Aspen Valley Polo Club Season Gets Under Way This Week
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
The much-anticipated summer polo season begins this week at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
With a breathtaking mountain backdrop, some of the world’s best polo players including American player Nic Roldan will compete.
Roldan, one of the top-rated players at eight goals, is one of the sport’s most well-known and popular players. At 15, he was the youngest player to compete and win the U.S. Open.
“That’s what kick-started my career in polo, playing in the U.S. Open at an early age,” Roldan said. “My biggest goal now is to reach 10 goals. That’s the ultimate thing for me.”
Roldan is expected to be rated at 9 and eventually 10 goals.
Roldan will be joined by several other players including former Argentine 8-goaler Juan Bollini and rising young stars Lucas Lalor and Carlitos Gracida, who will compete throughout the season at one of the nation’s fastest-growing polo clubs.
The Aspen Valley Polo Club summer season begins Wednesday with weekly arena polo at 4:30.
The Independence Cup, the first of eight summer tournaments, kicks off the season on Thursday. Individual games are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, both at 11 a.m., at the Sopris Mountain Ranch.
The final is Sunday at Aspen Valley Polo Club at 3 p.m.
Chukker TV will live stream a July 4th special preview show on Saturday at 5 p.m. and the championship final on Sunday.
Six tournaments held last year return along with two new events for the 2015 season. The July 21-26 Basalt Handicap and July 28-Aug 2 Emma Challenge have been added to this year’s schedule.
The full schedule is July 2-5: Independence Cup; July 8-12, ChukkerTV Challenge; July 14-19, Craig Sakin Memorial; July 21-26, Basalt Handicap; July 28-Aug. 2 Emma Challenge; Aug. 5-9, Louis Vuitton Cup; Aug. 14-16 Mount Sopris Cup; and Aug. 12-23 Rocky Mountain Cup.
“This year we decided to incorporate all of the tournaments that we had last year and add the Basalt Handicap and Emma Challenge,” Melissa Ganzi said. “We have a nice history of tournaments that we have already started and we look forward to the new ones. We were really pleased with last season and we look forward to this year.”
In August 2014, polo players Marc and Melissa Ganzi opened the Aspen Valley Polo Club to rave reviews. Both co-own the club and its sister polo club Grand Champions in Wellington, Fla. and have played a key role in the sport’s growth.
Marc Ganzi, club president and delegate, grew up in Aspen. His father Wally played polo and had a ranch in Rifle, where Ganzi first learned to ride.
“The Aspen community has embraced the club and really had a wonderful time last year,” Ganzi said. “People were surprised how much fun it was.”
Several of Grand Champions patrons and players will play at Aspen Valley Polo Club including Cesar Gueikian, whose Melody Capital polo team competed at Grand Champions during the spring season.
Chukker TV, the leaders in polo broadcasting, will live stream the entire schedule including the prestigious Louis Vuitton Cup and Rocky Mountain Cup, which attracted huge crowds.
In addition, Chukker TV’s Summer Tour, a 12,000-mile cross country trip featuring several U.S. Polo Association tournaments at various U.S. clubs including Saratoga, returns for the second consecutive year.
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.
Aspen Valley Polo Club, one of the nation’s fastest-growing clubs, offers polo in the summer for players and spectators. Lessons are available for all levels and ages including junior and youth players. There are great field side views for tournament action. Everyone is welcome to watch polo in a relaxed atmosphere. Admission and parking are free.