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HISTORY OF CAROLINA POLOCROSSE

Organized polocrosse in the Carolinas began in November, 1998 when the then District Commissioner (DC) of the Moore County Pony Club (MCPC), Mrs. Mary Baker organized a polocrosse clinic sponsored by the MCPC at Oddesy Farm outside of Raeford, NC. The clinic was conducted by Tom and Vicki Bowman, from the USPC Polocrosse Committee, and had about 15 mounted members from 3 Carolina Region Pony Clubs. The clinic was a great success and plans were made to continue practices hosted by LTC and Mrs. Diemer at Odyssey Farm as well as holding another clinic in the near future.

Tom and Vicki Bowman returned to conduct polocrosse clinics hosted by MCPC in January and February of 1999 at the Diemer’s. The Bowman clinics were so successful and generated so much enthusiasm for polocrosse that the MCPC decided to host the first Carolinas Region USPC Polocrosse Rally in April. The MCPC also contacted the American Polocrosse Association (APA) and asked for their assistance in providing umpires for the rally in April.  Mr. Batt Humphreys, President of APA, agreed to be an umpire for the rally and to hold a clinic that weekend for adults as well as juniors interested in polocrosse.

The first organized polocrosse competition in the Carolinas was the USPC Carolinas Region Polocrosse Rally conducted the second weekend in April 1999 (10 April).   The Rally attracted 5 teams (USPC teams are polocrosse sections of 3 players) with players from 4 Carolinas Region Pony Clubs participating. There were two intermediate and three novice teams. The Rally was a huge success and greatly accelerated the enthusiasm for the sport in the Carolinas.

Following the rally there were numerous clinics conducted by the Bowman’s and Manny Diemer for Pony Clubs in the Carolinas as interest in the sport continued to grow. Laura Ferrell became the first APA member from North Carolina and received APA member number NC 001. Manny Diemer became the first APA player from NC to participate in an APA tournament when he played in B Grade (intermediate division) at the APA East Zone tournament in September 1999 at Willowdale, PA.

The second annual USPC Carolinas Region Polocrosse Rally was organized by the MCPC DC, Mrs. Sabrina Turner, and hosted by MCPC at Odyssey Farm on the 8th of April 2000. Interest in polocrosse in the Carolinas Region Pony Clubs increased significantly in one year with 7 teams competing this year (3 intermediate teams and 4 novice teams) Local organizers held another APA clinic that was very well attended and received local TV coverage. With this weekend, polocrosse in the Carolinas was off and running.

On the first of May, 2000, Manny and Dana Diemer, Paula and Sara Harrington, Harvey and Laura Webb, and Laura Ferrell founded the Carolinas Polocrosse Club (CPC). The club was dedicated to spreading the sport of polocrosse throughout the Carolinas. CPC members were polocrosse enthusiasts who organized clinics and practices. The club established two main playing fields, and also became recognized by the APA as an APA polocrosse club

The CPC participated in its first official APA polocrosse competition when Manny, Sara Harrington, and Laura Ferrell played in the Warwick Valley tournament in July of 2000 at Warwick, NY. They played in B grade and came in a respectable 3rd place.

Since its inception, the Carolina Polocrosse Club has been a major force on the US polocrosse scene. Its members have been selected for national and international teams.

ORIGIN OF THE SPORT

Although polocrosse resembles the American Indian game of lacrosse, its origins date back hundreds of years to Persia and its sister sport of polo. In England, polocrosse was an indoor exercise to teach people how to ride a horse. The modern game took shape in Australia in the 1930’s. Today, there are over 6,000 players in the world. After participating in the 2003 Polocrosse World Cup tournament, the United States has developed “exchange programs” with several other countries.

In Australia, polocrosse is called the “King of the One Horse Sports” because a player can use only one horse throughout a tournament. This permits someone who may own only one or two horses to compete at the same level as someone with several. All types of horses play polocrosse: every breed, size and age. Speed, agility, and stamina are desirable, but the only requirement is that a horse be in sound physical condition. Every player should have a polocrosse racquet and ball of their own. Helmets must be worn during play. For the horses’s protection, bell boots and leg wraps must be used.

The polocrosse field can be grass or dirt and is 160 yards long and 60 yards wide. Teams score points by throwing the ball through their opponents goal posts. At the same time, they protect their goal from the other team. All players can catch, carry and throw the ball with their racquets. However, only the player at the number 1 position is allowed to score. The rules are designed with one primary concern, safety — for player and horse. Anything creating a dangerous situation is ruled illegal and is penalized.

A polocrosse club is a group of people who share an enthusiasm for this thrilling game. A club consists of one more teams playing at various levels of skill, including special teams for those under the age of 21. Teams are comprised of two sections with three players in each. The player who wears number 1 is the primary offensive player and scores the goals. The number 2 is the midfielder, playing both offense and defense in the middle of the field. The number 3’s job is to defend the goal. The two sections alternate players in six or eight-minute periods or “chukkas.” A typical match consists of four or six chukkas.  Tournaments are a time of fellowship, learning and good old-fashioned fun. Join the hundreds of riders across the country taking up this international sport. Polocrosse is for the entire family — boys and girls, moms and dads, everyone from five to 75.