Tag Archives: Polo

25th Polo Match Marks End Of An Era

Black Hills Polo Club saved the best until last. After a four-year losing streak, it prevailed 8-6 over Hill City’s Rushmore Polo Club in the 25th Annual Picnic & Polo Club match at Newton Fork Ranch.

Sunday, August 30th’s high goal game began with Rushmore seizing a strong lead with captain Tim Gregson posting two goals. It was soon answered by Black Hill’s veteran player Kurt Ketelsen weaving through Hill City’s defense for a shot on goal for a 2-1 score. Gregson responded with another goal that ended the 7 ½-minute chukker, 3-1, in Rushmore’s favor.

The second chukker began looking as if Rushmore Polo & Social Club would handily cinch a fifth straight title after Tim Gregson scored a quick fourth goal. But Ketelsen prevailed and answered the challenge with two goals in quick succession and the first half ended with a much closer 4-3 with Hill City still in the lead.

With riders and horses seeking shade to cool down in the steamy 90+-degree weather, the 150 or so fans took to the field for the traditional “divot stomp” generously hosted by Dan and Mary McNamara of the Harney Peak Inn. With champagne in hand, the crowd went in search of turf that needed replacing. The field was quickly repaired and the socializing commenced in earnest.

Following the divot stomp was the fourth annual “Arleen Lippman Hat Contest.” 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, it looked as though local favorite Anne French, last year’s winner may take the title again but she was edged out by visiting Caroline Kelner of La Jolla, CA with a silver cowboy hat decorated in a 25th Anniversary theme.

The third chukker got off to a quick start with Kurt Ketelsen driving a goal for Rapid City to tie the game 4-4. Inspired by his team’s show of force, Duane Lammers racked up another two goals to move Black Hills Polo into the lead, 6-4. This turn-of-events drove Rushmore’s Boe Gregson, Tim’s nephew, into action with a driving goal of his own to end the third chukker, 6-5. After every chukker and goal the ball is thrown in, which kept ball persons Richard Flounders, and Wyatt and Riley Gylten hopping.

The fourth chukker began with fans, and score-keeper Laurie Flounders, on the edge of their seats. It was proving to be one of the most exciting and high-scoring games in years. Ketelsen, a third-generation polo player, came on strong posting yet another goal as Black Hills continued to pull ahead. Not to be deterred, crowd favorite Dan Gylten, sent a strong shot up field to Boe Gregson who piled on another point for Hill City. At 7-6, it was anyone’s guess who would secure the win. That was soon answered by veteran polo player Rich Jensen, who replaced alternate player Susie Lammers, mid-chukker, after an unexpected tumble. He scrambled his way through several Rushmore defensive players to secure the 8-6 win for Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club.

Afterwards, fans gathered to enjoy a picnic with lots of delicious food provided by Moni Matush and Wally Matush of the Alpine Inn, former poloist Kitty Pitts, Newton Fork Ranch, and the many guests. The celebrants enjoyed visiting with one another, and relishing the burgers and hot dogs seasoned and served up by the culinary talents of award-winning Grill Chef Bob Stanfiel. It was a bittersweet conclusion to the season as this was the 25th Anniversary and final polo game at Newton Fork Ranch. “It is getting harder each year to gather all the players up and we all agreed that it seemed apropos to end on a high note” commented ranch owner Linda Flounders. Her thought was followed by Chuck Fritzel who said, “Yes, but it will leave a awfully big hole in next year’s social calendar!”

Rushmore Polo & Social Club’s Dan Gylten (white #2) moves the ball down field while being closely followed by opposing Black Hills Polo Club’s Rich Jensen (red #4) and Kurt Ketelsen (red #1). Fellow team member Tim Gregson (white #1) brings up the rear.

Rushmore Polo & Social Club’s Dan Gylten (white #2) moves the ball down field while being closely followed by opposing Black Hills Polo Club’s Rich Jensen (red #4) and Kurt Ketelsen (red #1). Fellow team member Tim Gregson (white #1) brings up the rear.

Duane Lammers (red #3) playing for Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club is neck-in-neck with Hill City’s Rushmore Polo & Social Club’s Boe Gregson (white #3) in pursuit of the ball.

Duane Lammers (red #3) playing for Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club is neck-in-neck with Hill City’s Rushmore Polo & Social Club’s Boe Gregson (white #3) in pursuit of the ball.

Tim Gregson (white #1) performs an off-side shot to move the ball up field while Boe Gregson (white #3) assists. Susie Lammers (red #2) moves ahead to assume a defensive position.

Tim Gregson (white #1) performs an off-side shot to move the ball up field while Boe Gregson (white #3) assists. Susie Lammers (red #2) moves ahead to assume a defensive position.

“Picnic & Polo” at Newton Fork Ranch always includes, albeit sometimes elaborate, tailgate parties.

“Picnic & Polo” at Newton Fork Ranch always includes, albeit sometimes elaborate, tailgate parties.

Conviviality reigns as fans enjoy a glass of champagne and visiting with one another during the traditional halftime “divot stomp.”

Conviviality reigns as fans enjoy a glass of champagne and visiting with one another during the traditional halftime “divot stomp.”

Caroline Kelner (far right), flanked by fellow competitors, is the winner of the “Arleen Lippman Hat Trophy.”

Caroline Kelner (far right), flanked by fellow competitors, is the winner of the “Arleen Lippman Hat Trophy.”

Hill City’s Dan Gylten (white #2) looks back at opposing Black Hills Polo member Duane Lammers (red #3) in anticipation of the ball’s direction.

Hill City’s Dan Gylten (white #2) looks back at opposing Black Hills Polo member Duane Lammers (red #3) in anticipation of the ball’s direction.

Black Hills Polo Club team member Duane Lammers sends the ball down field with an offside shot as Kurt Ketelsen (red #1) prepares to assist. Rushmore member Tim Gregson (white #1) closes in.

Black Hills Polo Club team member Duane Lammers sends the ball down field with an offside shot as Kurt Ketelsen (red #1) prepares to assist. Rushmore member Tim Gregson (white #1) closes in.

Rapid City’s Duane Lammers breaks away with possession of the ball as fellow teammate Kurt Ketelsen (red #1) and the entire Hill City Rushmore Polo & Social Club pursues.

Rapid City’s Duane Lammers breaks away with possession of the ball as fellow teammate Kurt Ketelsen (red #1) and the entire Hill City Rushmore Polo & Social Club pursues.

Hill City’s Dan Gylten (white #2) sends the ball flying as fellow teammates react and Susie Lammers (red #2) moves to defend.

Hill City’s Dan Gylten (white #2) sends the ball flying as fellow teammates react and Susie Lammers (red #2) moves to defend.

Hill City’s Boe Gregson breaks away for a shot on goal while hotly pursued by Susie Lammers (red #2), Kurt Ketelsen (red #1), and Duane Lammers (red #3). Dan Gylten (white #2) brings up Hill City’s aft in the pivot position.

Hill City’s Boe Gregson breaks away for a shot on goal while hotly pursued by Susie Lammers (red #2), Kurt Ketelsen (red #1), and Duane Lammers (red #3). Dan Gylten (white #2) brings up Hill City’s aft in the pivot position.

Last year’s winning team captain Tim Gregson (left) shares in holding the Paul E. Lippman Memorial Trophy with this year’s victorious Black Hills Polo Club captain Duane Lammers (right).

Last year’s winning team captain Tim Gregson (left) shares in holding the Paul E. Lippman Memorial Trophy with this year’s victorious Black Hills Polo Club captain Duane Lammers (right).

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Rushmore Polo Club “Reins In” Another Victory

Last Sunday’s annual polo match at Newton Fork Ranch must have felt like déjà vu for Rapid City’s team captain Kurt Ketelsen.  Although historically the teams are equally matched, Hill City’s Rushmore Polo and Social Club dispensed the opponents with their third defeat in as many years.  Spectators, many who had turned out in their finest hats for a day of polo, were not disappointed by the action.  And the game had special meaning for captains Ketelsen and Tim Gregson, as the match was played in memory of their mothers, Patricia Ketelsen and Alice Gregson, who passed since last year’s game.  Both were faithful fans who, no doubt, were present Sunday in spirit.

The spectators had no sooner clutched the team roster and rules that Samantha Derwin had provided them when, quick as lightening, Dick Flounders threw the first ball in, the play commenced, and Boe Gregson put a goal on the board in short order.  Judy Ketelsen came to husband Kurt’s aid as he moved the ball up field in scoring position for Dan Gylten who, ultimately, was denied a scoring shot.  So although Rapid City responded with equal initial ferocity to Hill City’s bully boy press, the first chukker ended in Rushmore’s favor 1-0.

With Rapid “heavied up” on alternate players, the second chukker introduced Susie Lammers, a Sioux Falls resident playing for her second year and Rich Jensen of Double Diamond Ranch to assist with offense.  Their third rotating alternate, renowned buffalo wrangler, Duane Lammers answered the “call to arms” for the Black Hills Polo Club, making it 1-1 going into half-time.

After the players moved off field to water and rest their ponies, spectators, with champagne glasses in hand, were invited to participate in the annual tradition of “stomping divots” which was hosted this year by former poloist Kitty Pitts.  Friends greeted each other and, as a result of abundant summer rains, the quaking aspen and lush grass made the end-of-season socializing especially enjoyable.

The “bubbly fest” was soon followed by the second annual “Arleen Lippman Hat Award.”   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 about a dozen 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.  In a very close decision, crowd favorite Caroline Kelner of La Jolla, CA, in a blue hat festooned with ornate feathers, secured the win.

The Black Hills Polo Club player rotation continued when the match resumed; however, the rested trio comprised of the Ketelsens and Dan Gylten posed little threat to Rushmore Polo & Social Club.  Angela Gregson swiftly sent a shot on goal that severed the tie, making it 2-1.  Despite some terrific defensive maneuvering by Rapid City, Team Gregson was on the offense.  Angela followed up with a second goal to advance her team’s standing to 3-1 in the third chukker.

In the fourth chukker, with a refreshed Rich Jensen, Susie Lammers and, cousin-by-marriage, Duane Lammers rejoining the field, Rapid came out fighting.  Duane Lammers, who seemed to have his nose in every play, ran both offense and defense and provided Jensen the opportunity to score a goal.  Hill City captain Gregson answered the challenge with a swift goal of his own.  Not to be deterred, Jensen, with a chip shot to the corner, posted another goal, making it 4-3.  With the champagne-fueled spectators on pins and needles and flag persons Jim Williams and Maggie Derwin on high alert, Tim Gregson made his move.  With seconds remaining on the clock, he charged the goal and with mallet held high, nailed a near impossible offside neck shot and sent Rapid City a 5-3 farewell note.

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 recapping the game, visiting with friends, and relishing the burgers and hot dogs seasoned and served up by the culinary talents of Grill Chefs Bob Stanfiel and Rich Sitts.

With everyone’s appetite satiated, the afternoon concluded with a surprise concert by Nina McIntire.  A Russian violinist and MFA graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, she and her husband, Gary, live in Germany, yet have property in Hill City. After many years touring the world with European orchestras, she has recently launched her solo career as a pianist.  She treated guests to a repertoire of classical, jazz, and blues music.  Poised against a slate backdrop and surrounded by Newton Creek, she served up a rich dessert of Debussy, Mozart, and Chopin meshed with her own compositions.  Her unique musical creation, “Ivory Fantasy” (www.IvoryFantasy.com) which she has performed in Russia, Finland, and Germany, found a warm and welcoming reception among her charmed audience.  This was a mesmerizing conclusion to a magical day at Newton Fork Ranch.

ImageSurrounded by Rushmore’s Team Gregson (white shirts), Rich Jensen (red #3) moves the ball up field with assists by teammates Dan Gylten (red #2) and Susie Lammers (red #4).

ImageDuane Lammers (red #2) playing for Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club breaks away from Hill City’s Rushmore Polo & Social Club Boe Gregson (white #2), as Rich Jensen (red #3) and Susie Lammers look on.

ImageDick Flounders throws in the ball at the start of the second chukker.

ImageAngela Gregson (foreground) sets up for an offside shot for the Hill City team as Kurt Ketelsen (background) of Black Hills Polo Club pursues.

ImageConviviality reigns as fans enjoy a glass of champagne and visiting with one another during the halftime “divot stomp.”

ImageCaroline Kelner (left) wins the “Arleen Lippman Hat Award” and is joined by fellow competitors Laurie Flounders (center) and Moni Matush (right).

ImageDuane Lammers, renowned buffalo wrangler of “Dances With Wolves” fame, breaks away from the pack for Rapid City’s team.

ImageTeam Gregson sets up for a goal with Boe (#2) taking the lead backed by Tim (#3) and Angela (#1) as flag person Jim Williams looks on.

ImageIt’s “all hands on deck” as Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club charges for the goal led by Judy Ketelsen (red #2), followed closely by husband Kurt (red #3), Tim Gregson of Hill City’s Rushmore Polo & Social Club, and Dan Glyten (red #1).  Pursing on the right is opposing player Angela Gregson (white #1) as flag person Maggie Derwin is posed to rule on the action.

ImageRapid City teammate Dan Gylten chats up enthralled fans between chukkers.

ImageBoe confers with wife Angela prior to the post-game awards ceremony.

ImageHill City’s Rushmore Polo & Social Club is victorious once again.  Posing with their mounts: team captain Tim Gregson (left), Boe Gregson (center), and Angela Gregson (right).

ImageBlack Hills Polo Club team member Susie Lammers (red #4) congratulates opposing member Angela Gregson as teammate Duane Lammers (red #2) looks on.

ImageNina McIntire enchants polo fans at a surprise after-game piano concert in the meadow.

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22nd Annual Picnic & Polo Match Delivers Rapid City its second defeat in two years

Spectators, many who had turned out in their finest hats for a day of polo, had to hold onto them.  There was a storm a brewin’!  As expected, Hill City’s Rushmore Polo & Social Club stepped onto the field determined to hold onto the Paul E. Lippman Memorial Polo Cup for a second year in a row.  Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club had visions of taking the trophy back and so began the annual match on a pristine Saturday afternoon, August 25, 2012 at Newton Fork Ranch.  Before play commenced though, it was announced that this year’s event would be played in memory of Ed Winger who passed away last November.  Mr. Winger, a long-time Hill City resident along with his wife Jan, never missed a game.

When Jim Lammers threw the initial ball in, the play was fierce as the teams were evenly matched.  This year was no exception as the first chukker ended with local favorite Tim Gregson, captain of the Hill City team and Rapid City’s Kurt Ketelsen each scoring a goal.  Ketelsen, a third-generation polo player and Ellsworth area rancher, is a perennial crowd pleaser.  It should be noted that flag persons Rose Lammers and Jim DeNeui were relieved to have shared equal duties thus far.

The second chukker bore continued fruit as Tim, assisted by nephew Boe Gregson, a former NCAA indoor polo player, once again drove home a goal that was answered in short order by opposing member, and former buffalo rancher, Duane Lammers.  When timekeeper Mary Sitts sounded the halftime horn, the score was tied 2-2 and, it was rumored, Tim’s competitive frustration reached new heights.

With the first two chukkers completed, the players moved off field to water and rest their ponies while the spectators, with champagne glasses in hand, were invited to participate in the annual tradition of “stomping divots.”   There was much socializing in what has become an end-of-summer-season reunion of sorts.  Friends greeted each other and everyone toasted the remarkably mild weather.

The conviviality was soon followed by the debut of the “Arleen Lippman Hat Award.”   Mrs. Lippman, former owner of “A&H Grocery” on 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 about 20 contestants stepped forward to vie for Saturday’s trophy.  As Bob Stanfiel held a polo mallet aloft behind each competitor, the crowd voiced its approval.  It was soon narrowed down to three finalists: Mary Sitts of Rapid City with a western themed hat; Hill City’s own Moni Matush in a stunning black chapeau; and visiting ranch guest Lynn McGrath who had fashioned a hat featuring a log cabin scene out of twigs, flowers, foliage, and a Newton Fork Ranch brochure.  In a very close decision, crowd favorite McGrath of Chicago, IL secured the win.

When the game resumed, Rushmore Polo & Social Club came out fighting.  Angela Gregson quickly sent a shot on goal that severed the tie, making it 3-2.  Despite some terrific defensive maneuvering by Susie Lammers, a Sioux Falls resident playing for Rapid City, Team Gregson was on the offense.  Tim followed up Angela’s advance with another goal ending the third chukker 4-2 in favor of Hill City.

Kurt Ketelsen and Duane Lammers tried to regain their momentum with some impressive strong nearside and offside backhand shots up field but were unable to withstand the Hill City onslaught.  The Gregsons prevailed when the 4th chukker ended scoreless, handing Rushmore Polo & Social Club its second straight victory.

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 the rest of the gorgeous afternoon, recapping the game, visiting with friends, and relishing the burgers and hot dogs seasoned and served up by the culinary talents of Grill Chefs Bob Stanfiel and Rich Sitts.  And, to everyone’s delight, Chris Voyles plugged in her acoustic guitar and provided the celebrants with an impromptu concert.

The polo trophy is on permanent display in the bar area located in the historic Alpine Inn, on Main Street in Hill City.

Polo fans and tailgate impresarios Chuck Fritzel (left) and James Dean (right) hoist their martinis in a toast to the annual event.

Jan Winger is embraced by Mary Sitts, third place winner of the “Arleen Lippman Hat Contest” on the left and Hill City resident Sonja Karl on the right.

Carol and Wes Shafer are long-time polo fans and even longer Hill City residents. Wes has been in the area since the 1930s.

Seen here truly tailgating are, from left to right: Wally Matush of Hill City fame, Barb Gartner of Rapid City, Joan Schnell, down from her cattle ranch in Lemmon, ND, and Liz DeNeui, once a Hill City resident and now visiting from Port Hueneme, CA.

Hill City team captain Tim Gregson (#3 white) connects with an offside shot on goal as Rapid’s Duane Lammers (#3 red) attempts a defensive move. Tim’s teammate Angela Gregson (#1 white) moves to intercept while Kurt Ketelsen (#1 red) is in pursuit.

Rapid City players Duane Lammers (left) and Kurt Ketelsen (right) scramble after the ball as Hill City takes possession for a long drive down field.

Susie Lammers, having grown up on a cattle ranch west of Sioux Falls, demonstrates a natural athletic ability playing competitive polo for the first time.

Hill City native Jim DeNeui strikes an imposing stance as a goal line flagman.

Chicago, IL resident Lynn McGrath models her log cabin creation that took first place in the hat contest.

Meg Warder, Gail and Jon Crane are joined by Kristin Donnan Standard in the annual halftime tradition of champagne and “divot stomping.”

Bob Stanfiel holds a polo mallet above Mary Sitts’ head encouraging the audience to “voice their votes” while Moni Matush awaits her turn.

Rushmore Polo & Social Club player Boe Gregson (#2 white) prepares to connect with the ball as Rapid City’s Black Hills Polo Club member Duane Lammers (#3 red) attempts to hook Boe’s mallet in a defensive move.

Susie Lammers (#2 red) of Black Hills Polo Club blocks opposing team member Angela Gregson (#1 white) who, in turn, looks for back-up.

Rushmore player Angela Gregson (#1 white) takes possession of the ball as family members Boe and Tim provide support. Kurt Ketelsen (#1 red), Duane Lammers (#3 red), and Susie Lammers (out of photo range) rush to the defense.

Team captain Tim Gregson accepts the Paul E. Lippman Polo Cup on behalf of the Rushmore Polo & Social Club. This was their second straight win.

Tim Gregson cozies up to longtime friend and polo enthusiast Joan Schnell.

Hollywood in the Hills: Meg Warder whose 1880 Train has appeared in numerous movies and television shows is pictured enjoying the après game festivities with Duane Lammers (center) who provided buffalo for the “Dances With Wolves” movie, and Sean Covel (right) producer of the widely acclaimed film “Napoleon Dynamite.”

As the after party carries on into the evening, Bob Stanfiel with his chef duties behind him, retires under a stunning broad brim hat.

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