Nestled right in the corner of the Oklahoma and Missouri borders, the NWA Polo Club in Gravette, Arkansas, hosted the Great Plains Circuit Arena Challenge Cup the weekend of Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10. The tournament marked the NWA Polo Club’s first USPA Event of the 2022 season. Four teams representing players from across the Great Plains Circuit and the Dallas, Texas, area competed.
The games started Saturday evening, with Mariposa/Tulsa (Michael Scott, Ty Koonce, Karen Summers, Tori Summers) led by Scott, taking on Springfield/Tulsa II (Bryn Swope Bell, Ann Heidman, Jair De la Pena) led by De la Pena. Scott dominated the action with speed and precision, scoring repeatedly three of the four chukkers. De la Pena got some traction in the last two chukkers, but was forced to settle with a loss, 10-4.
2022 Great Plains Circuit Arena Challenge Cup Runner-Up: Mariposa/Tulsa – Michael Scott, Ty Koonce, Karen Summers, Tori Summers.
In Saturday’s second game, Oklahoma City (Don Gruntmier, Greg Summers, Karson Bizzell), led by Greg Summers, faced off against NWA Polo (Verity English, Don English Jr., Bobby Koehler) and the dynamic power duo of Koehler and Don English Jr. The first chukker was tense, as both teams attempted to get into their groove, scoring two goals each. In the second chukker, NWA Polo forged ahead with a strong lead, taking advantage of two converted penalties by Koehler and three goals from the field off the mallet of English. The second half of the game found NWA Polo growing more confident, ultimately allowing them to defeat OKC, 13-4.
Sportsmanship recipient Greg Summers and Most Valuable Player Karson Bizell.
Sunday’s matches included the consolation game and the Great Plains Circuit Arena Challenge Cup Final. OKC delivered in the consolation match against Springfield/Tulsa II, surging to a 10-4 victory. In the final, Mariposa/Tulsa’s speed and precision along with a 1.5-goal starting handicap advantage put NWA Polo to the test. The game was extremely competitive from the first throw-in, making it a thrilling match for spectators. Verity English scored two pivotal goals in the second chukker to compliment English Jr.’s consistent goals every chukker. Koehler made two penalty goals in the final chukker to propel his team to a narrow victory, 10-9.5.
Best Playing Pony Sweetheart, owned by Michael Scott.
The teams agreed to share the purse, awarding first place $1,000, second place $750 and third and fourth $375 each. Best Playing Pony was awarded to Sweetheart, owned by Michael Scott, while Karson Bizell was named Most Valuable Player and Greg Summers took home the Sportsmanship award.
All photos courtesy of ©Susan Koehler.