Aspen Valley Polo Club

Gussie Busch - MVP

Rancho Los Amigos Defeats NetJets to Take Emma Challenge Title; MVP Gussie Busch

CARBONDALE, CO, August 2, 2021— Rancho Los Amigos bested NetJets by a score of 8-7 to capture the Emma Challenge title. White Birch beat Tonkawa by 8-7 in the final of the Maroon Bells Cup. Mariano Aguerre was named MVP.

2021 Emma Challenge Winners Rancho Los Amigos. Paul Foster, Juan Bollini,
Alejandro Novillo Astrada, and MVP Gussie Busch
By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: Nick Tininenko for ChukkerTV
In Sunday’s title match in the Emma Challenge, Rancho Los Amigos (Gussie Busch, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini, and Paul Foster) met NetJets (Alejandra Foster, Vinny Sangaline, Nacho Figueras, and Pablo Spinacci).

A minute into the first chukker, Gussie Busch put the first point on the board for Rancho Los Amigos. Play was back and forth for another three minutes before Nacho Figueras passed the ball to Alejandra Foster, who completed the play to score. With just under a minute left in the period, Alejandro Novillo Astrada shot just wide of the goal, allowing Figueras to pick up the ball at the knock-in. Again, he passed to Foster, who eluded several pursuers to take the ball downfield and put it through the posts. Rancho Los Amigos dominated the field in the second chukker, with Novillo Astrada knocking in the first goal. Gussie Busch and Paul Foster both found the uprights, but NetJets was unable to get on the board. The chukker ended 4-2. In the third chukker, play was back and forth for more than three minutes until Paul Foster was able to score for Rancho Los Amigos. With two and a half minutes left on the clock, Alejandra Foster passed to Vinny Sangaline, who sent the ball on to Pablo Spinacci to tap through the posts. As the clock ticked under thirty seconds, Juan Bollini slammed a long centering shot to Gussie Busch, who put the ball through to end the half 6-3 for Rancho Los Amigos.

Rancho Los Amigos got off to a rough start in the second half and failed to score in the fourth chukker. Vinny Sangaline put one on the board for NetJets and Alejandra Foster converted a Penalty 3, allowing NetJets to gain on the team in red and end the period 5- 6. The situation reversed in the pentultimate chukker, and NetJets couldn’t get on the board. Novillo Astrada scored back-to-back goals to end the chukker with Rancho Los Amigos in the lead at 8-5. NetJets contined to play a strong defense in the final chukker, keeping Rancho Los Amigos on the board. Offensively they were less effective, and despite goals from Alejandra Foster and Sangaline, they were unable to close the gap and went down to Rancho Los Amigos with a final score of 8-7. Gussie Busch was named MVP.

Kidz wheelie polo during half time

In the Maroon Bells Cup final, Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Nic Roldan, and Nacho Novillo Astrada) took on visiting team White Birch (Chris Brant, Grant Ganzi, Toro Ruiz, and Mariano Aguerre).
Tonkawa started the chukker on the right foot, with Nic Roldan scoring the first goal with an under-the-neck shot at 4:19. He followed up by running the ball through the posts at 3:19 and converting a Penalty 4. With just under a minute left to play, Mariano Aguerre took possession of the ball and worked it downfield to Toro Ruiz, who lofted a shot through the posts with 20 seconds left on the clock. Tonkawa’s hot streak didn’t last into the second period, and they failed to get on the board. Chris Brant scored from the field and Grant Ganzi converted a Penalty 2 to end the period tied up at 3-3. Tonkawa’s dry spell carried on through the third chukker, with White Birch’s strong defense keeping them away from the goal. However, their defense was strong enough to hold White Birch to one goal from Toro Ruiz and the half ended 4-3 with White Birch in the lead.

Emma Challenge Most Valuable Player Gussie Busch with Netjets
representatives Curt Krippner, and James Sparks
Tonkawa came back energized after half time and took the lead, with a Penalty 2 conversion from Jeff Hildebrand and goals from Nacho Novillo Astrada and Jimmy Seward. However, Mariano Aguerre scored a final goal to cut that lead to 6-5 at the end of the fourth chukker. The play was more evenly matched in the fifth period, although White Birch’s only goal came from a Penalty 3 conversion by Grant Ganzi. Roldan made another great shot to end the chukker with Tonkawa hanging on to a one goal lead at 7-6. However, they couldn’t get past the White Birch defense to score in the final chukker, while back-to-back goals from Ruiz saw White Birch win by 8-7. Mariano Aguerre was named MVP, while Paloma, played by Jeff Hildebrand in the third chukker, was named Best Playing Pony.
In the Just for the Love of It subsidiary match of the Emma Challenge, Victory Polo (Kevin Schmeitz, Govinda Quish, Sugar Erskine, and Tomas Pieres) played Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Alejandro Poma, Gonzalito Pieres, and Alex Gooding.

The first half of the match saw both teams evenly matched and playing a very defensive game. Michael Payne put the first goal on the board with a Penalty 2, while Tomas Pieres scored from the field. The second and third chukkers saw both teams playing hard to no effect, with neither scoring, and the half ended in a 1-1 tie. Tomas Pieres knocked in the first goal in the second chukker, and Sugar Erskine scored for Victory Polo, keeping the game still tied up at the end of the fourt chukker. Mountain Chevrolet took a brief lead in the fifth period with a Penalty 6 conversion by Gonzalito Pieres and a goal from Alex Gooding. Erskine racked up another goal for Victory Polo and the period ended 4-3 with Mountain Chevrolet in the lead. In the final chukker, Gonzalito Pieres took his team’s lead up to 5-3, but goals from Kevin Shmeitz and Tomas Pieres ended the match in a 5-5 tie. The teams agreed to forego overtime due to the weather.
In the Maroon Bells subsidiary match, La Karina (Brian Boyd, Sugar Erskine, Tomas Pieres, and Horacio Heguy) met McClure River Ranch (Santos Bollini, Nacho Badiola, Gonzalito Pieres, and Stewart Armstrong). McClure River Ranch dominated the play in the first half. La Karina’s Tomas Pieres put the first goal on the board, but goals from Stewart Armstrong and Nacho Badiola ended the chukker with McClure River Ranch leading 2-1. La Karina was unable to penetrate the McClure River Ranch defense in the second chukker, while the team in white added two more goals from Armstrong and Pieres to end the period leading 4-1.

La Karina strengthened their defense in the third chukker and kept McClure River off the board while Tomas Pieres put the ball through to end the half with La Karina behind at 4-2. La Karina found a better rhythm after the half. Santos Bollini scored from the field while McClure River failed to make it onto the board. The situation reversed in the pentultimate chukker, with La Karina failing to score while Horacio Heguy put the ball through and Tomas Pieres converted a Penalty 2, cutting McClure River Ranch’s lead to 1 at 5-4. Stewart Armstrong put his team’s lead up to 2, but goals from Boyd and Tomas Pieres ended the game in a 6-6 tie. The teams agreed to forego overtime due to threatening weather.