Aspen Valley Polo Club Ends Successful Summer Season This Weekend

Aspen Valley Polo Club Ends Successful Summer Season This Weekend

By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
Aspen Valley Polo Club winds down its’ most successful summer polo season in club history this weekend with the season-ender Carbondale Classic.

The three-day tournament begins Friday with a round robin game at High Mesa Ranch at 3 p.m. MST.

The final is Sunday at 11 a.m. MST along with the popular Grooms’ Race.

The family-owned company NOH Foods of Hawaii makes its’ debut as a team sponsor. NOH Foods carries a wide variety of food products including sauces, seasonings, drink mixes and its’ popular Hawaiian Iced Tea.

Tincho Merlos. Photo by ChukkerTV
Since 1963, from the kitchen of the first formal Korean restaurant (Arirang) in Honolulu, Hawaii, NOH Foods has been an island favorite. Today, with worldwide distribution, the convenience and quality which the NOH products are known for can be found throughout the United States Canada, Europe, Mexico and Asian-Pacific region.

The teams and player rosters are:

Flexjet (13): Melissa Ganzi, 0, Julio Novillo Astrada, 7, Juan Bollini, 5, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, 1.

NOH Foods of Hawaii (13): Ray Noh, 1, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Lucas Lalor, 5, Stuart Armstrong, 3.

Tonkawa (13): Jeff Hildebrand, 0, Tincho Merlos, 9, Jimmy Seward, 3, Michael Payne 1.

The inaugural Carbondale Classic is named after the town of Carbondale, where Aspen Valley Polo Club is located. The picturesque town is located 170 miles west of Denver and 14 miles from Aspen in the heart of Colorado’s breathtaking central Rocky Mountains, resting in the shadow of the 12,953-foot Mount Sopris.

Juan Bollini. File photo
The past summer polo tournament winners include: Los Amigos Red (Paul Foster, Carlitos Gracida, Julio Novillo Astrada, Gabriel Gracida), Rocky Mountain Open; Steta Polo Team (Guillermo Steta, Brian Boyd/Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Carlitos Gracida), Mount Sopris Cup; ChukkerTV (Lucas Lalor, Carlitos Gracida, Juan Bollini), ChukkerTV Arena Challenge; Travieso (Paul Foster, Tony Calle, Teo Calle, Alex Gooding) and Los Amigos (Alejandra Foster, Brian Boyd, Alejandro Poma, Stewart Armstrong), High Alpine Cup; Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Teo Calle, Tincho Merlos, Jimmy Seward), Emma Challenge; La Karina (Brian Boyd, Tony Calle, Julio Novillo Astrada, Stewart Armstrong), Basalt Handicap; Travieso (Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Lucas Lalor, Carlitos Gracida), Craig Sakin Memorial; Travieso (Alex Gooding, Teo Calle, Sebastian Merlos, Brian Boyd), ChukkerTV Challenge Cup; and Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi/Secundo Merlos, Sebastian Merlos, Carlitos Gracida), Independence Cup arena polo final.

Aspen Valley Polo Club also hosted the USPA National Arena Chairman’s Cup Championship won by Aspen Valley Polo Club (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor); USPA-NTYS qualifier won by The Polo School (Nikko Ramirez/Rufino Merlos, Riley Ganzi, Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi); inaugural Family Traditions St. Regis Polo Cup (Juan Bollini, Nacho Figueras, Juancito Bollini, Hilario Figueras) inaugural Pony Club Day and Charity Day to benefit the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest and nation’s fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs with a membership increase of 75 percent since last season. The club also enjoyed its biggest crowds this season.

Padrons had the chance to play alongside some of the world’s top players including brothers Sebastian and Tincho Merlos, Nic Roldan and Julio Novillo Astrada.

Julio Novillo Astrada. Photo by ChukkerTV
Polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly tournaments, Gladiator Arena Polo, Kids Polo and The Polo School at the club owned by Marc and Melissa Ganzi since 2014, in addition to practice sessions for teams competing in the weekend tournaments.

ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, has been live streaming the 2016 summer season and now shifts its focus to this weekend’s East Coast Open in Greenwich, Conn. that begins Saturday.