Feb 08, 2022 9:35 PM
Texas Arena League (TAL) kicked off its fifth season January 28-30 at Brookshire Polo Club (Brookshire, Texas) with a record-breaking 200 plus horses, 42 teams, 116 players, and 79 chukkers. The event even attracted local broadcast networks with Chelsea Edwards from Fox 26 Houston coming out for a morning TV segment and Ari Alexander from KPRC 2 Houston filming for a special sports segment.
In the Texas Arena League teams and individuals compete in four separate events for TAL points. All points gained through win/loss records and individual awards (Most Valuable Player, Best Playing Pony and Sportsmanship) count toward the End of League prizes and awards. Players competed in four flights with different levels of play: C-flight (beginner), 0- to 3-goal, 3- to 6-goal and 6- to 9-goal. In addition, USPA Southwestern Circuit tournaments are played over the course of the season.
Play commenced Friday, January 28, in the 6- to 9-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Delegate’s Cup with Horsegate, Straussfeld Realty and Dallas Polo winning their games. “Due to COVID-19 and an injury I went from playing in only the 6- to 9-goal to participating in each level of Texas Arena League and I was awarded Most Valuable Player in my 0- to 3-goal and 3- to 6-goal games,” commented Galvin Agency MVP winner Tiamo Hudspeth*. “I played a mix of made and up-and-coming San Ysidro ponies who played with the biggest hearts and carried me to three victories over the weekend. TAL is an amazing opportunity to showcase our sale horses, and to meet new players,” Hudspeth continued. “I was really impressed with the way the league is organized and how everyone cheers everyone else on! It’s a great scene to be a part of, I can’t wait for the next weekend.”
Featuring two military tournaments over the season, USPA military tournaments have taken the spotlight at Texas Arena League with a strong presence of active and former military members and their family members. "Texas Arena League has supported military tournaments since its inception,” said Karl Hilberg, U.S. Navy Commander, retired, and TAL Committee Member. “As participation in TAL has grown, so have the number of players with military ties, showing the historical connection between polo and the military. Approximately 70 percent of players have a military connection through personal service or family members this season. The addition of Patton Legacy Sports as a sponsor is taking TAL to a new level."
The 0- to 3-goal Southwestern Circuit General George S. Patton, Jr. began Saturday, with Hondo Polo, Blue Star, Save Water Polo, Los Tres Ingleses, Visage.Jobs, Elite Spicy Senoritas, and Legends progressing in the single-elimination tournament. Bar Spur will continue as the wild card selection as a result of losing to Elite Spicy Senoritas in a shootout.
“Nacho [Estrada] has taught Marcus [Murphy] and I for almost two years now,” said Galvin Agency MVP Taylor Hooten. “Marcus and I have played together almost our entire time of knowing how to play polo and we challenge each other to grow every time we’re on horseback! Knowing I was on a green horse that Nacho allowed me to train, being a handicap lower than our other team, and me not practicing as much as expected, I went into the arena with no expectations other than to play smart! I am so proud of Legends for pulling this win together despite all of our challenges!” Hooten continued. “I am especially proud of the mare I trained, Malani, to play as well as she did and carry me to the MVP award for this game! She is the real MVP in my book!”
The second military tournament, the 3- to 6-goal Southwestern Circuit General Lewis “Chesty” Puller commenced Sunday, January 30, with Dallas Polo, Herk’s Store and Grill, Texas Military, Lease Plan, Horsegate and PSL Polo continuing to the next round.
“Winning the Best Playing Pony and Sportsmanship awards was the cherry on top of an amazing weekend,” commented Catena Sportsmanship winner Russell Stimmel. “The weather was perfect, the games I played in were clean, and the outcome was nothing but smiles and cheers from both sides of the competition. My mother and I both played Jill who won the BPP blanket which is special as the mare can play at a high level under just about anyone. I’m really looking forward to the next weekend of TAL and for a great season of fun polo.”
In addition, the C-flight gives new and beginner players the opportunity to play in official matches and connect with other players. 12-year-old Gianna Stevens has been taking polo lessons for about two years. “The Texas Arena League game that I played in was my first ‘real’ polo game. Initially, I was nervous, which was really because I was so excited to play in a real game with an announcer and a crowd. I had a blast! I will never forget this experience."
All three tournaments will resume during the second Texas Arena League event at Legends Polo Club (Kaufman, Texas) the weekend of February 11-13. They will be joined by the 0- to 3-goal Southwestern Circuit Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and 3- to 6-goal Southwestern Circuit Sherman Memorial, both of which start that weekend.
Learn more at www.texasarenaleague.com and follow Texas Arena League on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
6- to 9-goal Southwestern Circuit Arena Delegate’s Cup
1. Coltala (8): William Edwards (1), Russell Stimmel (3), Robert Payne III (4)
2. Horsegate (7): Carlos Ramirez (2), Lance Stefanakis (2), Ariel Mancebo (3)
3. Bar Spur (6): Mark Osburn (2), Brady Williams (2), Wyatt Myr (4), sub. Stephanie Massey Colburn (2)
4. Straussfeld Realty (9): Megan Flynn (2), Tiamo Hudspeth (3), Cody Woodfin (4)
5. Dallas Polo (8): Michael Farah (1), Joaquin Arguello (3), Will Walton (4)
6. Legends (9): Megan Rahlfs (2), Nacho Estrada (2), August Scherer (5)
Friday, January 28
Horsegate defeated Coltala 15-13
Straussfeld Realty defeated Bar Spur 15-14
Dallas Polo Club defeated Legends 17-7
0- to 3-goal Southwestern Circuit General George S. Patton, Jr.
1. Polo InterActive (3): Jose Velez (-1), Tanner Kneese (1), Javier Insua (3)
2. Hondo Polo (3): Kyle Greenwood (-1), Beverly Greenwood (1), Tiamo Hudspeth (3)
3. Creekside (3): Trent Florey (-1), Tess Pimsner (1), Karen Reese (2)
4. Blue Star (3): Serena Belsby (-1), Ashley Owen (2), Megan Flynn (2)
5. Save Water Polo (0): Katie Anderson (-1), Kim Vaughan (0), Rehan Kumble (1)
6. Patton Legacy Sports (3): Gal Shweiki (1), Karl Hilberg (1), Jack Crea (1)
7. Coast to Coast (1): Cole Kinsella (0), Samantha Leach (0), Sydney Morris (1)
8. Los Tres Ingleses (3): Verity Cameron (-1), James Glew (2), Don English, Jr. (2)
9. Gulf Coast Fence (3): Jason Atkins (1), Zain Saud (1), Andrew Richardson (1)
10. Visage.Jobs (3): Dani Gibson (-1), Joss Leufrancois (2), Trey Crea (2)
11. Eagles Landing (1): Alisha Clark (-1), Gustavo Toro (0), Ally Vaughn (1), sub. Whitney Walker (1)
12. Elite Spicy Senoritas (3): Lisa Yanskey (0), Amanda Massey (1), Stephanie Massey Colburn (2)
13. Bar Spur (3): Amanda Osburn (-1), Mark Osburn (2), Brady Williams (2)
14. Legends (2): Marcus Murphy (0), Taylor Hooten (0), Nacho Estrada (2)
15. Auour Polo Team (3): Lindsay Bellack (0), Molly Hosler (1), Megan Rahlfs (2)
Saturday, January 29
Hondo Polo defeated Polo InterActive 16-9
Blue Star defeated Creekside 15-7
Save Water Polo defeated Patton Legacy Sports 11-1
Coast to Coast defeated Patton Legacy Sports 8-4
Save Water Polo defeated Coast to Coast 3-2
Los Tres Ingleses defeated Gulf Coast Fence 13-8
Visage.Jobs defeated Eagles Landing 16-7
Elite Spicy Senoritas vs. Bar Spur 11-10
Legends defeated Auour Polo Team 11-8
3- to 6-goal Southwestern Circuit General Lewis “Chesty” Puller
1. Dallas Polo (6): Michael Farah (1), Don Gruntmeir (1), Will Walton (4)
2. GK Farms (4): Jessica Keneally (0), Audrey Persano (2), James Glew (2)
3. Herk’s Store and Grill (6): Megan Flynn (2), Wendy Stover (2), Ashley Owen (2)
4. Legends (5): Jonathan Winson (-1), Hailey Winson (-1), Nacho Estrada (2), August Scherer (5)
5. Texas Military (5): Gal Shweiki (1), Karl Hilberg (1), Javier Insua (3)
6. Bar Spur (6): Mark Osburn (2), Don English, Jr. (2), Brady Williams (2)
7. Visage.Jobs (5): Jack Crea (1), Joss Leufrancois (2), Trey Crea (2)
8. Lease Plan (4): Lisa Yanskey (-1), Megan Rahlfs (2), Tiamo Hudspeth (3)
9. Auour (6): Rehan Kumble (1), Molly Hosler (1), Robert Payne III (4)
10. Horsegate (5): Nick Stefanakis (0), Lance Stefanakis (2), Anson Moore (3)
11. Phipps Polo (5): Rob Phipps (0), Thomas Phelps (2), Chris Jones (3)
12. PSL Polo (4): Sarah Morelli (-1), Carolyn Stimmel (2), Russell Stimmel (3)
Sunday, January 30
Dallas Polo defeated GK Farms 12-7
Herk’s Store and Grill defeated Legends 13-12
Texas Military defeated Bar Spur 13-11
Lease Plan defeated Visage,Jobs 15-8
Horsegate defeated Auour 13-8
PSL Polo defeated Phipps Polo 14-9
Every game of the Texas Arena League awards a Galvin Agency Most Valuable Player, Catena USA Sportsmanship Award and Nutrena Best Playing Pony. The winners of these awards are listed below.
Galvin Agency Most Valuable Players
Tiamo Hudspeth (MVP in two divisions)
Stephanie Massey Colburn
Catena USA Sportsmanship Award Recipients
Don English, Jr.
Robert Payne III
Nutrena Best Playing Pony
Judy - owned and played by Robert Payne III
Hobo - owned and played by Cody Woodfin
Xena - owned and played by Will Walton
Pashmina - owned by Taimur Zeb and played by Javier Insua
Padlock - owned by Karen Reese and played by Tess Pimsner
Cowboy - owned by Javier Insua and played by Rehan Kumble
Rico - owned and played by Don English Jr.
Pepe - played by Ally Vaughn
Platinum - owned and played by Stephanie Massey Colburn
Zama - owned and played by Megan Rahlfs
Katniss - owned and played by Will Walton
Esmerelda - owned by Hidden View Farm and played by Megan Flynn
Sonita - owned and played by Brady Williams
Patiso - owned by Mark Prinsloo and played by Megan Rahlfs
Babylon - owned by Horsegate and played by Nick Stefanakis
Jill - owned by and played by Russell Stimmel
*Tiamo Hudspeth is Team USPA alumna. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo
All photos courtesy of ©David Murrell.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More