Aiken hosts 16th annual Pacers and Polo
The 2019 Aiken Triple Crown began with the roar of spectators cheering on their favorite teams while horse and rider pounded by with mallets high in the sky and the polo ball heading between the goal posts.
Though this is the 138th year of polo held in Aiken, it is only the 16th year of Pacers and Polo. The Aiken community continued its tradition of supporting their local university with sponsors and spectators. Every dollar after expenses will go to the USC Aiken athletic scholarship.
The Aiken Polo Club has continued to partner with the University to help run this event and along with the two major sponsors for this match. Alison South sponsored one team, who wore the white jerseys, while Burger King sponsored the other, who wore the black jerseys.
The USC Aiken IHSA team was in charge of the presentation of the colors, while a USC Aiken student, Bianca Baxter, put on a rendition of the National Anthem.
On the other side of the field, it looked like it was brother against brother as Harry Caldwell was wearing the white jersey of Alison South along with players Chilo Cordura, Willie Hartnett and Deep Sigh rounding out the other team.
Both teams were announced and then with helmet’s by their sides seat on their horses the National Anthem was sung. After both teams were ready, the ceremonial first ball was tossed in by USCA Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordon to start the match.
Once the Chancellor was safely off the field, the match continued with both teams charging for the ball with the sound of mallets hitting off other hammers for possession of the ball. The game lasted for a total of 7 minute chukkers.
During the half-time intermission, Aikenites both young and old had the opportunity to come out onto the field for the traditional "Stomp the Divots." This tactic is where people go out onto the field to help cover the bigger holes that were caused by the horses running back and forth.
It was a tough back and forth game with the two brothers Harry and Charlie Caldwell being on different teams never letting up against each other for possession of the ball which showed true sportsmanship doesn't get in the way of the brothers.
The final score was Alison South leading the way to a 9-7 finish. After the match was complete and the players had time to untack their horses, the USC Men's team signed a few autographs. The players walked over to the VIP tent to be with family and friends and to give thanks and talk about the match. Then both teams were up on the stand to do an end of a match awards ceremony.
In closing, the Aiken Triple Crown, along with The Aiken Trials, the Aiken Spring Steeplechase, and the Pacers and Polo help unite the people of Aiken to a single cause. Aiken continues to be the equestrian capital of the south.