CARBONDALE, Colo., August 8, 2019---A full schedule of fun, polo and fundraising will highlight the busiest weekend in Aspen Valley Polo Club history.
While the 119th USPA Silver Cup and Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar Fundraiser for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation will take center stage on Sunday at McClure River Ranch, the club will also host the Mount Sopris Cup.
The tenth tournament of the summer polo season begins Friday at Sopris Mountain Ranch. The Mount Sopris Cup features a three-team round robin between La Karina, Los Amigos Red and Mountain Chevrolet at 11 a.m.
After the playing of the 119th USPA Silver Cup featuring Casablanca and undefeated Tonkawa at 11 a.m., the winner of the Mount Sopris Cup round robin plays Audi on Sunday at 1 p.m. at McClure River Ranch. The runners-up will play for the Just For The Love Of It Cup at 2:30 p.m.
The teams competing are:
La Karina (13): Brian Boyd, Lauren Sherry, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos.
Los Amigos Red (13): Paul Foster, Alejandra Foster, Juan Bollini, Tincho Merlos.
Mountain Chevrolet (13): Michael Payne, Alejandro Poma, Alfredo Bigatti, Stewart Armstrong.
Audi: Marc Ganzi, Nacho Figueras, TBA, TBA.
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.
The Mount Sopris Cup is named after after the most impressive part of the Elk Mountains that create an impressive backdrop for the town of Carbondale.
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-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 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.