Hockey Costs

CSU Polo Club collaborates with Odell Brewing to create beer

When you think of polo, what comes to mind first? Wealth and prestige? The sport of kings?

Colorado State University polo club is less about aristocracy and more about accessibility – for its players and its fans.

“People think they know what polo is, but until they watch a game they have no idea how amazing the sport is,” said the club’s educational adviser , Stephen Coleman, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science.

The polo club’s most famous former member, Kareem Rosser, was named the US Polo Association’s Intercollegiate Player of the Year in 2015 after the team won the national championships.

The first equine polo team at CSU began in 1931, and played on the grass; in his current status as an arena club, it has existed since 1977.

The organization was the first CSU club sports team to win back-to-back national championships (1990 and1991), followed by a third title in 1999. Most recently, the men’s varsity team won their fourth national title in 2015. That same year, the program’s most famous former member, Kareem Rosser, was named Intercollegiate Player of the Year by the US Polo Association.

Rosser later wrote the memoirs, Crossing the line: a team of fearless brothers and the sport that changed their lives foreverdetailing his youth growing up in downtown Philadelphia and unexpectedly discovering the joy of polo.

“But despite the fact that CSU Polo is really well established, there are still times when we talk about it with people and they say, ‘CSU has a polo team? ‘” Coleman said.

CSU Polo Club brews What the Chukker at Odell Brewing Company. Photos by Jason Menon/CSU

To bring the sport and the organization to a wider audience, the polo club recently partnered with Odell Brewing Company to create What the Chukker limited release beer. The public can learn more about the sport – and meet the ponies and players – at a special evening on Thursday, September 22., from 48 p.m. at the Odell Brewery (800 E. Lincoln Ave).

poloNamed after a period of play in a polo match, What the Chukker is a cold IPA, fermented at a lower temperature.

“It’s America’s version of lager,” said Odell Head Pilot Brewer and Barrel Manager Byron McAghon.

Instead of noble hops, the beer contains American hops from the Pacific Northwest, such as Chinook, Cascade and Amarillo, to give it fruity attributes as well as a hint of pine, McAghon said.

“The club really just wanted a drinkable beer accessible to everyone,” he said. “A bit like the polo club itself.”

CSU Polo Club Vice President Rachel Mashek demonstrates a proper mallet swing on the team’s practice dummy, Woody. Photo by Micha Bennett/CSU

Despite pretentious stereotypes, polo really is for everyone, says Rachel Mashek, the club’s vice president of operations who specializes in biomedical sciences.

That’s why breaking down barriers in the sport — for the public and the players — is a defining part of the CSU team, said Mashek, who grew up riding in Illinois but never considered playing the sport. polo before coming to CSU.

“I always thought it was only for very wealthy people or people who had grown up doing it their whole life,” she said. “When I got here I tried for the team, I passed and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Newcomers to the sport are welcome, Mashek said. In addition to the varsity men’s and women’s and varsity junior teams, the club has social teams for those not interested in competition and beginner teams where those who have never played or even ridden a horse before can try it out. .

The ball used in the arena polo is made of the same materials as a soccer ball and slightly smaller than a softball. Photo by Micha Bennett/CSU

Older than recorded history, Polo originated in Central Asia as a sport and training for war because it was mainly played by the nobility and the military. According to the Museum of Polo, the modern version of the game began in India and quickly spread after British military officials observed locals playing the game.

Much like soccer or hockey, the object of the game is to get the ball – in this case, a high-impact soccer ball, just slightly smaller than a softball – into the other team’s goal. . The trick is that you have to do it on top of a horse while using a fine mallet.

Most polo games have four chukkers in a game, explained Hannah Stock, an equine science student, as well as president of the CSU polo club. Each chukker lasts seven and a half minutes and there are between four and six chukkers in a game.

Throughout the game, horses are swapped between each chukker and alternated between the two teams. This is done not only to give the horses a rest, but also to level the playing field, Stock said.

“It’s a way of trying to make it more equal,” Stock said. “If you play four chukkers, you never play the same horse twice. This way you can’t keep your best horse for yourself.

Because of all the things necessary for the care and management of its 25 horses, the club is operated by the College of Agricultural Sciences at the Foothills campus of the CSU Equine Center. The organization uses the BW Picket and Adams-Atkinson arenas for games and practices, as well as stalls to house horses, treatment spaces to provide veterinary care, and tack rooms to store equipment.

“We have a lot of good horse safety protocols because we literally can’t play polo without them,” Stock said. “They are our main priority.”

While some of the team’s horses are leased to their players, most have been donated to the club, often from other programs such as the Big Horn Polo Club out of Sheridan, Wyois lying, and the Denver Polo Club, Coleman said. But there are still many other associated costs.

The team’s $80,000 budget – which is funded entirely by membership dues and donations – is expected to cover everything from horse care and feeding to travel costs and equipment. Not easy when a regulation polo match helmet can cost upwards of $800.

“Polo can be an expensive sport,” Coleman said.

Obtain legged at the top for the season

poloThis fall, the men’s and women’s varsity teams are getting in shape – polo lingo for getting horses into shape – and playing qualifying matches before the start of the spring season.

For the first game the women’s varsity team will face Cal Poly on September 30 until October 1 at BW Pickett Arena.

Whether people are long-time fans or completely new to polo, Stock said the sport truly offers something for everyone.

“It’s a game that, once you start learning it, is really exciting and beautiful to watch,” she said. “It’s not at all what you expect.”