The Texas Arena League consists of four events played at three locations and works on a point system. Teams and players are awarded points for wins, losses and ties for each game. The teams with the most points at the end of the four TAL events will be named 2020 Texas Arena League Champion and take home the coveted belt buckle trophies. In addition to team points, individuals and horses gain points toward End of League Awards or are voted on by players in both the 0-to 3-goal and 3- to 6-goal divisions including: Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player, Catena Sportsmanship Award, Nutrena Best Playing Pony, Jackrabbit Tack High-Point Individual, Casablanca High Point Overall, Superior Equine Massage Therapy Best String, Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Best Playing Thoroughbred, Royal B Threads Best Team Player, Pro Chukker Player’s Choice Competitor, Elite Motion and Performance Most Improved, Murrellphoto.com Best Presented, Jackrabbit Tack Horsemanship Award, CCC Ranch team award, High Point Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Alumni, and High Point Military Connection. Every player receives a U.S. Polo Assn. vest and teams in C Flight and 6- to 10-goal receive trophies at each location.
ERP’s Loreto Natividad leads the field, Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player Will Walton close behind.
The first leg of the Texas Arena League (TAL) officially kicked off January 24-26 at Two Wishes Polo Club (Central Texas Polo Association) in Lockhart, Texas. 23 teams traveled to compete in three separate handicap divisions. Friday night’s C Flight was made up of players new to polo and tournament play. Polo Girls (Caroline Woodman, Katerina Kortova, Kitana St’Cyr) played against Central Texas Polo Association (Jose Velez, Aislinn Smith, Savaar Khan) with the game ending in a tie. On Saturday, the Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz (0- to 3-goal) commenced its single elimination format with ten teams competing. The winners advanced to continue in the tournament February 7-9 at East Texas Polo Club at Legend’s Horse Ranch in Kaufman, Texas.
Jessica Mignone of Notorious P.O.N.Y. reaches for the hook on Bar-Spur Co.’s Mark Osburn.
- Legend’s Horse Ranch (Katie Anderson, Megan Rahlfs, Nacho Estrada) defeated Waterski America (Trenton Werntz, Ismael Vazquez, Chris Jones, David Wertnz)
- Polo InterActive (Jose Velez, Wyatt Myr, James Glew) defeated Horsegate (Ariel Macebo, John Womble, Caroline Woodman)
- ERP (Meghan Berry, Ernesto Natividad, Javier Peralta) defeated Texas Military Polo Club (Karl Hilberg, Gal Shweiki, Jack Crea)
- Notorious P.O.N.Y. (Zoe Lehmer, Jessica Mignone, Javier Insua) defeated Bar-Spur Co. (Ryan Owen, Mark Osburn, Brady Williams)
- Elite Motion and Performance (Stephanie Massey Colburn, Dani Gibson, Drew Richardson) defeated OKC CCC Ranch (Kelly Coldiron, Rob Phipps, Oscar Bermudez jr.)
On Sunday, the Southwestern Circuit General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller (3- to 6-goal) started the first leg of single elimination play with 11 competitive teams. The winners advanced to East Texas Polo Club to continue the tournament.
Dallas Polo Club’s Wendy Stover on Best Playing Pony Wild also known as Dunkin Donuts.
- Dallas Polo Club (Wendy Stover, Mike Farah, Will Walton) defeated ERP (Meghan Berry, Ernesto Natividad, Loreto Natividad)
- Legend’s Horse Ranch (Kim Buttram, Nacho Estrada, August Scherer) defeated OKC CCC Ranch (Kelly Coldiron, Roxy Keyfauver, Oscar Bermudez Jr)
- Williams Polo (Mark Osburn, Brady Williams, Wyatt Myr) defeated Waterski America (Chris Jones, Cody Goetz, Rob Phipps)
- Elite Motion and Performance Pixies (Amanda Massey, Dani Gibson, Stephanie Massey Colburn) defeated Texas Military Polo Club (Jack Crea, Gal Shweiki, Trey Crea, Karl Hilberg)
- Horsegate (John Womble, Carlos Ramirez, Ariel Mancebo) defeated JD Polo (Tres de la Paz, Nadir Khan, Javier Insua) defeated Gulf Coast Fence (Drew Richardson, Zain Saud, Agustin Arrayago)
Teams that were knocked out of the Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller and new teams joining TAL at Legend’s Horse Ranch will begin playing additional single elimination tournaments – Southwestern Circuit Arena Amateur Cup (0- to 3-goal) and Southwestern Circuit Sherman Memorial (3- to 6-goal).
Polo InterActive’s Wyatt Myr with Horsegate’s Ariel Mancebo on his hip. James Glew and John Womble follow in pursuit.
At each game, TAL awards Most Valuable Player, the Sportsmanship Award and Best Playing Pony. Voted on by spectators, the Lockhart Post-Register Fan Favorite for January was Ryan Owen at Two Wishes Polo Club.
- Galvin Agency/American National Most Valuable Player – Mark Osburn, Meghan Berry, Javier Insua, Megan Rahlfs, Stephanie Massey Colburn (Both Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller), Wyatt Myr, Will Walton, Agustin Arrayago, August Scherer.
- Catena Sportsmanship Award – Ismael Vazquez, John Womble, Oscar Bermudez Jr., Jessica Mignone, Karl Hilberg, Meghan Berry, Kelly Coldiron, Dani Gibson, Cody Goetz, and Ariel Mancebo.
- Nutrena Best Playing Pony – Amarillo (Mark Osburn), Kika (played by Megan Rahlfs, owned by Nacho Estrada), Sonita (Brady Williams), Pistola (played by Stephanie Massey Colburn, owned by the Gibson Family), Toro (played by Ariel Mancebo, owned by Horsegate, Best Playing Pony in the Nimitz and Puller), Wild aka Dunkin Donuts (Wendy Stover), Frijolita (played by August Scherer, owned by Nacho Estrada), Chiquita (Ernesto Natividad), and Nugget (played by Trey Crea, owned by Ursula Pari).
Williams Polo’s Wyatt Myr.
The Texas Arena League would like to thank Wilson Riddle, Cody Goetz, John Womble, Jeremie Smith, Caroline Woodman, Ariel Rodriguez and Karl Hilberg who went above and beyond to make the CTPA/Two Wishes Polo Club event so successful. Also, a big thank you goes out to the Reeves family for hosting and the USPA Polo Development Initiative program for funding used towards the new arena lights.
Photos courtesy of ©David and Debbie Murrell