Rocky Mountain Open

Hawaii Polo Life Wins Rocky Mountain Open At Aspen Valley Polo Club; Juan Bollini Named MVP

By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club

In front of a large crowd, family and friends, Aspen Valley Polo Club ended the summer season Sunday with the Rocky Mountain Open.

The nation’s fastest growing polo club enjoyed its most successful season with several new sponsors, players, events and visiting teams including Valiente and Travieso.

Winning team Hawaii Polo Life teammates Melissa Ganzi, MVP Juan Bollini, Chris Dawson and Mariano Gracida. Photo by Louisa Davidson

Hawaii Polo Life, making its 2015 debut, captured the Rocky Mountain Open title with a thrilling 7-6 victory over FlexJet on Mariano Gracida’s game-winner in the final chukker.

Lucas Lalor of FlexJet works the ball out of a crowd. Photo by Louisa Davidson

Hawaii Polo Life (Melissa Ganzi, Chris Dawson, Mariano Gracida, Juan Bollini) turned back FlexJet’s (Carlitos Gracida, Lucas Lalor, Riley Ganzi, Stewart Armstrong) second half comeback after getting shut out for two chukkers in the first half.

MVP Juan Bollini of Hawaii Polo Life zeroes in on the ball. Photo by Louisa Davidson

Bollini, a former 8-goaler from Argentina, was named Most Valuable Player. Bollini was a steadying influence on his team and had some outstanding defensive plays to preserve the victory.

Dawson and Mariano Gracida led scoring with three goals each and Ganzi added one goal. For FlexJet, Lalor had a team-high three goals, Armstrong had two and Carlitos Gracida added one.

Melissa Ganzi of Hawaii Polo Life controls the ball during her drive to goal. Photo by Louisa Davidson

Last season Ganzi and Bollini captured the same title with Longfield Farm.

In another thrilling game, La Karina defeated Los Amigos, 8-7.

Carlitos Gracida of FlexJet hits the ball downfield. 
Photo by Louisa Davidson

La Karina (Brian Middleton, Brian Boyd, Jared Shelton, Grant Ganzi), leading 6-3 at the half, also had to hold off a late rally by Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Oscar Bermudez, Alejandro Gonzalez, Gabriel Gracida).

It was the tenth tournament of the summer season and one of the most fun, celebrating the season-finale with a DJ, music and food and refreshments.

Riley Ganzi of FlexJet drives downfield with the ball. 
Photo by Louisa Davidson

“It was a super day,” said Ganzi, who returned to her family’s Wellington, Fla. home to prepare for the fall season at Grand Champions Polo Club, sister club to Aspen Valley Polo Club. “It was lots of fun with great music and happy people.”

Juan Bollini of Hawaii Polo Life and Carlitos Gracida of FlexJet battle for the ball. Photo by Louisa Davidson

During the 2015 season, Melody Polo Team won the first two tournaments–Independence Cup and ChukkerTV Challenge; Aspen Valley Polo Team won the Aspen Valley Cup I; Travieso won the Craig Sakin Memorial; La Karina won the Basalt Handicap Cup and Aspen Valley Cup II; KIG captured the Emma Challenge; Audi won the inaugural ChukkerTV Arena Challenge Cup; FlexJet won the Louis Vuitton Cup; and Valiente captured the Mount Sopris Cup.

Polo ponies waiting for their grooms. Photo by Louisa Davidson

ChukkerTV, the leaders in polo broadcasting, live-streamed eight of the club’s tournaments.

ChukkerTV is in the midst of its second annual Summer Tour, a 13,000-mile cross country trip featuring several U.S. Polo Association tournaments including the East Coast Open at Greenwich (Ct.) Polo Club through Sept. 6. ChukkerTV is live streaming all the preliminary matches and semifinals.

A good crowd gathered for the season-finale at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
 Photo by Louisa Davidson

ChukkerTV, an independent media company, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club, where it was well-received for its cutting-edge technology and ability to promote the sport to a larger audience and continues to build and improve its technology.

Trophy table for the Rocky Mountain Cup. Photo by Louisa Davidson