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Polo on the Prairie 2007 Promises World-Class Polo, Lone Star-Style

Bobby Flores Band to entertain at M. D. Anderson fundraiser

M. D. Anderson News Release 03/28/07 

The pasture-turned-polo field on the Musselman Brothers' Lazy 3 Ranch is quiet now. But come May 5, the pounding of horses' hooves will fill the air as amateur and world-ranked professional players compete in a U.S. Polo Association-sanctioned tournament that has raised more than $3 million for key research and patient care programs at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The multigenerational event is a tradition for families and friends who come for socializing on the sidelines and an après polo down-home celebration.

Co-chairs Melinda and Henry Musselman, along with chair emeritus Mary Anne McCloud, plan a West Texas welcome for each of the more than 1,000 guests expected at this year's 21st annual Polo on the Prairie. A post-championship chuck wagon barbecue by Joe Allen's Pit Bar-B-Que of Abilene has become a tradition, typically serving up 3,000 pounds of brisket, 400 sausage links, 150 pounds of beans, 200 gallons of iced tea and who knows how many new potatoes boiled campfire-style in heavy black Dutch ovens. Guests can expect to work off those calories and polish their two-stepping skills to traditional country and Western music by the Bobby Flores Band. A spectacular fireworks show provides an unforgettable finale.

Henry Musselman, an M. D. Anderson Board of Visitors member and polo enthusiast who has played in every Polo on the Prairie from the event's beginning, says he and wife Melinda are indebted to the players, who donate their time, equipment and horses, and to the event's loyal supporters.

"We are grateful to the players and to the people of all ages who come from across Texas and beyond to watch them play and to enjoy all the activities that make Polo on the Prairie such a success," says Henry Musselman. "Because of the dedicated financial and personal commitment on their part, year after year, we are making a difference in the lives of the patients at M. D. Anderson and their families."

A weeklong curriculum each year at nearby Eastland and Woodson elementary schools gives sixth graders the opportunity to learn about polo as well as M. D. Anderson patient care, research, education and prevention programs. Students take a field trip to the Lazy 3 Ranch to watch the opening match, meet players and present their own monetary contribution to M. D. Anderson.

The event helps fund key areas at M. D. Anderson, including:

  • Science Park/Library - The library links researchers at M. D. Anderson's Smithville campus to scientific literature and journals furthering the work at M. D. Anderson's Department of Carcinogenesis.
  • Anderson Network Hospitality Rooms- Patients or family members may come to these special "patient oases" at M. D. Anderson for refreshment, comfort and assistance from volunteers who have had similar cancer experiences.
  • Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Education- Chaplains visit patients before surgery or other medical procedures, respond to patient and family requests for prayer or spiritual counseling, lead worship services and conduct support groups. Clinical Pastoral Education is an accredited program that offers education opportunities to individuals who wish to advance their faith and pastoral skills.
  • Department of Plastic Surgery- A staff of full-time clinical faculty members provides comprehensive services to cancer patients, handling at least 1,000 plastic and reconstructive surgery cases a year. In addition, the department focuses on cutting-edge research to create the next generation of reconstructive surgery innovations.
  • South Campus Research Initiative- The SCRI is a five-year capital fundraising initiative to complete the Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer. The McCombs Institute, which consists of six unique centers focused on metastasis, immunology, proton therapy, molecular markers, targeted therapy and biomedical imaging, is a collaboration of basic and clinical researchers crisscrossing departments, specialties and disease sites and is a magnet for attracting the biotechnology industry to Houston.

For information about sponsorships or tickets to the event, call 866-262-9029 or 713-563-4071.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center