Hosted by the Roaring Fork Polo Club to benefit the Frontier Historical Museum 50th Anniversary
Special Feature by Lyndsay Jo Smith
Thundering horse hooves on the grass field and the crack of mallets hitting a polo ball, the historic Devereaux Polo Cup was played once again June 27th at Stout Ranch outside of New Castle, Colorado. Two teams played in the match: Utah vs. Colorado with the final score 6-4, Utah. Many spectators enjoyed the polo game along with 360-degree view, wine tasting provided by Wild Mountain Cellars and world class cello duo performed by Rosin during the half time.
The classic sport of polo is a combination of not only the human athlete, but also the ability of the horse, which encompasses quality genetics, training and animal husbandry. Combined, the outcome is a highly-skilled game that horses and riders strive to excel. The horses played by the Colorado team and many on the Utah string, came from Stout Ranch genetics and have the same bloodlines. Bold Ruler, the stud of Secretariat, and Dolfina genetics. Two teams of four played these quality horses for the historic silver Devereux Cup.
The Rocky Mountain Polo Championship, also called the Devereux Cup has a long history in Glenwood Springs. Walter Devereux came to Aspen in 1883 during the silver boom and managed the Aspen Smelting Company. During this time, he obtained 14 patents to enhance the industry and made a fortune in silver and gold. He also requested fellow friend, Hervey Lyle who was also a champion polo player, to manage the Grand River Coal and Coke Company.
In 1885, Devereux purchased the land surrounding the undeveloped Glenwood hot springs with the vision of creating a high-end resort. To accomplish this, he formed the Glenwood Light and Water Company which brought electricity and drinking water to the town. With this, he was able to complete the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort in 1888. Next, he further developed the vapor caves and opened the Hotel Colorado in 1893. By that time, Lyle also managed the Light and Water Company, Hot Springs Pool and The Hotel Colorado. The Hotel was named one of the finest in the western U.S. in 1905. The nation’s 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the Hotel at least twice and enjoyed riding horses and hunting deer, elk, bear and mountain lions south of New Castle. Teddy Roosevelt’s trophy buck was killed on the Stout Ranch. He was co-founder of the Boone and Crockett Club record book in 1885 which is still active today. It keeps record of North American big game and promotes hunting ethics, legislation and conservation causes. Roosevelt was also an accomplished polo player and may have played in Glenwood. He was a founder of the Oyster Bay Polo Club on Long Island, New York and leader of the legendary Rough Riders.
Both Devereux and Lyle were instrumental in bringing polo to the area and created the Glenwood Polo and Racing Association in 1890. The original polo field was located at the south end of where the high school sits today. The winners of the annual polo match were presented with the silver cup in 1903, 1904 and 1912. This trophy is now on permanent display at the Frontier Historical Museum in downtown Glenwood along with a book Devereaux published in 1914 titled, Position & Team Play in Polo.
As a tribute to the history of Glenwood, the polo match was a benefit for the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum. This game, “Emphasized the restart of the importance of polo in the Valley,” said Bill Kight, Executive Director of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society. Many spectators were new to watching polo and were well informed by umpire and announcer Barry Stout. Views of the Flatops, Baldy Creek, live music, wine and quality polo made for an enjoyable afternoon.
Further support came from the Aspen Valley Land Trust, Alpine Bank, The Hotel Colorado, Bullocks Clothing Store and Tractor Supply Company. The Roaring Fork Polo is planning the event for next year and details will be posted on their website.
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