NWA Polo Club, located in Northwest Arkansas near Bentonville in the Great Plains Circuit, recently held its first USPA outdoor event in its newly boarded grass arena. The club received a Polo Development Initiative Grant in 2019 to help fund the construction and complement its access to a nearby covered arena facility where it has hosted women’s arena, interscholastic and intercollegiate events.
Four teams entered the 2020 Great Plains Circuit Arena Amateur Cup, competing on July 11 and 12. Because the grass arena is large and the ends are open, the Tournament Committee sought recommendations from players and USPA Governor-at-Large Robin Sanchez on appropriate rules and procedures. The teams played with stadium polo balls, executed penalty shots from 15 and 25 yards and took knock-ins as needed. The format worked well producing exciting games.
In the finals, Tantrum Polo of Dallas (Wyatt Myr, Melanie Pugmire Myr, Lisa Yanskey) defeated Tulsa Polo (Greg Summers, Kelly Coldiron, Samantha Leach) 12-7. Leach scored several key goals in both games earning her the Most Valuable Player award. Wyatt Myr’s Quarter Horse mare, Whiskey, received Best Playing Pony.
In the consolation match, two NWA Polo Club teams met. Triple B Polo featuring University of Arkansas students John Hand and Hannah Banderob, Jair De la Pena of Texas Tech and Bentonville resident Noel Dallison. The young and talented team was defeated 7-5 by NWA Polo Club Manager Robert Koehler, OKC Polo Club’s Don Gruntmeir and Tulsa Polo Club’s Dr. Kenneth Williams. NWA Polo Club’s Vice President Verity Cameron rounded out the team. Cameron, a Bentonville transplant from England and an avid horsewoman who also is accomplished in dressage and eventing, received the Sportsmanship Award.
NWA Polo Club’s President Kevin Gardner and Secretary Susan Koehler helped organize the event and the club look forward to their upcoming Great Plains Circuit USPA/PTF Seniors Tournament on August 15-16, 2020.
All photos courtesy of ©NWA Polo Club.