Crab orchard withdraws from Florida’s high-goal season

Crab Orchard withdraws from US Open

Alex Webbe

David Pelon Stirling had his handicap elevated from 9-goals
to 10-goals two days ago resulting in the withdrawal of George and Beverly
Rawlings’ iconic Crab Orchard polo team from the field of 26-goal teams that
will be competing at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida this

A teammate of Cambiaso’s on the 2011 Argentine
Championship La Dolfina polo team, Stirling recently saw his handicap elevated
from 9-goals to 10-goals upon the conclusion of the Argentine high-goal
season.  In an effort to lock his
handicap at 9-goals in the United States, Stirling was flown to Kentucky last
summer to participate in tournament play and receive a current handicap
assignment (Stirling hadn’t played in the US for a few years).

The reduction of the handicaps of a number of top US
players had Crab Orchard organizing with George Rawlings (0), Adolfo Cambiaso
(10), Pelon Stirling (9) and Mike Azzaro (7), a pre-season favorite.

Participating in the early 20-goal tournaments, Stirling was
lighting it up on the field.  He was
averaging over eight goals per game as he led John Muse’s Lucchese team to the
finals of the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.  His
obvious talent on the field didn’t go unnoticed, however, as the USPA elevated
his handicap from nine to ten goals, and rendered the current make-up of the
Crab Orchard team ineligible at 27-goals.

The decision was made to withdraw the team from the
26-goal season, leaving all three players looking for jobs.  It was at this point that Denver businessman and
polo player Bob Jornayvaz jumped in. 

Already participating in the 26-goal season with his
Valiente team, Jornayvaz contacted Cambiaso and Stirling as soon as he found
out that they were available and quickly signed them to play on a second team
with his 19-year-old son, Robert.

Bob will continue to compete with Nacho and Miguel
Astrada, with son Robert taking the field with Cambiaso and Stirling.

The creation of a second Valiente team (Bob and Robert are
currently competing in the 20-goal tournaments with Valiente I and Valiente II)
insures ten teams in the US Open this year as well as keeping two of the game’s
best in Florida for the balance of the season.

“I see this as a win, win situation,” he said.  “We’re keeping two of polo’s top players in
the competition this winter and Robert will be teamed up with a couple of the
very best polo players in the game today. 
The players win, the club wins and polo wins.”

The C. V. Whitney Cup is scheduled to begin on February
19 followed by the USPA Piaget Gold Cup on March 17 and the US Open on March 25th.