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First Ever Michigan State University vs. University of Michigan Polo Match at Horse Shows by the Bay

Traverse City, MI - August 1, 2008 - Horse Shows by the Bay in beautiful Traverse City, MI hosted its first-ever polo match tonight between the co-ed polo teams of University of Michigan and Michigan State University. The match, held in the brand new Team Elmer's grand prix ring at Flintfields Horse Park, ended in a tie. Both teams finished with ten points each. The final week of Horse Shows by the Bay runs through Sunday, August 3.

Approximately 5,000 polo enthusiasts crowded into the V.I.P. tents and grassy hills surrounding the grand prix ring to watch the competition. Spectators dressed up to support their favorite teams and came with blankets, flags and college gear of all kinds. Everyone was in good spirits and cheered on their teams even when a short burst of rain blew through.

Along with the polo match, the show also hosted its first-ever hat contest sponsored by Meadowview Farm and The Johnson Family of Grand Rapids. The contest awarded a total of $500 in prize money to the following winners: Carrie Gunst of Hartford, WI for Most Over the Top, Lauren Gonzales of Traverse City, MI for Best Team Spirit MSU, Mark Shyman of Miami Beach, FL for Best Team Spirit U of M, and young Justin Edick of Traverse City, MI for Silliest.

Kathy Johnson of Meadowview Farm was very proud to have helped sponsor such a great event. "We were just so happy to be involved," she said. "Whatever we can do to make things happen is great."

"The turnout was so amazing," Johnson continued. "These guys were so thrilled to have a crowd like that to play in front of. It was really neat."

After four exciting rounds and a half-time performance from the two schools' drill teams, the match ended in a 10-10 tie. Both teams were excited to share the win and to have played in front of the biggest crowd of their polo careers.

Dani Rewitzer, a sophomore at University of Michigan, talked about how great the match was for the two teams.

"We have never played in an arena like that so I did not know how it would go, but it was just great," Rewitzer said after the match. "They were so accommodating here and it was so much fun."

Rewitzer has only been playing polo for a year, but she is sure that this was the biggest crowd that either of the teams has ever played in front of. "I am so amazed at the turnout," she said. "I did not ever think that this many people would come. It was absolutely incredible."

Michigan State University's polo team coach, Tom Wisehart, thought the match was great as well. "I think that it ended the way that it should have, with a good exhibition game; both teams played well," Wisehart said. "I think that we put a good show on for the crowd and I think they enjoyed it."

Wisehart, who first started playing polo 12 years ago at University of Connecticut, is happy about getting such good exposure for the sport. He has been the coach of the MSU team for nine years now and was thrilled to play in front of such a big crowd.

"Most people do not actually know that we play in this state, so it is good to get this much publicity for the sport and for the two schools as well," said Wisehart. He also agreed that it was definitely the biggest crowd that he has ever played in front of.

With the record crowds, the match turned out to be a first, not only for the horse show, but for the teams and players as well. The event was held as a charity exhibition between the two schools, with the proceeds going to raise funds for both teams.

For more information on Horse Shows by the Bay, please go to http://www.horsesportsbythebay.com.



Photo Credit: Winners of the Meadowview Farm Hat Contest: Carrie Gunst of Hartford, WI for Most Over the Top, Lauren Gonzales of Traverse City, MI for Best Team Spirit MSU, Mark Shyman of Miami Beach, FL for Best Team Spirit U of M, and young Justin Edick of Traverse City, MI for Silliest posing with the judges. Photo (C) 2008 Lauren Fisher/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.

 

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