Dec. 14th & 15th, 2014
Empire Polo Club
By Connie Atkinson
Twenty eight junior polo players ranging in age from three years old to sixteen turned out to initiate the desert’s Junior Polo Season at the beautiful Empire Polo Club. Visiting teams from Orange County and Poway Polo Club came to meet and compete with Empire’s Junior players and each other in this two day event. Saturday they played polo in the arena and on Sunday the teams played on the grass.
For many of the Empire players this was their first tournament. None of Empire lead-line teams had ever played in a match. It was a great experience for everyone. Little Valentina Tadeo, 3 years old, had the help of her father, Alvaro, a 3-goal polo player. This made for a wild completion between the players, or should I say, those that lead the horses.
Lead Line: Empire Red Jany, Valentina and Brinley vs. Empire Yellow Team: Garrett, Anna Margaret and Diego.
Brackets 2 and 3 were the walk-trot- and hand canter. Heather Perkins from Orange County Polo Club brought two teams to play. The OC Black team lost in a close 2/3 score against Empire’s Yellow team. However, OC’s White team won decisively over Empire’s Red team with a score of 8/0.
Saturday Arena Teams:
OC Black: Ella H, Hudson and Jack
Empire Yellow: Connor, Alyssa and Anna Margaret/Garrett
OC White: Quinn, Anthony and Kayla
Empire Red: Sofia, Ella and Brinley
In the A flight Bracket, OC ‘s Green team played exceptionally well, beating Empire’s Blue team with a score of 8/3.
OC Green: Aria, Chandler, Mila
Empire Blue: Nick, Alyssa and Ella B.
Lunch on Saturday was provided by Chandler and Ella’s Aunt, Tanya Paneno, giving everyone an opportunity to meet the players and their parents.
Sunday’s games on the grass proved to be a classic event with Russ Sheldon bringing in seven players from Poway Polo Club. Heather Perkins and Connie Atkinson paired-up the teams. All players played two chukkers starting with Empire’s lead line teams with their final score, Red 5; Yellow 2.
Green: Alexis (Empire), Gracie (Empire), Grant (Empire), Ali (Poway)
Blue: Santiago (Empire), Ian (Empire), Nick *Empire), Mila (OC)
White: Aria (OC), Chandler (OC), Skylar (Poway) Maddie (Poway)
Yellow: Shannon (Poway), Drew (Poway), Emma (Poway), Nicky (Poway)
In a very competitive game matching Green against Blue, Green was victorious with a score of 7/2. The following game was between White and Yellow. After 2 extremely close chukkers, Yellow won with a score of 1/0.
OC Black: Kayla, Ella H. Hudson and Jack
Empire Red: Brinley, Alyssa, Ella B. and Rosie
In the B Flight on the grass, O C’s Black won against Empire’s Red in a score of 4/1.
Trophies for Empire’s Jr. Event, Snow Globes, were donated by Kathy and Bryan Kolb, active volunteers with the Empire Junior Polo Program. Lunch of Pizza and cake was provide by Bill and Connie Atkinson. All players received tournament shirts and participation trophies. This was a great event to kick-off the winter season. Everyone had a wonderful, safe polo experience and we are all looking forward to doing it again next year. Thank you Empire Polo Club.