BIG HORN — Steve and KC Krueger ping-pong jokes off each other.
They alternate lines, with KC typically handling the setup and Steve popping in for the punchline. And if those weren’t followed by hard laughs from KC and playful grins from Steve, it would be easy to think they’re serious. They bounce off each other the same way on the polo field.
“It’s a good way to stay out of couples therapy,” KC started.
“You can get everything off your chest,” Steve continued.
“That’s right,” KC said. “It all comes out out there (on the field).”
“You didn’t do the dishes!” Steve yelled sarcastically, imitating what his wife might let loose while competing.
The Kruegers play polo together and spend their summers at the Flying H Polo Club. They’re joined by another married couple on this year’s club roster, Craig and Roni Duke.
“That’s why this game is so special,” KC said. “Because you can do it with family, with husband and wife, brother and sister, mother and daughter.”
The Kruegers were introduced to the sport early in their lives because their fathers play. KC and Steve met as kids as a result of their parents being friends. Now, the two have been married for nine years and playing polo together for longer than that.
They often compete on the same team.
“I’d rather play with him than against him," KC said. "I enjoy playing with him. He gives me a lot of confidence.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Steve said.
“You better say that," KC said, with a giggle.
“Playing against each other, it’s kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t," Steve said.
“Yeah, that can get a little dicey," KC said. "It’ll end with me being more mad than him.”
"'Cause she loses more than me," Steve said.
"It’s a sport," KC replied. "You have to remember that. It’s fun. Sometimes, we can get a little competitive, though.”
Craig and Roni Duke also spend all their days on the same team — well, except when they hit the polo field.
They’ve been married for 20 years, and Craig has been playing polo for almost 40. Roni rode jumping horses but didn’t take to polo until after she wed Craig.
“We cannot play on the same team because she thinks she knows more than I do,” Craig said, laughing.
“No, it just does not work well,” Roni said. “We argue. But we can play against each other with no problem.”
Craig participates for No Trees, and Roni suits up for the Parrot Heads, a squad inspired by her two pet African greys.
The Dukes love watching each other play.
“It’s nice that we do the same thing and have that same hobby,” Roni said. “That’s rare … I’m always happy for him. I’m always rooting for him.”
Craig and Roni haven’t noticed an advantage playing against each other. But the Kruegers certainly have.
Because they’ve practiced and played together so much, they easily identify each other’s tendencies. Steve said his favorite part of being teammates with KC is always knowing where she’ll be in certain situations.
His favorite part of rivaling her? You guessed it.
“I kind of always know where she’s going to be,” Steve said.
Sunday, while teammates on the same BTA team, the Krueger connection struck again.
KC brought the ball down the field but started to run into traffic. Steve recognized it and shouted his wife’s name.
Without looking up from the ground as the defenders surrounded her, KC swatted a long pass toward Steve’s voice. She knew where he’d be. The ball arrived just a few yards in front of Steve downfield.