Hotel Colorado wins polo tourney " again | AspenTimes.com

Hotel Colorado wins polo tourney " again

Linda Lafferty
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Kelley Cox/Post IndependentRiders compete in Sunday's Devereux Cup at Stout Ranch, up Baldy Creek, south of New Castle. Spectators watched from from the sidelines, many sitting on bales of hay, as the riders competed on the field.

NEW CASTLE, Colo. ” They swore it wasn’t rigged ” but, say what you will, the team from Hotel Colorado won the Hotel Colorado Devereux Cup polo tournament for the fifth year in a row on Sunday at Stout Ranch on Baldy Creek.

Or maybe the tournament really isn’t rigged ” maybe it’s just that Barry Stout has been Hotel Colorado’s team captain all five years and he knows how to win a polo tournament.

On Sunday, he clinched the win with a tie-breaking last-minute goal. Clouds piled high in the sky over the field at the remote ranch ” “Top of the earth!” one spectator exclaimed ” and an enthusiastic crowd cheered from the sidelines as Team Azteca and Hotel Colorado rode out for the first round of the three-team six-chukker round robin competition.

Play was fast on the hard-packed turf, with horses thundering the length of the 300-yard field at a full gallop.

Team Azteca’s Jorge Estrada, visiting from Scottsdale, Ariz., scored the day’s first goal in the opening minutes of play, but Stout took swift revenge, scoring twice in the opening period to give Hotel Colorado a 21 lead.

Late in the chukker, Michelle Christiansen from Vernal, Utah, carried a pass from Stout down the field, and knocked in a goal of her own to put the score at 3-1, Hotel Colorado. That’s how the score remained at the end of a scoreless second chukker, giving Hotel Colorado a win over Azteca in the first stage of the round-robin.

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Team Azteca stayed on the field to face the Roaring Fork Polo Team in the second round.

Roaring Fork captain Scott Malek from Scottsdale immediately fired in two goals. One came on a penalty shot from 60 yards out and the second on a breakaway down the field.

In the fourth chukker, Azteca’s Dan Coleman, of Quemado, N. M., scored a quick goal to cut Roaring Fork’s lead in half.

Then Azteca captain Jorge Estrada maneuvered the ball down the field, carrying it from mid-field, threading his way through the opposing players and outrunning them to the uprights for a goal.

That left the score tied at 2-2 as the horn sounded to end the fourth chukker.

For the last two chukkers of the tourney, Roaring Fork stayed on the field to face Hotel Colorado.

Stout scored in the first few minutes of play, but Roaring Fork’s Malek slammed in an answering goal almost immediately.

Stout retaliated with another goal at the end of the fifth chukker, to bring the tally to 2-1 Hotel Colorado. In the sixth and final chukker, Malek scored yet another goal with a superb neck shot to tie the game, 2-2. With the score tied and only 10 seconds left in the game, Stout blew past Team Roaring Fork to chalk up one last goal and win the Hotel Colorado tournament for team Hotel Colorado.

For the fifth straight year.

Rigged? More like fierce competitive skill matched with a burning desire not to lose.

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