Okanagan Polo Club hosts annual tournament in Kelowna

Kelowna is playing host to the sport of kings this weekend.

The Okanagan Polo Club is holding the Duncan Innes Memorial Tournament this Saturday through Monday.

The event is taking place at 4444 Bulman Rd., and 12 teams from Western Canada and Washington state are taking part. The tournament is free to attend.

“There’ll be around 200 to 250 horses participating here,” said Alex Wales, a longtime member of the Okanagan Polo Club.

“We have a circuit of amateur polo in the western half of North America, so we travel around and go to various cities and play in tournaments. We’ve always had our tournament during the August long weekend.”

The polo club has been in existence since 1988, and the tournament on Bulman Road marks the 20th year it’s played at that location.

To play polo, teams are comprised of four players, with games generally featuring four periods. The horses play only one period a game, with riders getting fresh mounts every period.

The field is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide. By comparison, an NFL field is 120 yards in total length and is 53 yards wide, with a CFL field being larger at 150 yards in total length and 65 yards wide.

“It’s kind of like hockey on horseback in some ways,” Wales said. “There are goals at the end, but there’s no goalie.

“The object, of course, is to put the ball through the goal. And the team with the most goals wins.”

On Saturday, the tournament was also hosting a co-event, a one-day fundraiser for La Chaine Des Rotisseurs of the Okanagan.

The group is about raising awareness of the culinary arts, with Kelowna hosting an “international young sommeliers” competition in October 2024.

More about the group is available online at chainevaldokanagan.com.

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