Jul 18, 2023 5:48 PM
On the weekend of July 8, the Northwest Arkansas Polo Club (NWA) in Gravette, Arkansas, hosted their first USPA event of the season, the Great Plains Circuit Arena Sportsmanship Cup. Featuring five teams at the 0- to 4-goal level, participants traveled from across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, with most competitors aged 18 or younger. Located near Bentonville, Arkansas, NWA is enjoying a growing polo fanbase with approximately 50 guests tailgating each day of the games. The club plays arena polo on grass with open ends, and traditional outdoor goal posts with an arena polo ball was used for the matches.
Igniting the competition, Dare Devils (Marcus Murphy, Bryn Swope-Bell, James “JB” Long) went head-to-head against Dallas Polo Club (Michael Farah, Bob Koehler, Nick Lahutsky). Featuring an energized line-up, with the youngest player of the competition in Swope-Bell at just 14, Dare Devils earned their first victory of the tournament 8-7.
Action continued with round-robin play as 10X/Mariposa (Kelly Coldiron, Lloyd “Ty” Koonce, Michael Scott) defeated Rancho Naranjo (Julian “Juli” Martinez, Alec Felhaber Jr., Cole Felhaber) 2.5-2. Rebounding against Young Guns (Gracie Brush, Jair De la Pena, Robson Macartney), Rancho Naranjo emerged victorious 4-2. Earning their second round-robin victory, 10X/Mariposa bested Young Guns 5-1 to advance into the final.
In the final, Dare Devils emerged fast and strong, with each player finding offensive success, including two goals from Murphy. In the second chukker, 10X/Mariposa gained momentum with Coldiron and Koonce both finding the goal, but the fiery start from Dare Devils provided a 6-2 lead at the half. Continuing to apply pressure to their opponents, Dare Devils worked in unison to control the pace of play while consistently making spectacular defensive shots to keep 10X/Mariposa off the scoreboard. Battling in the final chukker, both Koonce and Scott found the goal for 10X/Mariposa, but it was not enough to overtake an additional five-goals between Murphy and Long to deliver Dare Devils an impressive 12-4 victory.
Following Dare Devils’ triumph, Swope-Bell expressed, “I had a wonderful time playing with Marcus and JB. The games were all super enjoyable, and I was proud of the teamwork we were able to accomplish for the win.”
Based in Dallas, Texas, Murphy shared his thoughts on the success of traveling to NWA, “It’s always fun to go play at another club out of town with your friends, I enjoyed the cooler weather and NWA’s hospitality.”
Rewarded for his scoring ability and strong defensive plays throughout the tournament, James Long was named Most Valuable Player. Red hot from the start of the competition Long shared, “I had a great time at the Sportsmanship Cup getting to meet new people and to experience stadium polo. I could not have asked for a better team on and off the field and playing with people my own age made it even better.”
Jazzy, played and owned by Alec Felhaber Jr. was presented with Best Playing Pony honors. For his continued positive attitude, fairness, and support for his peers on and off the field, Cole Felhaber was presented the Sportsmanship Award.
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