PIONEERS: Ignacio
PIONEERS: Ignacio "Nacho” Landa and Miguel Urquiza set up the first Mexican polocrosse clubs. They are at the Polocrosse World Cup on a fact-finding mission and hope to field a team in the next cup. Michael Nolan

Mexicans in Warwick on fact-finding mission

THE international polocrosse community grew a little bit larger on Saturday when representatives of the first Mexican clubs arrived in Warwick for the World Cup.

Ignacio "Nacho” Landa and Miguel Urquiza spent the past fortnight travelling around Australia on a fact-finding mission and they plan to field a team in the next World Cup.

"We are from Monterry, in Northern Mexico, and the name of the club is Los Companeros,” Mr Landa said.

"That means 'the companions' or the buddies, the mates, the good friends.”

Mr Landa said the name reflected the tight-knit relationship shared by the polocrosse community.

"I have been to tournaments all over the world and none are like Warwick World Cup,” he said.

"There are young children and seniors playing together and you can see the seeds of people enjoying life.

"It is some of those seeds that we can put in our hearts, take home and enjoy with other people.”

Polocrosse is an Australian export invented by Eward Hurst in 1938 after he saw a similar game played in England.

The English version was an indoor game with two riders on each side who scored by passing a ball through a basketball hoop.

They altered the rules and developed the first polocrosse fields at Inlgeburn, New South Wales.

The sport spread across Australia and internationally.

Mr Land said part of its appeal was the simple rules and low costs compared to traditional polo.

"In polocrosse everybody plays, no matter their position, and it is not just a game for one person,” he said.

"You don't need to be a professional to play at high levels whereas with polo to get to high level you don't need to play full time.”

Well-known Perth polocrosse player Kelly Stewa introduced Mr Landa to the game while he was visiting her three years ago.

He took the idea home and later got in contact with Prissy Rumel from the Lone Star Polocrosse Club in Texas, USA.

She helped Mr Landa and his 20 mates develop their club.

"Prissy is an honorary life member of Los Companeros,” Mr Landa said.

Mr Landa and his family play polo and own about 17 horses.

To get the sport going, he invited 20 friends around for a couple of games and they became the founding members of Los Companeros.

Mexico has a proud tradition of horse sports dating to the early days of colonisation.

It includes showjumping, dressage, polo and a Mexican version of rodeo called Charreada.

Mr Landa said adding polocrosse in the mix had been difficult.

"It's conceptual at the moment,” he said.

"I am asking other friends to play and it is difficult to explain what it means.

"The challenge is getting people to accept it and have the willingness to play.”

The Mexican economy has also been a hindrance.

Low personal incomes mean that only the wealthy sectors of the community own horses.

Generally those people live in the cities and hire grooms and stable hands to look after their stock. Despite the difficulty Mr Landa said Mexico would send a team to the next World Cup.

"For sure,” he said.



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