Ridersin theSky | PostIndependent.com

Ridersin theSky

Post independent Photo/Kelley Cox Linda Lafferty (1) of the Roaring Fork polo team battles with Tom Taylor (4) of the Hotel Colorado team during the Devereux Cup polo match at the Stout Ranch south of New Castle up Baldy Creek Sunday afternoon.

Thundering hooves, the smack of a plastic ball being hit by wooden mallet, the snort of horses, and the voice of an announcer over a P.A. system: Those were the sounds that filled a wide-open meadow high above Garfield Creek south of New Castle Sunday afternoon. About 40 people, most dressed in T-shirts, Wranglers and roper-style boots, attended the reincarnation of the Glenwood Cup, a popular, historic polo tournament held from the late 1890s to 1925 in Glenwood Springs. The event is now called the Devereux Cup – named after two brothers instrumental in developing Glenwood more than 100 years ago. The Hotel Colorado sponsored the 21st century version of the tournament, which featured two teams with four members each, eight polo ponies – fresh horses are traded in after every 7-minute chucker (innings or quarters in other sports) – plus a barbecue, and a gorgeous late-summer Colorado day. Polo – with 360 degree viewsGetting to the polo field was challenging, as vehicles crawled up a steep dirt road with gnarly switchbacks to the Stout Ranch, a massive, alpine property with 360-degree views owned by local polo player Barry Stout. New Castle/Basalt resident Nancy Kelly drove up the hairy road in her convertible Audi, her little dog Dexter leaning out the rolled-down driver’s side window. “This is a little bit steeper than going up the back side of Ajax,” said Kelly, of the decidedly four-wheel-drive road that climbs up Aspen Mountain.

Terri and Rolly Hepinstall from Marco Island, Fla., were also among the spectators. “We’re not avoiding Ivan the Terrible,” said Terri of the latest hurricane to threaten Florida. Instead, the Hepinstalls were already in the area visiting their adult children who live in Beaver Creek, and were touring around Hotel Colorado Saturday when they happened to hear about the free, open-to-the-public Devereux Cup. It was the first time the couple had attended a polo tournament.”I’m not sure how many people realized this was a public event,” Terri said. “I came for the hot dogs,” said a smiling Rolly, while munching away on a fresh-off-the-grill dog. “Riding is difficult enough, and then you’ve got the mallet-ball thing,” Terri said, watching as the players and their horses bobbed and weaved up and down the field. “I can’t even imagine how difficult that is. It’s awesome.” ‘Stick and ball’Announcer Allan Shaffer of Woody Creek said he’s been announcing polo matches for 18 years, from tournaments in Brandywine in Pennsylvania to Southampton in New York. He said those eastern events draw from 500 to 3,000 spectators. Even though Sunday’s Stout Ranch crowd was smaller, both those on the sidelines and those playing on the field seemed equally fired up.

Richard Ottero, a recent transplant from Denver now living in Peach Valley, stood under one of the tournament’s white tents, watching the game.”I observe,” he said, of his participation in polo. “You have to be fairly fearless, and you’ve got to know your horse.””I’ve played stick and ball,” said Ottero’s friend, Bob Boyle of Glenwood, who with his wife, Emmy, brought Ottero to the event. “But this is for real.” ‘Bigger and better’Larry MacDonald, general manager of the Hotel Colorado, said the hotel wants to be part of a regional resurgent interest in polo.”This isn’t a onetime event,” he said. “We want to help the Devereux Cup get bigger and better every year.”MacDonald said organizers are looking for a field closer to Glenwood for future Devereux Cups if someone with property is willing to donate land for the day, or lease it out for next year’s tournament.”Spread the word,” he added. “Tell everyone you know they missed a very good Sunday afternoon event.”

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.comwho won?It was the Hotel Colorado team that won the Devereux Cup 2004, with a score of 4-1. The big silver cup will be embossed with the Hotel Colorado Team’s name and displayed – where else? – at the Hotel Colorado. The Hotel Colorado Team: Linnie Hutton, Bill Stoddard, Tom Taylor, Barry StoutThe Roaring Fork Team: Linda Lafferty, Don Delise, Tom Powell, Todd Merrimath

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