By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
Audi captured the first arena polo tournament of the summer season this past week at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Audi (Melissa Ganzi, Jared Sheldon, Juan Bollini) dominated the inaugural ChukkerTV Arena Challenge Cup from start-to-finish.
Audi opened with a 10-6 victory over La Karina (Brian Boyd, Alejandro Gonzalez, Mariano Gracida) and followed up with an impressive 9-4 win over pre-tournament favorite KIG (Bash Kazi, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan).
KIG, led by Roldan, one of the world’s top players rated at eight goals, was coming off its Emma Challenge Cup victory.
In the other game, KIG defeated FlexJet (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor), 7-1.
In front of a worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Aspen Valley Polo Club players got the chance to compete in one of the nation’s top arena polo venues.
Jared Sheldon was named Most Valuable Player after scoring ten goals in the round-robin tournament. Snow White, a 6-year-old grey mare owned and played by Sheldon in the last chukker, was named Best Playing Pony.
In Audi’s 9-4 win over KIG, Sheldon led with five goals, Bollini added three and Ganzi scored one. In its 10-6 victory over La Karina, Sheldon had five goals and Bollini and Ganzi each scored two. Gonzalez led La Karina with four. In the KIG-FlexJet match-up, Roldan led scoring with four.
Fans, players and their families enjoyed an Argentine asado courtesy of Aspen Valley Polo Club.
The busy week of polo continues on Sunday with the featured game Louis Vuitton Cup final at 3 p.m.
The championship will pit FlexJet (Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini, Stewart Armstrong) against Team Mexico (Alejandro Gonzalez, Carlitos Gracida, Mariano Gracida, Guillermo Steta). Steta is making his 2015 Aspen Valley Polo Club season-debut.
In Thursday’s qualifying round robin at Sopris Mountain polo field, Grant Ganzi led all scoring with six goals. Carlitos Gracida was second leading scorer with five goals. FlexJet defeated Team Mexico, 4-3. Team Mexico bounced back to shut out KIG, 4-0. In the third game, FlexJet defeated KIG, 6-2.
Eight summer tournaments have been played at Aspen Valley Polo Club. In addition to Audi’s win this past week, 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 and KIG captured the Emma Challenge.
The remainder of the summer schedule is the Aug. 14-16 Mount Sopris Cup and Aug. 12-23 Rocky Mountain Cup.
ChukkerTV, the leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the club’s tournaments.
In addition to Aspen Valley Polo Club action, ChukkerTV’s Summer Tour, a 13,000-mile cross country trip featuring several U.S. Polo Association tournaments at various U.S. polo clubs including Oak Brook and Greenwich, is also under way.
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.