At the most recent Texas Arena League (TAL) event, which was moved from Midland Polo Club (Midland, Texas) to East Texas Polo Club at Legend’s Horse Ranch in Kaufman, Texas, the Southwestern Circuit Arena Challenge Cup and the Southwestern Circuit Arena Masters Cup began in a single-elimination format March 14-15.
In the Friday evening C-Flight match, Polo Girls (Ekaterina Kotova, Kitana St-Cyr, Michael Miazza – substitute for Caroline Woodman) defeated Bar-Spur/Legend’s Horse Ranch (Taylor Hooten, Ricardo Sanchez, Amanda Osburn).
For Osburn, this was her first time playing a polo match since college. “Our family has really enjoyed going to the TAL events the last few years to watch my husband Mark play,” Osburn said. “I was excited to find out about the Friday night C-Flight. I haven’t played since college and I’m very rusty, but it was so fun and I’m happy to be back in the game. We hope to eventually have our kids playing too.”
The 0- to 3-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Challenge Cup started with two games at Legend’s Horse Ranch. The competition kicked off with a round robin between teams Elite Motion & Performance (Dani Gibson, Walker Rainey, Stephanie Massey Colburn), Prestonwood (James JB Long, Umair Kaimkhani, Vaughn Miller/Vance Miller) and Texas Tech (Ricky Moore, Amelia Fisher, Ariel Mancebo). In the final match of the round robin, Texas Tech was able to keep Prestonwood at bay and win the match.
Ariel Mancebo was named Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player. Nutrena Best Playing Pony was presented to Sweetie, owned by Prestonwood and played by JB Long. Amelia Fisher was named Catena Sportsmanship Award winner.
Elite Motion & Performance’s Stephanie Massey Colburn stays focused on the ball with University of North Texas’ (UNT) Vaughn Miller Jr. defending on her hip.
Texas Tech Polo Club not only participated, but held a fundraiser to help meet their financial goals for the year. Jack Rabbit Tack and Consignment turned up with their tack and equipment trailer. “Texas Tech Polo Club is an entirely student based, run, and financed polo club that loves giving people from all backgrounds and equine experience levels the opportunity to learn horsemanship and become experienced in the polo discipline,” Fisher said. “We’re asking for your help by asking for your support in continuing the Texas Tech Polo Silent Auction, originally seen in-person at the second to last leg of the Texas Arena League series!” Traditionally held during the second to last leg of the TAL series, the silent auction has moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension of all USPA tournaments and events. Tech Polo supporters and fans can find the link to the silent auction at https://www.winningcause.org/texastechpolo/ or follow the Texas Tech Polo Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/techpolo) for any more item or auction updates. All proceeds of this auction and raffle will go directly to the support of the Texas Tech Polo Club.
Horsegate’s Anson Moore keeping control of the ball.
In a match game for the Southwestern Circuit Arena Challenge Cup, Legend’s Horse Ranch (Katie Anderson, Megan Rahlfs, Nacho Estrada) went up against Horsegate (Nick Stefanakis, Lance Stefanakis, Anson Moore). In a tight match, Horsegate came out with the win. Megan Rahlfs was awarded the Galvin Agency/American National Most Valuable Player. Nutrena Best Playing Pony was presented to Zama, owned by Nacho Estrada. Lance Stefanakis was named Catena Sportsmanship Award winner.
Elite Motion and Performance Pixies’ Stephanie Massey Colburn carries the ball in front of Horsegate’s Sloan Stefanakis.
The 3- to 6-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Masters Cup got underway with two matches and the TAL 3- to 6-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Challenge Cup added a fifth game to the day. Horsegate (Anson Moore, Sloan Stefanakis, Lance Stefanakis) defeated Elite Motion & Performance Pixies (Amanda Massey, Dani Gibson, Stephanie Massey Colburn) in the first game of the Southwestern Circuit Arena Masters Cup.
Horsegate’s Lance Stefanakis with Legend’s Horse Ranch’s Megan Rahlfs on his hip.
American National/Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player was awarded to Anson Moore. Nutrena Best Playing Pony was presented to John Wayne, owned by Javier Insua and played by Amanda Massey. Sloan Stefanakis was named Catena Sportsmanship Award winner.
Megan Mitchell of Jackrabbit Tack presents the Best Playing Pony award to John Wayne, played by Amanda Massey and owned by Javier Insua.
Dallas Polo Club (Michael Farah, Will Walton, Wendy Stover) were victorious over JD Polo (Javier Insua, Ariel Mancebo, Tres de la Paz) in the second match of the day.
The Sportsmanship and #FanFavorite award was presented to Wendy Stover, who is pictured with Tom Goodspeed.
Will Walton was named the Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player. Nutrena Best Playing Pony was awarded to Negrita, owned by Horsegate and played by Ariel Mancebo. Wendy Stover took the Catena Sportsmanship Award.
Best Playing Pony was awarded to Negrita, played by Ariel Mancebo and pictured with the Horsegate squad (L to R: Luis Fagetti, Lacho Teruel, Anson Moore, Ariel Mancebo).
In the 3- to 6-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Challenge Cup, PTF Dream Team (Amanda Massey, Walker Rainey, Stephanie Massey Colburn) were defeated by UNT (Umair Kaimkhani, JB Long, Vaughn Miller Jr). Vaughn Miller Jr. was named American National/Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player. Nutrena Best Playing Pony was Cookie played by Vaughn Miller. Stephanie Massey Colburn took the Catena Sportsmanship Award. Wendy Stover won the #FanFavorite at this third event.
Texas Arena League event and award sponsors have been exceptional and very involved throughout the season. Amanda Massey of Elite Motion and Performance is the sponsor of the Most Improved Award which is new for 2020. “The Most Improved Player Award is for a player who has elevated their level of play – teamwork, strategy, mallet skills, riding, etc. – from the beginning of the tournament series to the end,” Massey said. “The idea for the award is to encourage the new members of the USPA to get involved in more arena tournament play.”
“I’m also just excited to play in Texas Arena League, this is my third year competing in the event,” Massey continued. “I love playing with Dani [Gibson] and my sister Stephanie [Massey Colburn] – the only all-woman team in the 6-goal!”
TAL sponsor Jackrabbit Tack and Consignment donated a NOCSAE certified Charles Owen helmet to be raffled off. Raffle tickets are still available for purchase through Jackrabbit Tack for 10 dollars each. Message their Facebook page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org more information or to purchase a raffle ticket.
The silent auction also continues online at the following link https://www.winningcause.org/texastechpolo/. There is a wide variety of items donated by Tackeria, Andrea Womble Russo, Wyatt Myr, Elite Motion & Performance, Owen Family, Casablanca Polo, Corey Schlensker, Cargill, Robin Sanchez and more. For more information on Texas Tech Polo Club and their fundraising efforts, visit their Facebook page.
Photos courtesy of ©David Murrell