Emma Challenge, USPA-NYTS Tournaments Highlight Weekend At Aspen Valley Polo Club
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
The halfway point of the summer polo season at Aspen Vallley Polo Club will feature the Emma Challenge and USPA National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) Tournaments.
The fifth medium goal tournament of the 10-tournament season has attracted five teams with top players and brothers Sebastian and Tincho Merlos, Julio Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan.
The two-day tournament gets under way Friday with two games. The opening game at 11 a.m. MST features Flexjet against Aspen Valley.
The second game at 3 p.m. MST at High Mesa Ranch will be a round-robin format between Tonkawa, Los Amigos and La Karina.
The winners of both games advance into Sunday’s final at 1 p.m. MST after the subsidiary final at 11 a.m. MST.
The five-team lineup is:
Aspen Valley: Ale Poma, Grant Ganzi, Julio Novillo Astrada, Juancito Bollini.
Flexjet: Melissa Ganzi/Marc Ganzi, Tony Calle, Nic Roldan, Alex Gooding.
La Karina: Paul Foster, Brian Boyd, Sebastian Merlos, Gabriel Gracida.
Los Amigos: Alejandra Foster, Carlitos Gracida, Lucas Lalor, Stewart Armstrong.
Tonkawa: Jeff Hildebrand, Teo Calle, Tincho Merlos, Jimmy Seward.
On Saturday at 11 a.m. MST at Sopris Mountain Ranch, fans can watch some of the top youth players compete in the USPA-NYTS qualifier event.
The Polo School Purple (Nikko Ramirez/Rufi Merlos, Riley Ganzi, Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi) will play The Polo School Green (Santos Merlos, Olivia Merlos, Segundo Merlos, Michael Calle).
The NYTS event is a series of youth tournaments around the country with the top representatives from each of the country’s four zones advancing into a finals match.
The Emma Challenge is named after the town of Emma, Colo., located on Highway 82 between Carbondale and Aspen.
Emma was once a sizable town in the past. The three buildings on the north side of the road are on the state historical register and scheduled to be preserved.
Last year KIG won the Emma Challenge in its’ Aspen debut. The team of Bash Kazi, Carlitos Gracida, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Matteo de Paolis defeated the Flexjet team of Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini and Stewart Armstrong, 5-4, and La Karina team of Melissa Ganzi, Brian Boyd, Mariano Gracida, Juan Bollini and Alejandro Gonzalez, 6-3, in round robin play. Florida Atlantic University student Juancito Bollini was named MVP.
The past four Aspen Valley tournament winners include: 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.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the 2016 schedule including the prestigious and longstanding Rocky Mountain Cup.
ASPEN VALLEY 2016 SUMMER SCHEDULE
Emma Challenge, Friday: Flexjet vs. Aspen Valley, Sopris Mountain Ranch, 11 a.m. MST; Tonkawa vs. Los Amigos vs. La Karina, High Mesa Ranch, 3 p.m. MST; Saturday: Featured Youth Polo Game, USPA-NYTS, Sopris Mountain Ranch, 11 a.m. Sunday: Subsidiary final, 11 a.m., Kids Foot Mallet Exhibition, Final, 1 p.m., Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Aug. 3-7, High Alpine Cup
Aug. 9, ChukkerTV Arena Challenge
Aug. 12-14, Mount Sopris Cup
Aug. 10-21, Rocky Mountain Open
Aug. 24-28, The Carbondale Classic