BIG HORN — Audry Persano doesn’t participate full-time within the Big Horn Polo Club, but once each year she gets an opportunity she doesn’t pass up. Only women played Sunday in a special day that always brings out the best in the competitors.
“This is one of my favorite tournaments,” Persano said. “Everyone is smiling, laughing and having a good time, which just makes the game so much better. It just helps everything, and it makes us play together, and it makes everyone happy.”
Persano helped the Big Horn Beverage team topple Sheridan Seed Company 11-6 with a four-goal performance in the Kurt Luplow Memorial Sunday.
The Connecticut native traveled to Wyoming this summer to work as a veterinarian technician for both the Big Horn Polo Club and the Flying H Polo Club.
Persano has one of her horses with her this summer. The two work out when they can, but come game days, Persano stays busy with veterinary duties.
Every once in a while, though, Persano will find a couple more horses and get the chance to suit up for a polo match, as was the case this weekend.
“Yeah, this was a big bonus,” Persano said with a laugh.
She made the most of the opportunity, scoring a bundle of goals. Persano also got to play alongside friend Megan Flynn, making Sunday that much more memorable.
Flynn logged a strong game in her own right, tallying a trio of goals en route to Most Valuable Player honors. Flynn worked particularly hard last week in practice and saw the fruits of her labor with an applaud-worthy performance Sunday.
“My horses played really well for me [Sunday],” Flynn said. “My boyfriend is a pro player and he gave me a couple horses [Sunday]. I played two of his and two of mine, and he’s been coaching me all week. He’s at the trailer helping and a couple of his friends came, and they were all coaching me.
“It just all came together.”
Big Horn Beverage scored the game’s first four goals and held a 4-1 advantage after one chukka. Sheridan Seed Company made a strong push in the second chukka as KC Krueger — who played in the Goose Creek Cup a week ago at Flying H Polo — put home a couple goals to draw her team within one at 5-4. Krueger — riding atop Guilla, Sunday’s Best Playing Pony — didn’t play the first chukka because with a total of 10 players taking part in the Kurt Luplow Memorial, one player would sit each chukka. This made finding a rhythm for each team problematic at times.
“It’s difficult because once you start getting a flow going with your team, one of them is gone and a new one is in,” Flynn said. “You have some stronger players and some weaker players out there, and the dynamic changes all the time. But it was fun getting everyone in.”
Flynn and company rediscovered a flow in the fourth chukka. After each team scored a goal in the third frame, Big Horn Beverage put through four consecutive to make it a 10-5 game ahead of the final period.
The Big Horn Polo Club has just a few weeks remaining in the 2018 season, and the Kurt Luplow Memorial gave a fitting start to the back stretch of the season.