Apr 27, 2021 8:45 PM
Legends Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas, was filled with passionate Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) alumni the weekend of April 24 and 25 as they competed for the 2021 Feldman Cup. This year’s Feldman Cup drew former players from Culver Academies, University of Oklahoma (OU), University of Texas (UT), Texas A&M (TAMU), Southern Methodist University (SMU), and Texas Tech for an amazing weekend of old-school rivalry and competitive arena polo. Horsemanship was also in top form with players bringing in their personal horses as well as horses from Legends Polo Club and the Texas A&M polo program. The 2021 Feldman Cup hosted six teams overall, four vying for the coveted spot on the Feldman Cup trophy, and two teams in the newly-added B-flight. After a strong performance in the A-flight semifinal, Texas Mustangs defeated Triple Threat to claim the Feldman Cup final 17-14. Meanwhile in the B-flight, the all-women team Long Horned Cowgirls came away with the narrow two-goal victory on net goals.
The first semifinal of the A-flight pitted Texas Mustangs (Zain Saud, Jason Atkins, August Scherer) against Hufflepuff (Cuatro Tolson, Don English, Megan Rahlfs) with Hufflepuff receiving one goal on handicap. Scherer and Atkins each scored one goal for Texas Mustangs which was answered by Tolson and Rahlfs. Texas Mustangs ended the first chukker awarded a Penalty 1 as well as a pony goal from the other team to end the chukker with the narrow 4-3 lead. Three goals from Scherer and one from Tolson in the second took the teams to halftime with a score of 7-4 in favor of Texas Mustangs. A high-scoring third chukker saw Saud and Scherer both add to the tally to pick up four goals total. Rahlfs led the opposing team with three to bring the score to 11-10 in favor of Texas Mustangs. “The key success of our team dynamic was that each of us recognized our roles early on and stuck to them throughout and it got us the win!” Saud commented. The energy was high headed into the fourth and all six players upped their game, but Texas Mustangs earned their place in the final 16-13.
The Texas Mustangs entered the Feldman Cup final on the second day of competition ready to face Triple Threat (Laura Straussfeld, Brady Williams, Mark Osburn) who was awarded three goals on handicap. In the first chukker Texas Mustangs came out strong with five goals, but two goals from Straussfeld leveled the playing field 5-all. Play heated up in the second with Straussfeld and Williams each scoring a goal for Triple Threat, but Scherer retaliated with six goals to take the game into half with a score of 11-7 in favor of Texas Mustangs. Triple Threat rallied in the third and upped their defensive game with four goals. Texas Mustangs hung onto the lead with one goal contributed from each teammate, bringing the third chukker to a close with a score of 14-11. The final chukker saw some strong play both offensively and defensively from all six players and incredible horsemanship. Scherer jumped out with the first goal of the fourth and was answered by two goals from Straussfeld and one from Osburn. A strong offensive force, Scherer sealed the win with three additional goals ending the game 17-14 with a Feldman Cup win for Texas Mustangs.
Participating in the inaugural Feldman Cup in 2014, Atkins was excited for the opportunity to reunite with fellow alumni again. “It’s great to see people I haven’t seen in a while,” Atkins said. “Robin [Sanchez] always does such a great job putting these events together. If you ask who are the people that keep I/I polo going, I guarantee her name will always come up.”
August Scherer was named Most Valuable Player. “It was an awesome weekend and successful event at Legends Polo Club,” Scherer said. “Our strategy was focused around throw-in execution, creating picks to create space, and aligning our horse strings correctly. Also the Saturday barbeque was undoubtedly the highlight with great food, atmosphere, and karaoke!” “My strategy was basically riding people off and staying out of August’s [Scherer] way,” Atkins added. “He is a machine!”
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Platinum, owned and played by Brady Williams. Don English was awarded the Sportsmanship Award. The Horsemanship Award was given to Stephanie Massey Colburn.
“The best part about the tournament was seeing familiar faces again and rekindling some old rivalries,” Saud said. “All the games in the tournament were very evenly-matched games and a high level of polo was played throughout.” "It was great seeing people from before, after, and during my time in I/I," Triple Threat's Straussfeld added. "We are all still quite competitive. Our team did well because we'd all been competing in TAL and even though we hadn't played together before we knew each other’s playing styles."
In the first of two games in the B-flight, A-OK (Omar Polio, Amanda Osburn, Julio Trevino) started with two goals on handicap with each player adding to the scoreboard. A penalty shot from Osburn gave her team the brief advantage over the Long Horned Cowgirls (Kim Buttram, Robin Sanchez, Katie Anderson) 6-2. Answering back in the second chukker, each member of the all-women team scored, taking the game into halftime 10-9. The third chukker was hard fought with more goals by both teams and another penalty conversion by Osburn bringing the score 12-11 in favor of the Long Horned Cowgirls. In the final chukker the Longhorn Cowgirls rallied earning a timely Penalty 1, three goals from Buttram, two goals from Anderson, and one goal from Sanchez to bring the final score of the first round of B-flight to 19-12 in favor of the Long Horned Cowgirls.
Game two saw Polio in fine form scoring three for A-OK with Trevino and Osburn also adding to the tally. Two goals from Anderson ended the first chukker with A-OK leading Longhorn Cowgirls 8-2. With a goal from Trevino, A-OK maintained a lead in the second despite two more goals from Anderson and one from Sanchez, entering halftime 9-5. With each player landing on the scoreboard, A-OK stayed strong in the third against one goal from Anderson which ended the third chukker 12-6 in favor of A-OK. The fourth chukker was another competitive chukker with Buttram and Sanchez each scoring three from the field for the Long Horned Cowgirls. However, Osburn and Trevino brought the score to 17-12 for a win for A-OK. After two tough games, the Long Horned Cowgirls won the Feldman Cup B-flight on net goals 31-29.
First-time participant Omar Polio was named Most Valuable Player. “It was great being able to see old friends come together to play while being able to support our former college clubs,” Polio said. “In our second match, our team [A-OK] was able to better cover our man and get along the walls to defend against the other team. Being placed on a team with people we've never played with before was a challenge, so it took us till the second game to get a better feel of how to work as a team and build off our individual strengths!”
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Panela, owned by Legends Polo Club and played by Kim Buttram. “It was a good competition and I really enjoyed playing with other former I/I players,” Buttram commented about her first Feldman Cup experience. “The horses all played really well and I would definitely do it again.”
Julio Trevino received the Sportsmanship Award. The Horsemanship Award was presented to Robin Sanchez (Interscholastic coach and I/I instructor).
“It’s fun to watch a bunch of fabulous fellow alumni battling it out for the Feldman Cup,” said I/I coach Tom Goodspeed. “It’s really a joy to watch all these flights and levels.” Receiving the Texas Arena League Best Host Club honor in 2021 and 2020, Legends Polo Club had another successful event and all participants enjoyed the weekend festivities. The camaraderie among the I/I players was warm with respect and admiration. Also Julio Trevino won the Karaoke King Award by bringing down the house with his rendition of Ricky Martin’s “Living La Vida Loca.”
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