But first, a question from many who are reading about this for the first time: what exactly is polocrosse?
“Usually, I tell people that polocrosse is lacrosse on a horse,” Repenning said. “And to follow that up, I call our sport ‘poor man’s polo.’ It’ll still drive you into debt, but it’s much cheaper than regular polo.”
The two-day tournament continues at 8 a.m. Sunday after a full day of action Saturday. After the final chukka, or what most Americans would equate to a period or quarter, the teams will have played four games, with winners decided by head-to-head matchups, or goal differential in the event of a tie.
And despite the action crammed into two hectic days, no one is complaining.
“It’s nice to be able to ride and play and see everyone,” said Grand Junction resident Brianna True, a hopeful for next year’s national team that will travel to Zimbabwe for the World Cup. “It’s a social sport, for sure. And to only travel six hours, this is super short for me. It’s very nice to have a tournament so close.”
Repenning savors any chance to particippate in the sport he spent so much time playing as a kid.
“For me, this is the closest thing I’ll get to a vacation,” Repenning said. “If I’m not having fun, I’ll pick up a different sport. On the field, it’s pretty intense. But as soon as that final bell rings, everyone is friends again. That’s the only way this sport works. It’s too small to hold grudges.”
Thirty years ago, the American Polocrosse Association was founded in Phoenix. Today, the APA has 44 clubs across the country and continues to grow.
An estimated 6,000 players compete in polocross worldwide.
While polocrosse resembles lacrosse and is considered a sister sport of polo, it differs greatly from its predecessor, known by some as “the sport of kings.” The game is played on a field measuring 160 by 60 yards, roughly half that of polo. Three horses take the field at a time, sporting riders who catch, carry and shoot a soft foam ball with racquets. Teams, which consist of three horse-bound riders who rotate into into the match, score by shooting the ball into a net.
In polo, six riders take the field, whose goal is the strike a hard plastic ball with a wooden mallet between two posts and the end of a 300-yard field.
Perhaps the biggest difference revolves around an equal playing field for all contestants. Polocrosse players can use only one horse throughout a tournament, while polo players are known to switch between six and 10 horses during an event.
“We call our sport the ‘king of the one horse sport,’ since each rider has only one horse for the whole weekend, and that really tests our horsemanship,” said Tim Doust, a native of New South Wales, Australia, who is a longtime member of Peak Polocrosse. “It’s an exciting sport and good spectator sport. I feel the sport around here is firing up again, and we have a good relationship with Remington Ranch. I look forward to seeing this sport continue to grow.”