Fairs & Festivals

Looming storm gives polo match a bye (w/ video & photo gallery)

LAKEWOOD RANCH — It was supposed to be chukkers, Corvettes and Clydesdales for the Robert A. Uihlein Jr. Memorial Cup.

But with a ponderous and slow-moving storm system shadowing Sunday’s polo event, fans were happy to settle for the polo ponies and the gentle giants of the horse world famous for pulling Budweiser beer wagons.

At halftime, lucky kids and a few grownups got to ride in George Alexander’s big red wagon pulled by a team of Clydesdales.

But the halftime Corvette parade was scratched.

And due to drainage problems on the regular field, the match was moved one field over.

When it was all over, the Genesis Group team had defeated Touchstone 14-9, just before the heavy rains which had been threatening all day finally turned loose.

Roger and Sandy Crihfield, picking up their belongings from the sidelines, said they have been coming to polo matches at Lakewood Ranch for five years, and enjoy rooting against each other and socializing with the friends they have made on the polo grounds.

“We pick our teams early and support them,” said Sandy Crihfield.

It’s not unusual for the Crihfields to leave the polo grounds and retire to some place like Polo Grill or MacAllister’s Restaurant afterward.

“We do that so that we don’t miss our polo friends,” she said.

One of those friends, John Russell, said the see-saw match was evenly matched. The final goal came late in the sixth and final chukker, or period of play.

Two matches remain this season: The United States Polo Association Regional Classic-Southeast Finals on April 4 and the Ringling Cup Finals on April 11. Gates open at 11 a.m. and matches begin at 1 p.m. General admission tickets are $10.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.