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10 Years Ago This Month – April 2000

Polo Anyone

Date: Sunday, April 9, 2000
Time: 10:30 AM
Place: South Carolina Welcome Center
Members Attending: Brian Bogardus, Donna Bogardus, Jim Creer, Chris Kaufman, Ron Kaufman, Stephanie Kaufman and Rudy Wilmoth.

Awaiting the arrival of the Bogardi at the Welcome Center were three cars, Rudy’s Silver ‘99, the Kaufman’s ‘90 Red and a ‘93 LE Black with Red interior. Ron and Chris were standing and chatting with Rudy. That accounted for the red and silver cars, but the black one is different. Were Jerry and Bianca Godbee our long lost Founders and owners of a ‘93 LE in attendance?

Nope. Stephanie was sitting behind the wheel of the red ‘90 as it was now *her* car. While vacationing in Florida, Ron spotted the black car on a used car lot. After failing to get Chris to trade in their MX-6 on a ‘97 M edition recently, he figured that if he could get this one cheap enough, everyone wins. The dealer didn’t know he had a special Miata so Ron got it for a song. The Kaufmans become our second current multi-Miata family and third in Club history. Interestingly enough the Godbees were the other multi-Miata family. And if I’m not mistaken they were the same color combinations, a Red with Black interior and a Black with Red interior.

Jim Creer showed up then to round out our little group. The first thing Jim did upon parking was, of course, to raise the hood. New this time was a polished valve cover and a polished intake ‘manifold.’ I’m beginning to think Jim doesn’t sleep, he just sends Judy to bed and then goes out to the garage with his polishing wheels, Dremel tool and jeweler’s rouge.

We headed to Aiken via the same backroad route as two years ago. While it was definitely a pretty drive, I don’t think we will ever hit it like we did the first time when both the dogwoods and the azaleas were at peak blooming.

When we got to the polo field and parked, up went Jim’s hood again, this time Ron followed suite. As an added bonus they both started their engines to compare stray noises. Only some not-so-gentle persuasion from Donna got them to shut their cars off and drop the hoods when the polo match started.

The first and fourth chukker of polo games are started with a sort of modified rugby scrum. The 4 members of each team line up closely to and on opposite sides of the midfield line, all facing towards a mounted referee, who then tosses the ball in between the riders who try and control it and head off towards their goal. They do this after each goal as well and today that meant they did it a lot, as the score ended up 13 to 12. Both Rudy and Jim felt that they could liven this process up a bit by placing the ball on the midfield line and lining up the teams at opposite ends of the field and then having them race towards each other to get the ball!

Earlier in the week Brian had told the Aiken Polo Club that we were going to be in attendance that weekend. When the fellow, Ken Hardin, who does most of the PA announcing and color commentary during the matches arrived, Brian introduced himself, told him we were the Master’s Miata Club and could he give us a welcome on the PA. Sure enough, during the first chukker, Ken, showing his horse background or English heritage, said over the PA that he would like to thank the ‘Miata Driving Club’ for coming out to today’s match.

Between chukkers number 3 and 4 all the spectators are invited to go out on the field and ‘trod the sod.’ It is a polo tradition to have everyone go out on the field at half-time and replace all the divots left behind from horses hoofs by stepping on them. This serves two purposes, one is to get the level playing surface back for the rest of the match and the other is for the spectators give their legs a stretch. The trick, as Ken advised over the PA, was to avoid stepping on any divot that has steam coming off it. Rudy, now always thinking of ways to improve the game, decided we could do away with this process by getting them to play on AstroTurf.

Today was to be a double header with the second match promising to be even better than the first. Brian and Donna left afte the first game due to commitments. The Kaufmans had left after the fifth chukker of game one citing commitments of their own. Rudy and Jim stayed behind for the second match, I don’t know if they watched any or all of it or as soon as the the Bogarduses left they lifted their hoods and started their engines’…

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