After two successful season-opening tournaments, the third week of the summer polo season gets under way Friday with the Craig Sakin Memorial Cup.
Two first round games are scheduled for Friday. La Katina, led by 9-goaler Sebastian Merlos, plays Casablanca at 11 a.m. at Sopris Mountain Ranch.
In the second game, Tonkawa plays Travieso at 3 p.m. at High Mesa Field.
The third annual tournament is named in honor of Craig Sakin, who passed away on Feb. 11, 2014 at age 52. Sakin, former president of the Homeowners’ Association of Sopris Mountain Ranch, was instrumental in helping Marc and Melissa Ganzi secure their first polo field.
Sakin was a wonderful supporter of horses and the community. The trophy has remained in the Sakin home.
With the breathtaking 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, the third of nine summer tournaments will be a family affair. Father and son Teo and Tony Calle will play for Travieso and Grant Ganzi of Casablanca will play against his parents Marc and Melissa Ganzi of La Katina.
The teams’ player lineups are:
Casablanca: Lauren Sherry, Grant Ganzi, Julio Novillo Astrada, Juancito Bollini.
La Katina: Melissa Ganzi, Brian Boyd, Sebastian Merlos, Marc Ganzi.
Tonkawa: Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Justo Saavedra, Stewart Armstrong.
Travieso: Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Lucas Lalor, Carlitos Gracida.
Travieso, coming off last Sunday’s ChukkerTV Challenge Cup victory, will try and defend its’ Craig Sakin Memorial title.
Last year the Travieso foursome of Teo Calle, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Stewart Armstrong tied La Karina (Melissa Ganzi, Brian Boyd, Mariano Gracida, Juan Bollini) 5-5 and defeated Mt. Sopris Ranch (Juancito Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Lucas Lalor), 4-3, in a round robin tournament to win in its Aspen Valley debut.
Travieso has been one of the most successful polo teams in its’ short history at Grand Champions in Wellington, Fla. and Aspen Valley Polo Clubs.
Aspen has become the “Hamptons of the West,” and has a rich history in polo for nearly forty years. A town, mountain and ski resort all rolled into one in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is fast becoming a polo destination and one of summer’s hottest tickets.
Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the nation’s fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs with an increase of 75 percent in membership since last season.
Polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly tournaments, Gladiator Arena Polo, Kids Polo and Polo School at the club owned by Marc and Melissa Ganzi since 2014. Both are avid players and patrons and “have put new life into polo” in the area according to local player Alex Gooding.
Chukker TV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire 2016 schedule including the prestigious Louis Vuitton Cup and Rocky Mountain Cup.