Oct 01, 2019 2:51 PM
Club owner Nicole Bankhead invited lady polo players from southern California and Arizona to play in the Pacific Coast Circuit Arena Women’s Challenge at Lakeside Polo Club in Lakeside, California. Eight teams accepted the challenge and came to play in the two-day inaugural tournament honoring two lady polo players who were instrumental in bringing women into the sport. The colorful tournament program, authored by Sandy Webb, featured a tribute to these women who fostered the interest in polo for lady riders early in the history of southern California.
The first was Irene Watson Hering who began playing at the Coronado Polo Club in the 1920s. She organized a women’s polo team at San Diego State College in 1930 and played military teams located in and around San Diego during the prewar years. She was also instrumental in bringing a young Navy doctor, Lt. Eugene R. Hering, into the game. They were married in 1935 and twenty years later retired to Lakeside to start his medical practice and build their “field of dreams”. The local polo community thanks the Bankhead family for continuing and expanding on the tradition of fun and friendly polo.
The second was Sue Sally Hale, who was long an important figure in southern California polo for both men and women. Hale played in invitational tournaments at the Hering’s Lakeside ranch in the late 50s and early 60s and then came back to run clinics and encourage good horsemanship. She even taught the Marines how to play polo. Lakeside Polo Club now has 30 female and 20 male USPA playing members.
The eight teams were divided into A and B flights based on handicaps and experience.
A Flight Teams
OC Luna Polo
The quality of horsemanship and polo skills these two teams demonstrated was amazing. They came to play hard and fast polo. The home team featuring Molly Agee’s spectacular riding and mallet work was no match for the balanced teamwork and constant defensive pressure of the Orange County visitors.
Heather Perkins was named Most Valuable Player. Best Playing Pony was awarded to Shelley Geiler’s Golden Girl (Gee Gee). Nicole Bankhead received the Horsemanship Award and Kim Foy was named the Best Sportsman for her quiet yet always present defensive presence.
The B Flight matches with six teams were played in a double round robin format over the two days.
B Flight Teams
50 Shades of Bay (Poway)
Mane Attraction (Lakeside)
Manolo Polo(San Diego Surf Polo)
LPC Polo Chicks (Lakeside)
Brick House (Lakeside)
California Polo / OC Polo
The final B Flight matches were played out with the skill and intensity equal to that of the A Flight, but the hosts yielded to the visitors. California Polo/OC Polo led by Kailey Eldredge, who scored the most goals of the tournament, were the victors in the thrilling final match. Nicole DeBerg was awarded Most Valuable Player for her determined and relentless play. Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Jemma Contreras’ Blue, a gray gelding played by Kailey Eldredge.
Photos courtesy of Lakeside Polo Club
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