Rushmore Polo Club Continues Winning Streak

Rushmore Polo and Social Club’s chances of pulling a 4th straight win over visiting Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club at Sunday’s Newton Fork Ranch’s 24th Annual “Picnic & Polo” event looked bleaker than this past summer’s skies. With a shake-up of the Hill City team members with the absence of Boe and Angela Gregson, it took awhile for Rushmore to settle into the game. The missing Gregsons were replaced by renowned buffalo wrangler Duane Lammers, now of Manitoba, Canada and Susie Lammers of Sioux Falls. Filling out the home team roster was Tim Gregson and, as an alternate, Duane’s son Alex, who last played in 2007. The Black Hills Polo Club was represented by Kurt and Judy Ketelsen from north of Ellsworth, Rich Jensen of Double Diamond Ranch and, Dan Glyten of Hill City who was playing as an alternate.

Stepping onto the field in the first chukker were Kurt and Judy Ketelsen along with Dan Gylten. Representing Hill City were Duane Lammers, Tim Gregson, and Susie Lammers. And, although both teams came out with mallets swinging, the first chukker ended scoreless.

Commencing with the second chukker, the play began in earnest. Black Hills Polo members Kurt Ketelsen and Dan Glyten both put a goal on the board with Rich Jensen assisting. Rushmore managed to answer the call with a goal of its own posted by captain Tim Gregson. Both teams exhibited some fine playing with lots of impressive, strong offside backhand shots that kept the ball rolling on goal. The match went into halftime with a score of 2-1 in favor of Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club.

After the players moved off field to water and rest their ponies, the third annual “Arleen Lippman Hat Contest” commenced.   Mrs. Lippman, former owner of “A&H Grocery” on Hill City’s Main Street was well known for her fondness for hats. Having owned more than 100, she was rarely sighted without one. Spectators were encouraged to flex their creativity and contestants stepped forward to vie for Sunday’s trophy. As Newton Fork Ranch owner and game day announcer Linda Flounders held a polo mallet aloft behind each competitor, the crowd voiced its approval with applause. In a very close decision, crowd favorite Anne French of Hill City was announced as the winner of the annual trophy.

The parade of hats was soon followed by spectators taking to the field with champagne glasses in hand to participate in “stomping divots.”   The annual tradition was again hosted by former poloist, Kitty Pitts.

Action resumed with Tim Gregson, along with Duane and Alex Lammers putting the moves on Rapid City. With horses panting and solid shots up and down the field, Rapid City’s Kurt Ketelsen, Rich Jensen, and Dan Glyten were denied the opportunity to up the ante. But neither was Hill City able to score. Although both teams exhibited excellent offensive and defensive moves, the third chukker ended scoreless and expressions of frustration resumed. Not only on the faces of the players but also on the faces of scorekeeper Rachel Taylor and flagmen Gervase Hittle and Shane Taylor who were left idle.

When the fourth and final chukker began with Kurt and Judy Ketelsen taking the field along with Dan Gylten, it looked as though Hill City might be handed its first defeat in three years. Opposing Rapid City was Duane Lammers, Tim Gregson, and Susie Lammers. With a steely look in Gregson’s eye that said Hill City would not go “quietly into that good night,” the play began. Gylten, competitive as ever, seemed to have his nose in every play. The Ketelsens also proved adept at offensive maneuvering that featured Judy delivering a successful shot on goal. But Hill City would not be denied. Gregson pressed on and issued a firm slap down with two goals that were matched by teammate Alex Lammers. When the game ended, Hill City’s Rushmore Polo and Social Club prevailed with a score of 5-3.

Afterwards, fans gathered to enjoy a picnic with lots of delicious food provided by guests, Moni Matush of the Alpine Inn, Wally Matush, and Newton Fork Ranch. The celebrants enjoyed visiting with one another, and relishing the burgers and hot dogs seasoned and served up by the culinary talents of Grill Chef Bob Stanfiel.

With everyone’s appetite satiated, the afternoon concluded with a well-received concert by the Badger Setts Band headed by Pegie Douglas. The ensemble was formed in 2012 to honor the life of Badger Clark, South Dakota’s First Poet Laureate. Douglas, the founder, puts select Badger Clark poems to music. The group had graciously agreed to appear Sunday in honor of Clark’s “original” Badger Hole cabin having been relocated from Custer State Park to Newton Fork Ranch.

2014 Polo Photo #1

Rushmore Polo member Duane Lammers (white #3) confers with opposing Black Hills Polo players Judy Ketelsen (background) and Dan Gylten (red #4).

2014 Polo Photo #2

The game is about to begin with the Black Hills Polo Club members players, Judy Ketelsen (red #1), Kurt Ketelsen (red #2), Dan Gylten (red #4), waiting for the ball roll-in. Along side them is Rushmore Polo and Social Club members Susie Lammers (white #1), Tim Gregson (white #2), and Duane Lammers (white #3).

2014 Polo Photo #3

Rapid City player Kurt Ketelsen (red #2) sets up for a nearside backhand shot, one of the most difficult maneuvers because the rider is off-balance, as Rushmore player Duane Lammers (white #3) and Tim Gregson (white #2) pursue.

2014 Polo Photo #4

A strong downfield shot by Judy Ketelsen (red #1) has Susie Lammers (white #1) and Tim Gregson in pursuit. Kurt Ketelsen (red #2) is providing backup. Flagman Gervase Hittle is seen in the background.

2014 Polo Photo #5

It’s anybody’s ball as Black Hills Polo Club’s Judy Ketelsen (red #1), Kurt Ketelsen, and Rushmore Polo & Social Club member Tim Gregson (white #2) race neck-in-neck.

2014 Polo Photo #6

Black Hills Polo Club team member Rich Jensen glides past enraptured spectators as Susie Lammers and Tim Gregson of Rushmore Polo shadow.

2014 Polo Photo #7

Winner Anne French grips her “Arleen Lippman Hat Trophy” while conferring with a fellow contestant.

2014 Polo Photo #8

“Team Ketelsen” (in red shirts) try to hold Rushmore’s Susie Lammers (white #1) at bay during Sunday’s 24th Annual “Picnic & Polo” match at Newton Fork Ranch.

2014 Polo Photo #9

Rushmore Polo & Social Club wins Sunday’s polo game with a score of 5-3.

2014 Polo Photo #10

Tim Gregson accepts the “Paul E. Lippman Memorial Polo Cup” on behalf of Hill City’s team.

2014 Polo Photo #11

Spectators lined up for the annual barbeque following the game. Chef Bob Stanfiel confers with a hungry guest.

2014 Polo Photo #12

Pegie Douglas and the Badger Setts Band delights the crowd with song and celebration during the post-game festivities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: