For more than three decades, West Texans have gathered at the Musselman Brothers Lazy 3 Ranch in Albany, Texas, for an event you won't find anywhere else ― Polo on the Prairie.
A dusty gravel road off of Highway 183 will take you 5 miles back to a picturesque Bermudagrass-green polo field set in the middle of the rough and tumble prairie. Henry Musselman and his mother-in-law, Mary Anne McCloud, both MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors members, and the rest of the family created the event in 1986. Over the past 32 years, they've welcomed tens of thousands of West Texas to join in MD Anderson's mission to end cancer, raising more than $6.8 million in the process.
"Polo is tradition for us," says Musselman. "I'm proud to look back on our 30-plus year legacy and see all who have joined us to help MD Anderson's phenomenal cancer researchers and doctors get one step closer to ending cancer."
Nearly 1,000 people turned out to watch Sewell Ford beat the Legacy Polo team 8-6 in the annual polo match. Ben Melson, MD Anderson chief financial officer, and cancer survivors Ed and Judy Compton shared brief remarks at the trophy presentation before congratulating each player with a handshake and an award.
Guests then enjoyed a chuck wagon-style barbecue dinner, courtesy of Joe Allen's Pit Bar-B-Que of Abilene. A private concert by Grammy Award-winning country music star Ryan Bingham kept guests two-stepping on the dance floor long into the evening.
This year's event raised more than $619,000, bringing Polo on the Prairie's year-to-date fundraising total to more than $6.8 million.
"Ed and I are blessed that by the grace of God and with the help of the trained staff at MD Anderson, we are both cancer survivors and enjoyed our 52nd wedding anniversary this year," says Judy Compton, of Albany. "Ed was treated for prostate cancer at MD Anderson in the summer of 2015. I underwent surgery there for pancreatic cancer in March 2017. Along with having the latest technologies, facilities and treatments, the MD Anderson staff has ministered to our needs with great compassion throughout our time there. We thank our Lord for leading us to MD Anderson and opening doors for our cancer treatment. We've been honored to participate in Polo on the Prairie since its inception and appreciate the great efforts by the Musselmans, longtime family friends, to raise funds to fight cancer."