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CARBONDALE, Colo., August 2, 2019---The ninth tournament of the summer polo season gets under way Friday at Sopris Mountain Ranch.

The High Alpine Cup, featuring two teams, begins Friday with a six-chukker matchup at 11 a.m. MST. The Friday score will continue to Sunday's final set for 10 a.m. at Aspen Valley Polo Club.

The teams competing are:

Los Amigos: Paul Foster, Alejandra Foster, Gabriel Gracida, Juan Bollini.

Mountain Chevrolet: Michael Payne, Lauren Sherry, Alejandro Poma, Pablo Spinacci.

In last year's High Alpine Cup, Los Amigos Red (Alejandra Foster, Kris Kampsen, Nic Roldan, Paul Foster) defeated Casablanca (Alex Gooding, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini), 9-7. Paul Foster, who scored three goals playing the back position, was named Most Valuable Player.

The High Alpine Cup is named for living or growing trees on lofty mountains above the timberline especially above the limit for tree growth. An alpine tree line is the highest elevation that sustains trees. The climate above the tree line of mountains is called an alpine climate and the terrain is described as alpine tundra.

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 first six tournament winners of the 2019 summer season are: Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini), Emma Challenge; Piocho Ranch (Gussie Busch, Nacho Figueras, Tom Barrack, Alejandro Novillo Astrada), 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; 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-goalers Sapo Caset and Hilario Ulloa. The Aug. 11 final, set for McClure River Ranch Stadium in front of an expected sellout crowd, will be paired with the annual Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar fundraiser. Other top tournaments are Tuesday's United States Arena Handicap final between two-time defending champion and Casablanca; 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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