CARBONDALE, Colo., July 11, 2019---Action continues this weekend with the ChukkerTV Challenge, the third tournament of the summer polo season at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Six teams will compete Friday and Sunday. Two round robin games are scheduled for Friday at Sopris Mountain Ranch.
At 11 a.m. (MST) Piocho Ranch plays Sopris Mountain Ranch. The winner sits and Flexjet plays the last six chukkers. At 1 p.m., La Karina faces Mountain Chevrolet. The winner sits and Los Amigos plays the last six chukkers.
The winners of both games advance into Sunday's championship at 1 p.m. at Aspen Valley Polo Club. The Just For The "Fun" Of It and Just For The "Love" Of It subsidiary games begin 11 a.m.
The team rosters are:
Flexjet (13): Melissa Ganzi, Gussie Busch, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini.
La Karina (15): Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos, Stewart Armstrong.
Los Amigos (15): Paul Foster, Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Salvador Ulloa.
Mountain Chevrolet (15): Michael Payne, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nacho Novillo Astrada.
Piocho Ranch (15): Tom Barrack, Hilario Figueras, Pablo Spinacci, Nacho Figueras.
Sopris Mountain Ranch (14): Lauren Sherry, Tommy Collingwood, Lucas Lalor, Gabriel Gracida.
On Saturday, also at Sopris Mountain Ranch, the "Polo Dreaming" Tournament is 11 a.m. and Kidz Polo at noon.
The tournaments will be live streamed by Wellington, Fla.-based ChukkerTV with Dale Schwetz calling the action.
The ChukkerTV Challenge Cup is the third of eleven grass tournaments and three arena tournaments being staged at AVPC in what is expected to be its best season.
Coming off its most successful summer season, Aspen Valley Polo Club has lined up a star-studded roster of players including Hillario Ulloa, Sapo Caset and Nic Roldan for the summer to compete with and against patrons and amateur players.
This week Tommy Collingwood, two-time winner of the $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament at Grand Champions Polo Club, and Juancito Bollini, Brand Ambassador for U.S. Polo Assn., make their debut at Aspen Valley Polo Club, the summer destination for polo.
Last year's ChukkerTV Challenge Cup was Los Amigos Blue (Paul Foster, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Pablo Dorignac), 11-9 winners over Los Amigos Red (Alejandra Foster, Riley Ganzi, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini). The score was tied 8-8 going into the final chukker. Paul Foster, who has been playing polo for ten years, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring four goals.
Los Amigos Red joins Piocho Ranch, the season-opening Independence Cup winners, on the 2019 tournament champions list for the summer of 11 grass tournaments and three arena tournaments.
Among the 2019 summer highlights is the 119th USPA Silver Cup. The Aug. 11 final, set for one of the club's two newest fields at McClure Ranch, will be coupled with the annual Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar fundraiser. Other top tournaments are the July 14-20 USPA North American Cup, July 23-August 6 USPA National Arena Handicap, Aug. 7-14 Arena World Cup and Sept. 1-8 Triple Crown of Polo.
The club's summer marquis charity event, hosted by club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi and Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, has raised $1 million dollars in the last two years to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital.
Ticket packages range from $250 to $25,000 Luxury VIP Gold (table for 12) and $100,000 Luxury VIP Diamond package (30 guests). The $50,000 Luxury VIP Platinum (20 guests) has already sold out. For more information call 970-544-1302.
With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest and fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs in the nation with a membership increase of 75 percent over four seasons.
Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi founded the club in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Tuesday Arena & Asado Nights, Kidz Polo, The Polo School headed by former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, and Polo On Demand. In addition, the club offers practice sessions for teams competing in the weekend tournaments.
The club's featured Tuesday Arena & Asado Nights begin July 16th with games at 5 p.m. followed by an asado at 7:45 p.m.
“We want polo to thrive here, and we want Aspen to be the summer polo destination in America,” said Melissa Ganzi.
Added Marc Ganzi, who grew up in Aspen: "We want to make Aspen Valley Polo Club the place for this Valley. Most importantly the idea is to de-mystify the game of polo that people have the impression that it's a sport you can't access, that you can't play.
"We've always told people to come here," Ganzi said. "The gates are open, the food is free, the drinks are free and your first polo lesson is free if you want to come take one and try the game. Our approach is come as you are. We prefer the flip flops over the high heels. We just want to get people to appreciate the horses and the Valley."
Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities.
Aspen Peak Magazine has featured the club and its events several times and recently featured players Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Tony Calle and Nic Roldan in a cover story.
The Ganzis are avid players and patrons and "have created a polo paradise" according to Piocho Ranch padron Tom Barrack. "You can go all over the world but you can't have these kind of people, players and horses in this setting. It's really a gift." Players, sponsors, community leaders and fans share Barrack's sentiments.
All ages are welcome to enjoy polo at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Admission, food and refreshments are free for fans in a relaxed, laidback atmosphere. An added feature is the club's Jumbotron which made its debut last summer for the fans' enjoyment, Aspen Valley Polo Club Boutique and new electronic scoreboard.
Aspen, named after trees that quiver in the slightest breeze, offers hiking, mountain biking, rafting, fishing, golf, horseback riding, great restaurants and taverns in addition to a full summer of polo.
Colorado is of Spanish origin meaning "colored red" which Spanish explorers named the muddy red river Rio Colorado that they discovered. Congress kept the name for the territory in 1861.