St. Regis White captured the second annual St. Regis Family Traditions Cup Saturday at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
The foursome of Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Juan Bollini led St. Regis Black (TJ Barrack, Hilario Figueras, Nacho Figueras, Tom Barrack) from start-to-finish to win the second annual game, 7-4.
The four-chukker game featured fathers and sons who share a love for the sport and horses.
Juancito Bollini, 21, a senior at Florida Atlantic University, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high four goals, playing well defensively and dominating the throw-ins.
“I think this game is a great idea,” Juancito Bollini said. “Polo is passed down through the generations. The majority of polo players today learned from their grandfathers and fathers.”
Bollini follows in the footsteps of his father Juan, a former 8-goaler, who was MVP in last year’s inaugural game.
Teammate Grant Ganzi is a third generation player. In addition to his father Marc, a top amateur, his grandfather Wally also played the game.
Javi, an 8-year-old dark bay stallion, ridden by Nacho Figueras was selected Best Playing Pony. The stallion was bred on Nacho Novillo Astrada’s breeding farm in Argentina and is owned by Wellington-based Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Juancito Bollini has been playing with the Ganzi family since he moved from Argentina in 2011. The chemistry among the foursome was evident from the game-opening throw-in that Juancito Bollini won.
Goals from Juan Bollini, Marc Ganzi and Juancito Bollini gave St. Regis White a 3-0 lead after the first chukker. While St. Regis Black shut them out, 1-0, in the second chukker, St. Regis White bounced back for a 5-2 lead in the third chukker and 7-2 early in the fourth. St. Regis Black found its offensive attack late in the fourth and final chukker when Nacho Figueras got hot and scored two goals.
BEST PLAYING PONY, JAVI.
“Going in I had a lot of confidence in our team that’s for sure,” Bollini said. “I think we played better because we had a little bit more of an understanding how to be positioned.”
Bollini said playing alongside his father has a special meaning.
“It’s amazing playing with my dad,” Bollini said. “He’s taught me a lot of what I know today. We’ve played multiple times in tournaments but when it’s a family tournament it’s a matter of pride and even more memorable.”
Both of Bollini’s sons, Juancito and Santos, have followed in their father’s footsteps.
“It took me a while, I didn’t like polo as much when I was younger,” Bollini admitted. “I had a lot of things in Argentina playing soccer, tennis and rugby. I didn’t get the opportunity to play as much as I do now. It’s something I never thought about like it is today.”
Bollini praised his second family, Marc and Melissa Ganzi, for giving him the opportunity to pursue his passion.
“I feel it’s a privilege 100 percent,” Bollini said. “I have to give a huge thanks to Marc and Melissa for the opportunity to play. I would like to make a career out of this and I feel I am building it right now.”
During halftime, aerial artist Allie Azzaro, the daughter of Mike and Amy Azzaro, performed an incredible aerial silks routine while hanging from a tree for the local crowd.
On Sunday, Juancito Bollini will team with Grant Ganzi once again on La Karina in the final of the Emma Challenge.
At 11 a.m. MST, Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Lauren Sherry, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) plays Los Amigos Red (Alejandra Foster, Lucas Lalor, Pablo Dorignac, Stewart Armstrong) in the subsidiary.
In the final at 1 p.m., La Karina (Brian Boyd, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Mike Azzaro) plays defending champion Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Marc Ganzi, Alex Gooding, Sapo Caset). It is the Aspen tournament debut of 10-goaler Caset.
The Emma Challenge is named after the town of Emma, Colo., located in Pitkin County on Highway 82 between Carbondale and Aspen. Emma, with an elevation of 6,608 feet, was once a sizable town in the past. The three buildings on the north side of the road are on the state historical preserve register.
The Emma Challenge is the fifth of 12 tournaments scheduled, eight grass and four arena tournaments including the Aug. 1-5 the United States Arena Handicap featuring six teams and top players Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Kris Kampsen, Pablo Dorignac and Mike Azzaro.
This season’s first four summer tournament winners were La Karina (Carlitos Gracida, Mariano Gracida, MVP Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi), Independence Cup; Tiburon (Collen Clark, Lauren Sherry, Pablo Dorignac, MVP Lucas Lalor), ChukkerTV Challenge Cup and Casablanca (MVPs Mariano Gracida, Grant Ganzi, Pablo Dorignac, Juancito Bollini), Basalt Handicap and Casablanca (Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini), Craig Sakin Memorial.
Aspen Valley Polo Club, the nation’s fastest growing USPA polo club, is coming off its most successful summer season in club history. The club, enjoying an increased membership, continues to grow and introduce polo throughout the valley.
The club annually attracts some of the world’s top pro and amateur players. This season’s pro lineup features Hall of Famer Mike Azzaro, a former 10-goaler for thirteen years and winner of eight U.S. Open titles.
In the last four years Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and hosting several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities including the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.
Polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding areas with the club’s offerings of various weekly tournaments, Gladiator Tuesdays and Asado, Kids Polo, indoor and outdoor arena polo, charitable events and The Polo School. Practice sessions are also held for teams competing in the weekend tournaments.
2017 SUMMER POLO SCHEDULE
The Emma Challenge, 11 a.m. subsidiary, Flexjet vs. Los Amigos Red; 1 p.m. final, Tonkawa vs. La Karina.
The United States Arena Handicap, Tuesday, Flexjet vs. Sopris Mountain Ranch, 4:30 p.m. MST, La Karina White vs. Audi, 5:30 p.m.;Aug. 3, Thursday, Flexjet-Sopris Mountain Ranch winner vs. La Karina Green, 11 a.m.; La Karina White-Audi winner vs. Aspen Valley Polo Club, noon; Aug. 5, Saturday, Final 11 a.m.
Aug. 4-6, High Alpine Cup
Aug. 8-15, Arena World Cup
Aug. 9, ChukkerTV Arena Challenge
Aug. 11-13, Mount Sopris Cup
Aug. 18-20, Rocky Mountain Open
Aug. 25-27, Carbondale Classic
ASPEN VALLEY POLO CLUB
CLUB ADDRESS: 3275 County Road 100, Carbondale, Colo. 81623