We value our association with the Lake George Club and have enjoyed visits from several Aussie players over the years. We always learn a lot and have a lot of fun. Past visitors include Tom Clear, Greg and Debby Davidge, Luke and Aaron Clarke, Jodi Sillis, Sue Harrison and Brian White, June Frier and recently Jean Still who conducted a learn to play clinic last November (1999). A few years ago Stuart Williamson from Yarrowith, NSW spent the summer with us training horses and helping us get our game together. A year later Tony Borello from North Queensland commuted from a farm exchange position in Saskatchewan to play with us on weekends (that is about a 400 mile round trip). Last summer we met some Australian friends at the Calgary Stampede (parade day). They wandered into our camp to say hello and ended up playing with us during their stay in the area. Last year we met Chris and Angela Bredhauer from Narromine NSW. During a Tour of the western region they stayed for a visit with Al and Sue Hicks at their ranch in Millarville. Everyone here sends best wishes.
Each year we award the Tom Clear trophy for best horse and male rider combination and the Stuart Williamson trophy for best horse and female rider combination. This is our most valued recognition of achievement and was initiated by Tom and Stu while they where in Calgary.
Al Hicks, who is responsible for our website, mentions that he has word from Shane Davidge from Humpty Doo, North Territory saying he's planning to be in Calgary this coming summer. Jolene Phillips from Darwin has indicated that she would like to come to Calgary this summer and a young player (16years old) from South Africa named Juli Royden has expressed an interest in coming over. We hope all your plans come together we'd love to see you all.
Our league plays, as well as tournament games, mixed, men and women. Practice games are mostly pick-up and often involve several kids as well as new players who want to give it a go. We always take time after a game for a cool one (or two) and take real enjoyment in the company of our club mates and visitors. We take the game reasonably seriously although a good play or a good joke is more important than the scoreboard. Applause follows any wreck, as long as no one is hurt (especially horses), with the unfortunate survivor being asked to donate a quantity of beverage for the next game. We've got some pretty accomplished riders and a few of us can get kind of competitive, but the overall atmosphere is supportive and I'd say a big part of the program is social.
This year we plan to play some pick-up games indoors, starting in March. The weather is warming a bit by then and it is easier on the horses to transport them when it's not so cold. Today (Dec. 11) it is minus 20 Celsius but the forecast is for warmer weather on the weekend, maybe 2 or 3 below during the day. We're fortunate to be in a Chinook belt in southern Alberta which means that temperatures regularly warm several degrees for periods of time, maybe a few days or even a week or more. During the 1988 Olympics, the temperature hovered around 18 above for the entire winter and snow had to be trucked in from the mountains to cover the local ski hill for competition. I can see that hill, Canada Olympic Park, from my office window and right now there is a good covering of snow and the snow makers are sending up a good deal more. During a Chinook, it can get to be several degrees above freezing. It is not unusual to go to bed with minus 15 and wake up to temperatures of plus 15 or even higher. A week ago, we were riding in light jackets with no snow and open water. The Rivers will run open all winter but most ponds and small lakes will mostly freeze over. The climate like the landscape varies greatly in this area with summer temperatures in the foothills ranging from overnight lows of about 10 Celsius to 30 or 40 during the day. Temperatures on the prairie, which starts on the east edge of Calgary, are generally warmer at night and hotter during the day getting warmer as you move eastward into lower elevations. Conversely winter temperatures farther out on the prairies are really cold with overnight lows of minus 40 and daytime highs of minus 30 Celsius quite common in eastern Alberta and Saskatchewan. In Calgary summer only lasts about 3 months June, July and August with only July being really hot and winter lasts about 3 months December and January to mid February with only late December and January being really cold. The rest of the year is pretty good riding weather, chilly at night but mostly nice and warm during the day.
Our members come from different horse backgrounds some like myself were raised on ranches or farms and moved from stock horses to thoroughbreds and running Quarter Horses. Others started out in English disciplines riding hunters and jumpers and have moved to lighter thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses. Tack and turnout reflect this mixed background, it is hard to avoid blue denim jeans in Calgary and everyone wears the Stetson style cowboy hat unless it's not raining, is snowing only lightly and not close to 100 above then they wear baseball caps. A lot of us prefer English stirrup leathers on our stock saddles so high boots always worn over jeans are popular. Some people use English style bridles but just as often a favorite rig is a plain double stitched western headstall with roping reins a snaffle bit and no nose band. Pinnies pulled over golf shirts or in real hot weather long sleeved western shirts complete the look. We do have regulation whites and club shirts and pads but we tend to save them for special occasions like parades or playing out of town, in this case out of the country.
My closing thoughts are that Polocrosse is pretty strong here among a dedicated few, but not very big. If anyone could share ideas about how we can grow we would sure appreciate the advice. Or if you don't have any advice just come over for a game, you'll be among friends and we'll see that you have a good time. Drop us a line through the Polocrosse web site or direct to me at
Ted Doan Calgary Polocrosse Association, Calgary, Alberta