COVID-19 put the kibosh on the final Texas Arena League event as it did with so many other things in life. After a poll of players and viewing the uncertainty ahead, the TAL committee decided to just go with the points and standings that had been earned in the first three events to determine the winning teams and players for 2020 Texas Arena League.
“With the support of our amazing sponsors, TAL is the Oprah Winfrey of polo events,” said Robin Sanchez. “It was a real shame that the final event and the awards party weren’t able to happen this year. It is part of what makes Texas Arena League such a fun event – the camaraderie that happens outside the arena.”
With the Governor of Texas “opening up” the state, prize delivery has been the latest effort. Visits to North Texas, Austin area, San Antonio, and West Texas have gotten most of the awards and prizes delivered. Here are the results.
Team Competition and Individual Awards
In Texas Arena League, teams are awarded points for each game they play win/loss/tie. Players on each team also receive these points as individuals and add points with MVP and Sportsmanship wins. TAL players are also receiving points toward the National Arena Amateur Cup tournament held in November at OC Polo Club.
MVP is awarded at each game in the League and this year The Galvin Agency/American National Insurance were our new sponsors.
Jackrabbit Tack sponsored the High Point Individual in each division with a pair of engraved Bombers spurs.
Casablanca Polo sponsored the High Point Overall with a prize package of knee guards, elbow guards and gloves.
The USPA Armed Forces committee recognized the High Point Military and Military Family members with saddle pads and USPA I/I awarded the High Point I/I players with over girths.
In both the 0-3 and 3-6 goal flights, the winning team takes home the coveted Molly’s Custom Silver belt buckles. Second place teams received a TAL logoed ground cloth from Ronmar/Tackeria. Third place teams received custom silver key chains from Molly’s that are a smaller version of the winners’ buckle.
0-3 Goal team results:
Winning team – Polo InterActive (Jose Velez, James Glew, Wyatt Myr)
2nd Place – Notorious P.O.N.Y. (Javier Insua, Zoe Lehmer, Devan Groves Layton, Jessica Mignone)
3rd Place – Bar-Spur (Mark Osburn, Ryan Owen, Brady Williams)
3-6 Goal team results:
Winning team – Williams Polo (Brady Williams, Mark Osburn, Wyatt Myr)
2nd Place – Dallas Polo Club (Will Walton, Michael Farah, Wendy Stover)
3rd Place – Legend’s Horse Ranch (Kim Buttram, Nacho Estrada, August Scherer)
Casablanca Polo High Point Overall – Wyatt Myr
Wyatt comments, “Not trying to sound cliché, but I had the opportunity to play on 2 great teams. I’d like to thank my teammates for allowing me lead teams in both flights. Both teams had good chemistry and made playing easy and fun. I’d also like to thank Casablanca Polo for the knee guards, elbow guards and gloves – they look great.”
0-3 Goal Galvin Agency MVP – Megan Rahlfs
Megan says, “I am honored that I was chosen for MVP out of so many talented players! My skills in the arena have improved a lot over the last 4 years playing with SMU and I’m glad I got to showcase them during Texas Arena League. I also attribute my success in the tournament to the fantastic horses provided to me by Nacho Estrada. Having a solid and talented string underneath me definitely boosted my game and confidence to make plays. “
3-6 Goal Galvin Agency MVP – August Scherer
0-3 Goal Jackrabbit Tack High Point Individual – James Glew
3-6 Goal Jackrabbit Tack High Point Individual – Will Walton
According to Will’s teammate Wendy Stover, “Will is an incredibly talented player. He has the ability of getting the most from his horses, and yet they never get rattled. He will go into plays, covered by a very strong player, and I will think, “there’s no way he can win this one”, and then, here he comes with the ball!”
“It is a joy to play with Will. He has tremendous awareness of the game and he can coach me verbally without yelling, which gets me anxious. I hope to have many opportunities to play on Will’s team in the future. “
High Point Overall Military Player – Karl Hilberg (retired U.S. Navy Commander)
0-3 Goal High Point Military – Chris Jones (Staff Sergeant US Marine Corps)
3-6 Goal High Point Military – Rob Phipps (Staff Sergeant US Air Force)
“It was so great winning the commander and chief cup In October then taking the same Air Force team to play in one of the most competitive and well managed arena polo leagues anywhere in the country. The Texas Arena Polo League has some of the very best polo teams with young talent players coached and playing alongside some of the most respected seasoned players. The strings of polo ponies rival some of the best in the country and the sportsmanship and the camaraderie made it an amazing experience,” Rob Phipps.
High Point Overall Military Family Member – Wyatt Myr
0-3 Goal High Point Military Family Member – Javier Insua
3-6 Goal High Point Military Family Member – Will Walton
Whose Great Grandfather Clifton Dale Massey served in the US Navy and Grandfather Dr. Robert Walton was in the British royal cavalry.
According to Walton, “The Texas arena league was a blast, tons of great polo an even better people, which were mounted on amazing horses through and through. The umpires were fantastic as-well, every call was fair and true to the game no one could have asked for better. This tournament series is very competitive but tons of fun and is well on its way to become one of the elite tournaments played here in the USA. Thanks again to all hosting, managing, umpiring, announcing and the tough competition.”
0-3 Goal High Point I/I Player – Megan Rahlfs (Houston Girls IS and SMU)
“Accepting the High Point I/I Player/Alumni Award means a lot to me. I have been playing I/I since I started polo and am very thankful to have been a part of the SMU Polo Team for the last 4 years, as well as the Houston Interscholastic Team during high school. With the Texas Arena League going on during the peak of my collegiate season this year, the TAL games and SMU practices complemented each other well in boosting my game, ” says Megan.
3-6 Goal high Point I/I Player – August Scherer (Culver Military Academies and SMU)
“The 2020 TAL was another great success, compounding on the 2019 season with more team participation, friendly competition and local spectators. Texas Arena League is a way to bring former I/I players back into the sport. There are a lot of I/I alumni playing in TAL.”