The origins of the Waipouli Polo Field and Race Track date to about 1880, when Makee Sugar Plantation owner Colonel Zephaniah Spalding constructed a horse race track at Waipouli.
Then, around 1915, his son, James, built a polo field inside the race track.
In use until at least the mid-1920s and once located makai of today’s Plantation Hale, the Waipouli Polo Field and Race Track was the site of numerous sporting events, with Ahukini Terminal and Railroad Co. providing spectators with free transportation from Puhi, Lihue and Hanamaulu.
Among the sporting highlights at Waipouli was the polo match of Jan. 1, 1917, witnessed by more than 1,000 fans, in which a Kauai team comprised of Charles Rice, Philip Rice, James Spalding and John Malina defeated an Oahu team made up of Harold Castle, Arthur Rice, Charles Lyman and Charles Lucas.
Another high point occurred on July 4, 1919, when 10 horse races were held at Waipouli. Skyboy, owned by Tashima, lost to Joe Marian’s Charley. J. Malina’s Halemaumau defeated J. Spalding’s Fourchette, and J. Spalding’s Mamie was victorious over Charles Rice’s Kealoha.
Other owners whose horses were entered in races that day were M. Bettencourt, Momoyama, Sam Chong, Charles Wilcox and Sakamoto.
Besides polo matches and horse races, men’s baseball games were played there with teams possessing monikers like Asahi’s, All-Chinese, All-Japanese, All-Kauai, Lihue, Makee, All-Stars, P.A.C., East Side and West Side.
New Year’s Day 1920 saw the Asahi’s — an undefeated Japanese baseball team from Honolulu — defeat the All-Kauai’s by the score of 6 to 4.
In the second game, the P.A.C. (Portuguese Athletic Club) team beat the Asahi’s 2 to 1, with outstanding ball playing by J. Perreira, A. Perreira and Gabriel for the P.A.C.
Lihue — the 1919 baseball champions of Kauai — also defeated the Asahi’s 2 to 1 in the final game at Waipouli.
Rodeo events were held at Waipouli, too.
On Nov. 11, 1921, Hanalei cowboy Kainipau won the steer tying contest at Waipouli.