The Devereux tradition continues
After many long quiet years in the Glenwood polo scene, the Devereux Cup was resurrected in 2002 and tournaments are now held at the Stout Ranch at Baldy Creek. Located at more than 8,000 feet, the ranch is surrounded by the Garfield State Wildlife Area and has an unobstructed view of the mountains beyond.This year’s tournament featured three teams: Azteca, captained by George Estrada, of Arizona; Roaring Fork, led by Lloyd Ryder, of South Africa and Aspen; and Hotel Colorado, captained by local host Barry Stout of Baldy Creek.
Stout’s 1,300-acre ranch and its awe-inspiring views evoke the spirit of the old Colorado West. The Baxter brothers, who guided pack trips into the Flattops Wilderness, would feel right at home here.Before this year’s tourney, heavy clouds shifted over the mountains from the west, bringing a threat of rain and the occasional rumble of thunder. But the weather held, the air cool and fresh, and the field benefited from a light rainfall from the night before.
Still, the dust started spinning when 32 hooves churned up the field at speeds of 30 mph in pursuit of the willow ball. In the opening match of the round-robin event, Roaring Fork took an early lead against Azteca, scoring three goals in the first chukker. In the second chukker, Azteca came roaring back for revenge, and George Estrada, Tom Powell and Michelle Huber each racked up a goal to put the score at three all. Then Lloyd Ryder put in a penalty shot from 60 yards, moving Roaring Fork up 4-3. In the last seconds of the period, Estrada tipped in a goal when he stole the ball away from Roaring Fork’s Ryder, ending the period 4-4.Next up was Hotel Colorado against Roaring Fork. The main action on the field was Hotel Colorado’s Barry Stout against Lloyd Ryder, battling in shoulder-to-shoulder ride-offs, pushing horse against horse at a flat-out gallop to win control of the ball. At one point, Lloyd and Stout were so absorbed in their competition against one another that they collided with referee Allan Shaffer as the ball shot past the sideline. Lloyd took a spill, as did Shaffer. Neither man sustained serious injuries and the game continued.
George Estrada III (son of Azteca’s captain) also fought hard against Roaring Fork and managed a goal in the opening few minutes of the third chukker. In the fourth chukker of the match, Stout made two penalty shots, to seal a 3-1 victory over Roaring Fork.Azteca came back on the field against Hotel Colorado in the tourney’s final round. Some of the best action was the hard bumps and fierce battles for the ball between father and son: Azteca’s Estrada and his son, George Estrada III. Todd Merriam carried the ball several times out of the lineup. When the dust settled, it was Hotel Colorado 3, Team Azteca 0.
The trophy went to Hotel Colorado, with Roaring Fork second and Team Azteca third. The day’s competition and camaraderie was a fitting memorial to Walter D. Devereux and his contributions to polo in the Roaring Fork Valley.