Thunderstorms rolled across the West Texas prairie for two days, but the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of polo enthusiasts and MD Anderson supporters on May 2 as Polo on the Prairie celebrated a record year.
Event chairs Melinda and Henry Musselman welcomed more than 1,050 guests, who raised an impressive $270,425 for MD Anderson’s patient care and research programs. This year’s event topped last year’s record of $252,948.
By midafternoon, long lines of vehicles stretched along the winding dirt road leading to the Musselman Brothers’ Lazy 3 Ranch near Breckenridge, making their way to the field. As if on cue, the sun appeared just an hour before the championship match.
For the first time in the event’s 23-year history, the championship match was tied at the end of the fourth chukker. A sudden-death tiebreaker resulted in victory for the team No Trees. One of the team’s star players, K.C. Beal, was born the year of the first Polo on the Prairie, and she has attended the event each year. Her father, Kelly Beal, has played in numerous Polo on the Prairie events, for the past four years playing with his daughter.
After the match and a barbecue feast, guests danced to the rhythm of rising country star Jack Ingram. Fireworks lit the sky to end the evening.
Since 1987, Polo on the Prairie has raised more than $3.9 million for programs at MD Anderson. The event combines professional and amateur polo, and players travel nationwide to participate, bringing several horses each at their own expense.
Henry Musselman serves on the institution’s Board of Visitors, along with his mother-in-law, Mary Anne McCloud, who is Polo on the Prairie’s chair emeritus.