CARBONDALE, Colo., August 17, 2019---Audi and Mountain Chevrolet won their semifinal games Friday at windy Sopris Mountain Ranch to advance into Sunday's Rocky Mountain Open championship final.

Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Grant Ganzi, Salvador Ulloa, Hilario Ulloa) held off McClure River Ranch (Gussie Busch, Pablo Spinacci, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Stewart Armstrong), 10-9, in the opening semifinal.

Audi (Marc Ganzi, Jared Zenni, Lucas Lalor, Nic Roldan) edged defending champion La Karina (Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos, Kris Kampsen), 8-7.

Audi and Mountain Chevrolet will play Sunday at McClure River Ranch Field 1 at 10 a.m. La Karina and McClure River Ranch will meet in the subsidiary final Just For The Love Of It at 12:30 p.m.

The Rocky Mountain Handicap begins Saturday at 11 a.m. at McClure River Ranch with one game. Los Amigos Red (Paul Foster, Juan Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Tincho Merlos) plays Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Pablo Spinacci, Juancito Bollini, Alfredo Bigatti). The score will carry over into Sunday's final at 11:15 a.m. at McClure River Ranch Field 1.

In the opening game, Mountain Chevrolet pulled away for a 4-1 lead after the second chukker and 6-3 at the half. McClure River Ranch tried to rally in the second half, shutting out Mountain Chevrolet, 3-0 and 2-0 in the fourth and sixth chukkers and outscoring them, 6-4, in the second half but could not overtake the lead.

With Mountain Chevrolet leading 10-7 going into the final chukker, a penalty-one and Spinacci goal with two minutes left, cut the lead to one goal but McClure River Ranch could get no closer.

The Ulloa brothers combined for eight goals with Salvador Ulloa scoring a game-high six goals. Payne and Hilario Ulloa each had two goals.

Astrada led McClure River Ranch with four goals. Busch added two goals and Spinacci and Armstrong each had one goal. McClure River Ranch was also awarded a penalty-one in the sixth chukker.

In the second semifinal, Audi proved it's the team to beat in the tournament. Audi led from start-to-finish. Audi pulled away for leads of 3-0 early in the opening chukker and 6-3 at the half.

For most of the game, Audi had at least a two-goal lead. Audi opened the final chukker with an 8-5 lead and despite Merlos scoring back-to-back goals, Audi's defense turned it on. Roldan came up with a clutch steal. La Karina had scoring opportunities to tie the game but failed to convert.

Ganzi and Roldan shared high scoring honors for Audi each with three goals. Lalor and Zenni each had one goal. Kampsen led La Karina with four goals. Gracida had two goals and Merlos added one.

In last year's Rocky Mountain Open final, La Karina (Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Stewart Armstrong) won its third tournament of the 2018 summer season, with an 8-5 victory over Aspen Valley Polo Club (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Eloy Vallina/David Vallina, Juan Bollini). Roldan was named Most Valuable Player.

The Rocky Mountain Open is named after the major mountain range in western North America that stretches more than 3,000 miles from British Columbia south to the Rio Grande in New Mexico. The eastern edge of the Rockies rise dramatically in the Interior Plains of central North America including Colorado’s highest peak Mount Elbert with the highest peak of 14,440 feet above sea level.

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. It has been the most competitive and highest level of polo in club history.

The 2019 summer tournament champions are: Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Juan Martin Obregon, Sapo Caset, Mason Wroe), 119th USPA Silver Cup; La Karina (Brian Boyd, Lauren Sherry, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos), Mount Sopris Cup; 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.

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 five 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 including the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

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.