The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Come see cowboys take their hand at polo


March 20, 2019

If you’ve never heard of “cowboy polo,” you’re not alone.

“Just imagine two four-man teams … cowboys or anyone … on horseback, with brooms trying to hit a beach ball into a goal.”

That’s how Mark Clark, one of the co-chairs of Relay for Life of Eastern New Mexico, described it to me.

“I don’t think there have been too many people that have seen this sort of thing,” Clark said.

That changes at 7 p.m. Friday when the “Gone, But Not Forgotten” Cowboy Polo Tournament twists, turns, and bucks into the Curry County Events Center, 1900 E. Brady, Clovis, as a Relay for Life event raising funds to help battle cancer in our part of the world.

Clark and his Relay for Life co-chair Casey Peacock predict an entertaining evening for those in attendance.

“I see it as being a bit of comedy thrown in with some horsemanship, maybe a little bit of a rodeo and a whole lot of fun,” Peacock said.

Clark credits his nephew, Layton Belcher, with helping bring this improbable sport to our area.

“We talked about a ranch rodeo to help raise money and then the brainstorm of cowboy polo was born,” Clark said. “Layton had seen it before and said it was a heck of a good time.”

Organizers are inviting four-member teams to pony up $200 per team for the right to be part of the action (a term I suspect I use lightly). Teams may enter up to the last minute.

Peacock said if you are having trouble finding three other people crazy enough to saddle up with you for this venture, “we encourage you to come out and join the fun anyway. We will find you a spot and get you put in with a team.”

Clark and Peacock hope to pack the stands with spectators and have priced the event to try to make it affordable family fun. Tickets are $5 general admission, and $3 for military with ID. Children 12 and under are free. The $15 “family pack” will get four people in the door.

Besides the expected arena antics, there will be vendors on hand selling food and crafts, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, and live music from singer/songwriter Seth Savage.

How exactly does cowboy polo work?

Clark explained there are three ways to score.

“Number one is put the beach ball in the goal,” he said. “Number two is to hit the beach ball through the legs of your opponent’s horse. Number three is if your horse bucks and you hold on with one hand on the reins and the other in the air behind your head for at least five seconds. There will be judges to judge all three of the scoring methods.”

Clark and Peacock both noted that competitors enter at their own risk and will have to sign a waiver before they can participate; players under 18 must have permission from a parent or legal guardian.

“This is a unique event and something that has not been held in this area before,” Peacock said. “The most important thing though is that we want to honor and recognize our cancer survivors. They are why we do what we do. And hey, you might get to see a bronc ride or two.”

Betty Williamson has no desire to play but can’t wait to watch. Reach her at:

[email protected]


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