both their matches and Nutrena Best Playing Pony was awarded to Paramore played by Megan Flynn. Devan Groves received U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player and Jack Crea was presented with the Catena Sportsmanship award.
In the Southwestern Circuit Level I/I Alumni Tournament, Southern Methodist Univeristy, Culver Military Academy, Texas Tech University and Midland Interscholastic were all represented. Legend’s Horse Ranch (Nacho Estrada, August Scherer, Stephen Lacy) narrowly defeated Legacy (Kyle McGraw, Loreto Natividad, Ashley Owen). Nutrena Best Playing Pony was awarded to Gypsy played by Loreto Natividad, Catena Sportsmanship went to Stephen Lacy and August Scherer received U.S. Polo Assn. Most Valuable Player.
All photos courtesy of ©Rogan Tindol/Tinvet Photography and Jeremiah Valles.