Klentner Ranch Victorious in Folded Hills Pope Challenge Overtime Thriller

Santa Barbara, Calif. – May 14, 2018 – Folded Hills Estate Lily Rosé was flowing as guests enjoyed the springtime sun streaming out over the Sunday field at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. Antelope Jr. came secured their position in the final after defeating both Antelope and Klentner Ranch in bracket play. Klentner Ranch emerged from the virtual semi-final on Friday after defeating Antelope. With an average age of just 22-years-old, Antelope Jr. had youth on their side entering in to the final match of the Folded Hills Pope Challenge against Klentner Ranch. Young Luke Klentner replaced older brother Jake to play alongside Santi Wulff, Jesse Bray and Justin Klentner who competed together in the 12-Goal Tournament Series last year.

“To start the season with a win is always a great feeling,” said Bray. “We made it to three of the four 12-goal finals last year, so to take it the next step and win was definitely a goal of mine this year.”

Jesse Bray

The Klentner Ranch team began the match with a one goal handicap, but the score was quickly tied with a goal from the field by six goal player, Felipe Vercellino. Play was fast and furious – with each goal being matched by the opposing team. At the end of two chukkers Klentner Ranch and Antelope Jr. remained tied with three goals each.

Bray and Wullf showed their ease in playing with each other in the third chukker, expertly scoring two goals from the field. A single goal from Grant Palmer brought Antelope Jr. within one. The score read 5-4 in favor of Klentner Ranch heading into halftime.

Scoring bounced back and forth between Antelope Jr. and Klentner Ranch in the fourth chukker of play. Vercellino and Palmer each converted a penalty to bring their tally to six goals. A field goal from Wulff tied Klentner Ranch back up 6-6. Klentner Ranch took advantage of two penalty shots in their favor but the young guns of Antelope Jr. fought back with a vengeance adding two goals from the field to once again tie the score 8-8.

Santi Wulff
Santi Wulff

Vercellino mounted up on one of his favorite mares, Best Playing Pony “Barbarita,” for the final chukker of regulation, and his strategic tactic paid off scoring two goals for Antelope Jr. With only 2 minutes remaining, Klentner Ranch was in a bind but they did not give up hope. Two penalty calls favoring the team in blue presented them with the opportunity to tie the match, sending the final of the Folded Hills Pope Challenge into overtime.

With the golden goal looming in the minds of all eight players, it was Bray who made the lucky shot after taking the ball from opponent Vercellino on an Antelope Jr. knockin. A quick neckshot sent the ball through the uprights with force and claimed the victory for Klentner Ranch.

Klentner Ranch With Pope/Bidwell family
Klentner Ranch With Pope/Bidwell family

Santi Wulff was awarded Most Valuable Player for his consistent efforts on the field. “Barbarita” owned and played by Felipe Vercellino was named Best Playing Pony, adding another blanket to her collection.

Best Playing Pony Barbarita
Best Playing Pony Barbarita, owned and played by Felipe Vercellino

Game Progression:
Chukker 1 2-1 Klentner Ranch
Chukker 2 3-3
Chukker 3 5-4 Klentner Ranch
Chukker 4 6-6
Chukker 5 8-8
Chukker 6 10-10
Chukker 7 11-10 Klentner Ranch

Antelope Jr.
Grant Palmer A
Jim Wright 3
Felipe Vercellino 6
Herndon Radcliff 3

Klentner Ranch
Luke Klentner A
Jesse Bray 5
Santi Wulff 5
Justin Klentner 1

Hilario Figueras 2
Peke Gonzalez 5
Santi Trotz 5
Geoff Palmer A

Farmers & Merchants Bank
Dan Walker 2
Marcos Bignoli 4
Felipe Viana 5
Leigh Brecheen A

SantaBarbara Polo & Racquet Club
The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the premier destination for polo on the West Coast. Located on the beautiful American Riviera, the Club offers three high goal fields, a Polo School, boarding facilities, polo lessons and country club amenities, including eight tennis courts and a fitness facility, all alongside the Pacific Ocean. The 2018 season opened May 5th and runs through the first week of October. For more information about the Club and to purchase tickets please visit www.sbpolo.com.

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