The Maui Animal Aloha Center is a non profit organization located right here on the Island of Maui. They have two great programs that really benefit the community. The first one is the therapeutic horse back riding for handicapped adults and kids.
The second is their animal awareness program. You can see the center's truck and trailer always on the road as they travel everyday to different schools on the island, with all their animals. They always get a great welcome from the kids. Always eager to learn more about our friends from the animal world, and a chance to pet them. They have been booked solid for the past few years...
This years' game was the finals of the Maui Open, on November 8th. 3 teams competed in a week long tournament, that decided the final 2 teams for "The Polo in the Country" Benefit game, sponsored again this year by Heineken Beer.
The first game found Haleakala ranch squad Vs. a very strong Hanalei Bay, on Friday, October 30th. The 2 teams, took the field with very high expectations. After 6 hard and fast chukkers, Haleakala Ranch had the advantage, 7 to 5.
On Sunday November 1st. Kapalaea Ranch played Hanalei Bay. The first 3 chukkers, it was all for Hanalei Bay. The score at Halftime was 5 to 0 in favor of Hanalei. Marcelo Abbiati, captain of Kapalaea Ranch made some changes in the lineup. Moving Manoa up to the number 2 position from the back, and sending Noh to cover the back door. Abbiati stayed at 3. The changes proved to be a dramatic improvement. The scoring in the second half was 3 to 2 in favor of Kapalaea. The changes came to late though, Hanalei Bay won the game 7 to 3.
Now Haleakala had to play Kapalea.The game was set for Friday, November 6th. The game started with a fast pace, right from the first throw in. When the final bell was heard, announcing the end of the game, Kapalaea had the advantage 7 to 5. There were now 3 teams with one win and one loss each. Hanalei Bay advanced to the final game due to their lead on net goals. Kapalaea due to winning against Haleakala Ranch, (who beat who rule).
A crowd estimated at 1000 came to support the M.A.A.C. benefit game, on Sunday November 8, 1998. While the fans kept arriving, they were treated to the finals of the Fall Island Biker Tournament. Island Biker won that game 3 to 2. The winners received beautiful embroidered jackets, sponsored by Bob Nooney, owner of Island Biker. The teams of the second game came onto the field with jerseys bearing the name of the main sponsor of the day: Heineken.
After the parade of polo ponies and MAAC Kids around the field, & a quick warm up they were ready to go. In the first few seconds of the game, straight from the first throw in, Kawika Manoa took the ball all the way, and scored. That proved to be the first and only goal for Kapalaea. Hanalei Bay quickly answered to tie the game. However, it wasn't until the 3 chukker when Hanalei would score again. This time on a penalty 4.
This also proved to be the last goal scored in the game. Both teams played a very strong defensive game. Hanalei dominated the field a bit more than Kapalaea, they had many opportunities to score, only to see the ball go wide, left and right, numerous times. At the end of the 6th chukker the score was an unbelievable low score of 2 to 1 in favor of Hanalei Bay. Peter Baldwin, president of The Maui Polo Club and John Torres of Heineken presented the winners with the Maui Cup trophy. The MVP co-winners, Mike Connat and Kimo Hudleston received a Heineken mirror.
On behalf of The Maui Polo Club, I would like to thank everybody that helped put on this great benefit game. A lot of work by a lot of volunteers made it all possible. And a special Mahalo to John Torres of Paradise Beverages and Heineken for sponsoring The Polo in the Country, M.A.A.C Benefit game.