CARBONDALE, Colo., September 5, 2019---Aspen Valley Polo Club saved one of its best tournaments for the last weekend of the summer polo season.
The World Polo League's Triple Crown of Polo will feature five teams battling it out for the prestigious trophy. It is the second season the club is hosting the tournament.
The three-day 20-goal tournament begins Friday at 11 a.m. MST at Sopris Mountain Ranch with a three-team round robin semifinal.
Seventeen-goal Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Kris Kampsen, Lucas Lalor, Pablo Spinacci) plays 20-goal Los Amigos Red (Paul Foster, Carlitos Gracida, Tincho Merlos, Nacho Novillo Astrada). The winner sits and 20-goal Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Salvador Ulloa, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) will play the final six chukkers.
The second semifinal is Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with 19-goal Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alfredo Bigatti, Sebastian Merlos, Stewart Armstrong) playing 18-goal Audi (TBA, Juancito Bolini, Mariano Gracida, Nic Roldan) at McClure River Ranch.
The winner advances into Sunday's final at 11 a.m. at McClure River Ranch followed by a season-ending round robin Just For The Fun Of It at 12:30 p.m.
Also on Saturday at noon, Saturday Fest will feature a game between Casablanca (Gussie Busch, TBA, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini) and McClure River Ranch (Nico Harriett, TBA, Carlitos Gracida, Pablo Spinacci).
Designed by Tiffany & Co., the magnificent trophy is comprised of three separate trophies that fit perfectly together to create an entire polo scene that is breathtaking in sterling silver.
The winning teams' names will be inscribed on the trophy and added to an impressive list of teams that feature several top players including Sebastian Merlos, Mike Azzaro, Tommy Biddle, Adam Snow, Nic Roldan, Matias Magrini, Jeff Hall, Mariano Gonzalez, Michel Dorignac and Kris Kampsen.
The Triple Crown of Polo, an ESPN2 television series, was created in 2005 by David McLane, known for Pro Beach Hockey, Women of Wrestling and Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, to help promote polo in the U.S. The spectacular trophy was created for the event that had stops in Sarasota, Dallas, Santa Barbara and Aiken during its heyday.
In last year's Triple Crown of Polo season-finale, first-year team Mandarina (Sarah Magness, Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) defeated Woodrow Farm, 7-6. Astrada was Most Valuable Player.
Coming off its most successful summer season, Aspen Valley Polo Club lined up a star-studded field of players including Hilario and Salvador Ulloa, 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: McClure River Ranch Pink (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandra Foster, Lauren Sherry, Juan Bollini), Battle of the Sexes; Audi (Lauren Sherry, Salvador Ulloa, Nic Roldan, Marc Ganzi), Labor Day Challenge; Los Amigos Red (Paul Foster, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Juancito Bollini, Juan Bollini), Carbondale Classic; Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alfredo Bigatti, Pablo Spinacci, Juancito Bollini), Rocky Mountain Handicap; Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Grant Ganzi, Hilario Ulloa, Salvador Ulloa), Rocky Mountain Open; La Karina (Brian Boyd, Lauren Sherry, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos), Mount Sopris Cup; Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Juan Martin Obregon, Sapo Caset, Mason Wroe), 119th USPA Silver 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), 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 (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.
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.
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.
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.