Flexjet Wins Season-Finale At Aspen Valley Polo Club; Bollini Named Game MVP; Armstrong Season MVP
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
Aspen Valley Polo Club, the nation’s fastest growing polo club, ended its’ most successful season in club history this past weekend.
Flexjet captured the season-finale Carbondale Classic on Sunday with wins over Tonkawa and NOH Foods of Hawaii, making its’ team sponsor debut.
Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi/Jeff Wood, Julio Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs) defeated Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Tincho Merlos, Jimmy Seward, Michael Payne), 4-3, and NOH Foods of Hawaii (Ray Noh, Carlitos Gracida, Lucas Lalor, Stewart Armstrong), 6-4. In the other round robin game, NOH Foods edged Tonkawa, 5-4.
Former Argentine 8-goaler Juan Bollini was named Most Valuable Player. In the final three chukkers, Bollini scored two goals to give Flexjet a 6-2 lead and played well defensively to shut down NOH Foods of Hawaii’s rally.
“It’s been a great season here at beautiful Aspen Valley Polo Club,” Bollini said. “It is a beautiful place to play and the community has been wonderful supporting polo and the club.
“This has been a great season with great players and horses. Marc and Melissa Ganzi have done a great job here promoting polo and teaching the kids. The club and sport is growing every day, every year.”
Stewart Armstrong was selected as Aspen Valley Polo Club’s Most Valuable Player for the season. Armstrong, a member of two winning teams this seasons, was one of the most consistent players during the season.
Kit Kat, a 5-year-old Bay mare owned by Wellington-based Santa Rita Polo Farm and played by Lalor, was named Best Playing Pony.
It was the most competitive summer polo season in club history attracting some of the world’s top pro and amateur players including brothers Sebastian and Tincho Merlos, Nic Roldan, Julio Novillo Astrada, Nacho Figueras, Brian Boyd, Teo Calle and Jeff Hildebrand during the 10-week season.
This summer’s other tournament winners were: 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), Charity Day to benefit the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation and inaugural Pony Club Day.
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.
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.
The Ganzis are avid players and patrons and “have put new life into polo” in the area according to local player Alex Gooding. Several players, sponsors and community leaders echoed Gooding’s sentiments.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, live streamed the 2016 summer season and now is live streaming the USPA East Coast Open in Greenwich, Conn.
ASPEN VALLEY POLO CLUB
CLUB ADDRESS: 3275 County Road 100, Carbondale, Colo. 81623
POLO HOTLINE: 970-710-1663