Some of the best polo players in the world are coming to the valley for a big tournament at WestWorld this upcoming weekend. Jeff Hall's been swinging a polo mallet since he was 7-years-old. Now 33, this Arizona native travels to places like London, Chile and China as a top ranked polo professional."I pretty much travel around and I play for local teams everywhere and ship the horses everywhere and usually typically play in one area for about two months and then move on," said Hall. Polo has been called "hockey on horses." Four players on each team race at speeds up to 35 mph, each trying to hit the ball through the goal post.The sport is so demanding, players ride anywhere from 8 to 10 horses in just one match."Where you're out there playing, you know the two hours you're out there, it's a complete adrenaline rush," said Hall. In November, Hall will lead the US military team against Wales at the Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships. Fellow pro, Sunny Hale, will also play, leading the women in a battle of the sexes match.Hale is the founder of the women's championship tournament, which encourages women to take to the polo field. "In essence, what the LPGA is to golf we now have for women in the sport of polo and it represents the largest growing sector of polo in the United States," said Hale. Valley local Natalie Grancharov is one of several women who play with Arizona Polo Club. She's been invited to join Sunny Hale's team at the match."The polo world is very small, but if you could, like, throw a football with Peyton Manning, it's like the equivalent, so it's pretty amazing for me," said Grancharov. Natalie and 14 other club members play three times a week at WestWorld. While many in this sport grew up in polo-playing families, Natalie says a local club is great place for newbies to start."We have players of all ages. We have an 11-year-old boy that plays with us and we have players in their 50s, so it's all experience, all levels of riding," said Grancharov. The club offers free beginner clinics throughout the year. With a little practice, you could be joining the pros during next year's tournament.
KTBC FOX 7119 East 10th StreetAustin, TX 78701Phone: (512) 476-7777Fax: (512) 495-7001