‘Lihue Louie’ Nalda – a Kaua’i Polo Club legend

ANINI FIELD – Before you saddle up your Jeep Wrangler and head to the Anini Polo Field this Sunday, know what to expect.

Expect the same unyielding thoroughbred action as in weeks prior, and expect top notch players alike – some international and others from Hawaii.

Best of all, expect this: Two teams, one challenge – the Louis Nalda Memorial Challenge – and await some of the best polo of the year.

These teams are going to have to play some of their best polo to live up to “Lihue Louie” Nalda.

A rough riding, bronc busting, polo playing cowboy of the old school, knowing Nalda’s history is understanding what precedent has been set for all members of the Kaua’i Polo Club each season since his passing in 1992.

Nalda was one of the best low goal players in the Southwest. He was always ready to play, whether it was on a cow pony, fresh from the sale ring in New Mexico, or on a thoroughbred at the Kaua’i Polo Club.

Nalda began his polo career at the New Mexico Military Institute and went on to win the coveted Inter-Collegiate Cup in New York City in 1954. He created the Pietown Polo Tournament at his ranch in Pietown, New Mexico in 1967. This tournament was also known as the “Annual Pietown Killin.” The perpetual trophy, which he donated to be presented each year to honor Claude Barry is in its 25th year of play. His infamous Pietown Javalena team, which included cronies Mickey Samuell and Buzz Easterling, was undefeated for many years in indoor tournaments throughout Texas and the Border-Circuit.

This talented man captured the hearts of many when he started a treasured tradition of strumming his guitar and singing his rollicking songs at polo parties. Anyone fortunate enough to be caught in his spell was indeed blessed with a 10-goal performance.

A true cowboy has fallen and polo out west and on Kaua’i will never be the same.

But on Sunday, the polo players of today will try to capture a piece of it.

The Louis Nalda Memorial Challenge will take place at Anini Field this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. The public is welcome. Adults $7.50 per person; 12-18, $5.00 per person.

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