Polo tradition ends in Black Hills after 3 decades

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Farm Forum

HILL CITY, S.D. (AP) — A 30-year tradition between two polo teams in the Black Hills has come to an end because of problems coordinating the annual matches.

The Rapid City Black Hills Polo Club and the Hill City Rushmore Polo and Social Club took to the field for the final time on Aug. 30. Although Hill City had won the past five years, Rapid City emerged victorious Sunday in a high-scoring 8-6 match.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Sandy Keating, who spends her summers in the Black Hills and the winters in Las Vegas. “There will be no more, but today we’re putting on the ritz and enjoying the day.”

The two clubs began playing in 1985 and held the Picnic and Polo event at Newton Fork Ranch for the past 25 years, the Rapid City Journal reports. But they decided to quit this year because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to organize matches and train the horses.

Although Sunday’s match was the last for the Rapid City and Hill City clubs, polo will continue in the Black Hills — Spearfish started a club several years ago.

Duane Lammers, a member of Rapid City’s team, hopes the two teams will eventually be able to come together for another match.

“We all said this might be our farewell tour,” he said. “It’s getting harder for us, but it’s the most fun you can have on a horse. It’s been fun.”