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CARBONDALE, Colo., August 10, 2019---La Karina earned a trip to the championship final of the Mount Sopris Cup Sunday against Audi at McClure River Ranch.

The final is part of a busy day that kicks off with the 119th USPA Silver Cup showdown between undefeated Tonkawa and never-say-die Casablanca and Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar Fundraiser for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation at 11 a.m.

While the fundraiser continues throughout the day, Audi, led by Marc Ganzi and Nacho Figueras, will take on La Karina (Brian Boyd, Lauren Sherry, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos) in the Mount Sopris Cup at 1 p.m. followed by the Just For The Love Of It Cup at 2:30 p.m. pitting Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Alejandro Poma, Alfredo Bigatti, Stewart Armstrong) against Los Amigos Red (Paul Foster, Alejandra Foster, Juan Bollini, Tincho Merlos).

With Audi receiving a bye into the final, La Karina, Los Amigos Red and Mountain Chevrolet played a nine-chukker round robin Friday at Sopris Mountain Ranch to determine who played Audi in the tenth tournament of the summer season.

In the opening three chukkers, La Karina defeated Mountain Chevrolet, 6-4. In the second matchup, Los Amigos Red topped Mountain Chevrolet, 5-3, to set up a true final for the last three chukkers between La Karina and Los Amigos Red.

After playing to a 4-4 tie in regulation, Sebastian Merlos scored on a short goal to give La Karina a 5-4 victory.

La Karina was led by Gracida and Sebastian Merlos, each with four goals and Brian Boyd with three goals. Alfredo Bigatti led Mountain Chevrolet with three goals. Tincho Merlos led Los Amigos Red with six goals.

In last year's Mount Sopris Cup, Tonkawa won the title in its summer polo debut at Aspen Valley Polo Cup. The foursome of Wesley Uys, Sapo Caset, Jeff Hildebrand and Mason Wroe defeated Mandarina (Alejandra Foster, Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Nacho Novillo Astrada), 13-11. Caset was Most Valuable Player. The tournament was sponsored by Mandarina Polo & Equestrian.

Coming off its most successful summer season, Aspen Valley Polo Club lined up a star-studded field of players including Hilario Ulloa, Sapo Caset, Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Tincho and Sebastian Merlos and Nic Roldan for the summer to compete with and against patrons and amateur players.

The 2019 summer tournament champions are: Los Amigos Red (Alejandra Foster, Gabriel Gracida, Juan Bollini, Paul Foster), High Alpine Cup; Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini), Emma Challenge; Piocho Ranch (Gussie Busch, Nacho Figueras, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Tom Barrack), Basalt Handicap; La Karina (Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos, Kris Kampsen), USPA North American Cup; Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nacho Novillo Astrada), ChukkerTV Challenge; Los Amigos Red (Hilario Figueras, Paul Foster, Lucas Lalor, Nacho Novillo Astrada), Craig Sakin Memorial; and Piocho Ranch (Tom Barrack, Gabriel Gracida, Nacho Figueras, Salvador Ulloa), the season-opening Independence Cup winners.

Among the 2019 summer highlights is the 119th USPA Silver Cup with some of the world's top players including 10-goaler Sapo Caset. The final, in front of an expected sellout crowd, will be paired with the annual Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar fundraiser. Other top tournaments are the 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 more than $1 million dollars in the last two years to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital.

All event tickets are sold out. To be placed on a waiting list please 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 club tournaments.

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 polo and charity 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, mountain climbing, great restaurants and taverns in addition to a full summer of polo.

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