The sidelines were packed last Sunday at The Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, for the hotly anticipated final of the Champions Cup. This unique 8-goal tournament features a special format of a $40,000 prize fund for the final, with 75% going to the winner, and 25% to the runner-up.
Defending champions Lockton (Tim Kelly, Athena Malin, Bryan Middleton, Hernan Tejera, Jim Wright*) were tipped to win, but STG (John Ziegler, John Bickford, Max Menini, Ignacio Deltour) proved strong contestants from the first whistle, taking an early two-goal lead on penalties. Despite field goals from Lockton, their efforts were not enough to pull back against STG, leaving the score 7-4 at half time.
BPP Shizy Wizzy, played by Ignacio Deltour, owned by Vladimir Rivkin
In the fourth chukker, Lockton showed the flare we expect of them, only allowing for STG to score one goal, a penalty conversion from Ignacio Deltour. Despite this impalpable defence in the fourth, STG remained ahead going in to the final chukker 9-5. With $30,000 at stake to the winner, STG continued to storm ahead thanks to the efforts of Menini and Detour, who scored two unanswered field goals. The final whistle blew on the score being at 12-5 and STG took home the $30,000 check, whilst Lockton took home $10,000.
John Bickford was awarded Most Valuable Player contributing three goals on the day for his STG team. Best Playing Pony honors were presented to seven-year-old gray mare Shizy Wizzy played by Deltour and owned by Vladimir Rivkin.
Information and photos courtesy of the USPA