Jan 09, 2024 6:37 PM
The Polo Training Foundation (PTF) Fall Fandango Arena Polo Extravaganza experienced yet another successful year during its 2023 event at Legends Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas. This years’ event featured 21 teams participating in four USPA arena tournaments, a Polo Training Foundation clinic with Tom Goodspeed and arena umpire training with USPA Umpires, LLC. Established at Brushy Creek Polo Ranch in 2008, this year’s participation included a great turnout of players, umpires and spectators from across the country. Interscholastic and intercollegiate qualifying games, insightful strategy review, arena umpire training, Club and JV tournament, equine nutrition education and time to bond with other polo enthusiasts have made this event an invaluable experience for all advancing polo players who attend.
“Fall Fandango was a treat for young polo players to connect with similar age college students...a wonderful time to meet new people and make new friends!” – Charlie Walker
The Fall Fandango is proudly supported by the PTF and USPA Arena Committee. With its initiative to increase participation in arena polo, the USPA Arena Committee has become a vital resource for events navigating the promotion of polo across the United States. Similarly, the PTF supports polo training at all levels and encourages the highest standards of sportsmanship through healthy competition. It is through the junction of such organizations that share such a common goal that the Fall Fandango is able to reach so many.
Through the PTF’s direct support, polo instructor Tom Goodspeed was able to serve as a clinician for the 2023 Fall Fandango. In addition to providing a legendary clinician, the PTF also helped offset costs for the facility, on-site video and photographers. Thanks to the footage gained from the games, players were able to watch their play and receive helpful advice from Tom Goodspeed on what techniques to adjust. Improvement could be seen from the first to very last day as players honed their skills under insightful tutelage.
Legends Polo Club has served as a fitting venue for the Fall Fandango for several years now and continues to be a refuge for polo players of all skill level. With its location near Dallas, players and spectators alike have been able to congregate to enjoy high-level polo in the central region. Coordinators, players and spectators alike extend monumental thanks to owner and operator Ignacio “Nacho” Estrada for providing the facility for the duration of the arena polo extravaganza. The Legends Polo Club not only boasts an exemplary staff but also full care boarding, horse training, and polo and riding lessons at an expansive 34-acre polo facility.
“It was nerve wracking being our first season," said Audrey Keneda of the University of North Texas, "but we are endlessly grateful for how much experience we gained from PTF Fall Fandango. Overall, a great experience and we hope to do it again!”
“This was the first time taking our team to Fall Fandango and they loved it. It was well run, we had nice horses and the additional coaching by Tom Goodspeed really made it an amazing weekend! Thank you, Polo Training Foundation, for supporting such a memorable event.” – Heather Perkins, Coach OC Polo
Twenty one total teams competed at the 2023 Fall Fandango in four USPA-sanctioned tournaments. The tournaments incorporated varying levels of play from Club & JV to high school and collegiate, providing something for everyone. This year’s turnout showcased six interscholastic teams including: OC Polo, St Louis, Kingswood, Legends, Midland and San Antonio. Interscholastic players were able to play and hone their skills while having a chance to network with collegiate players over the course of the weekend.
The collegiate competitor turnout was nothing short of impressive with four collegiate men’s teams (Colorado State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M) and four collegiate women’s teams (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Trinity University, University of North Texas) arriving to compete this year. Due to the remarkable turnout, seven collegiate club member teams competed in a Club Member tournament with players from Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
The Fall Fandango continually shows its commitment to supporting the youth development initiative in the sport of polo. Promising young polo players from across the country appear at the Fall Fandango every year for a chance to showcase what they have learned. Students can ask questions as they undergo crucial development into safe and knowledgeable polo players. Even outside of the Fall Fandango event, the Polo Training Foundation sends clinicians to host clubs to teach polo clinics throughout the year and support annual events such as Florida Junior Polo, Virginia Clinics, Mustang Madness, College Fair and more.
“The PTF Fall Fandango event provided a great polo learning experience for me and for the rest of my team, " said Jose Tadeo of Oklahoma State University. "Robin’s umpire clinic teachings were very thorough and significant to us as trainees, making sure that rules and procedures were covered and implemented during the game. My favorite part was the classroom session which included a laugh here and there, but very professional. Tom Goodspeed's teachings during the event were beyond helpful to our understanding of arena polo, his coaching skills are outstanding and are of course a gift for players of all levels! Overall, I’m quite impressed and satisfied with the quality of instruction given at this event and look forward to come back next year!”
Sharon Choney of Nutrena was onsite for equine nutrition education and a drawing for 10 bags of performance horse feed from Nutrena. Texas Tech was the lucky winner and expressed great excitement to bring the feed back to their hand-working herd. All clubs receiving Nutrena coupons and all participants rerturned home with a PTF-provided Fall Fandango shirt created by Royal B Threads to commemorate the weekend.
With the emphasis on inspiring and educating the next generation of polo players clear, the Fall Fandango arena polo extravaganza has once again proved itself committed to investing in the future generation of polo players. Instruction did not stop at the player level. Fall Fandango also served as a training for upcoming umpires hosting an arena umpire training with umpire clinician Robin Sanchez and USPA Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle. Tasked with educating and training both certified and developing arena umpires, the classroom sessions, video review and game training proved beneficial for those learning more about being arena polo umpires.
“The best part of the weekend for me was learning how to be a referee," recounted Kingwood's Finn Guenther. "Attending the umpire clinic was great. It not only helped me as a player understand the calls but also helped me link the foul to the type of call. Gaining this insight will make me a better player. The entire weekend was well planned with lots of polo. I met other Intercollegiate/Interscholastic players and knowledgeable coaches. Everyone in the community was friendly and made me feel at home. Overall, I had an amazing time at PTF Fall Fandango and would definitely return.”
The Fall Fandango has received support nation-wide and continues to grow a following of both players and spectators nursing a passion for the sport. Committed to nurturing the next generation of polo players and continuing education for polo umpires, the Fall Fandango cements itself as a foundational event for both opportunity and fun.
“The CSU Men's team had such a blast at PTF Fall Fandango this year," Rhys Farber of Colorado State University said. "Everybody was extremely welcoming, and all the teams we played had great sportsmanship. We never could've participated this year if it wasn't for the help of Robin Sanchez and Javier Insua. Fall Fandango is definitely a can't-miss.”
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