AV-Sebastian-MerlosThe much-anticipated summer polo season begins on Sunday with the Independence Cup at Aspen Valley Polo Club.

With the breathtaking 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, some of the world’s best polo players will compete during the nine-tournament season that runs through August.

Argentine 9-goaler Sebastian Merlos, one of the sport’s all-time great players, will make his debut at Aspen Valley this summer. He will be joined later in the season by his brother Tincho Merlos, who is currently competing in England.

The summer polo season gets underway Sunday with the Independence Cup, a round-robin tournament at 11 a.m. featuring three teams along with a fun Kids’ Foot Mallet Exhibition.

The teams and player lineups are:

La Karina: Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi, Julio Novillo Astrada, Carlitos Gracida.

Casablanca: Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor, Stewart Armstrong.

Flexjet: Melissa Ganzi, Segundo Merlos, Sebastian Merlos, Alex Gooding.

Last season’s tournament champions were: Independence Cup, Melody Polo; ChukkerTV Challenge, Melody Polo; Craig Sakin Memorial, Travieso; Basalt Handicap, La Karina; Aspen Valley Polo Cup, La Karina; Emma Challenge, KIG Polo; Louis Vuitton Cup, Flexjet; ChukkerTV Arena Challenge, Audi; Mount Sopris Cup, Valiente; and Rocky Mountain Open, Hawaii Polo Life.

Aspen Valley Polo Club has been busy the last month putting the finishing touches on the club which includes another state-of-the-art barn. There are plans to build another championship field over the next three years.

Aspen has a rich history in polo for nearly forty years. The sport has increased in popularity with increase in team participation in the weekly tournaments, five-goal coaching league, the Polo School and arena polo at the club owned by Marc and Melissa Ganzi since 2014. Both are avid players and patrons.

Marc Ganzi grew up in Colorado. 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 horses.

There is something for everyone,” Marc Ganzi said. “There are so many people in Aspen excited about polo. It’s a lot like the Hamptons was 15 years ago. Our mission is to introduce the people of Aspen to polo and make it very accessible for them. Polo is about families, kids, playing with your friends and good barbecues.”

Chukker TV, leaders in worldwide polo broadcasting, will live stream the entire 2016 schedule including the prestigious Louis Vuitton Cup and Rocky Mountain Cup.

ChukkerTV was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., Aspen Valley’s sister club. It got rave reviews about its cutting-edge technology and ability to promote the sport to a larger audience. It continues to build and improve its technology.

July 3, Independence Cup, 11 a.m.
July 6-10, ChukkerTV Challenge
July 13-17, Craig Sakin Memorial
July 20-24, Basalt Handicap
July 27-31, Emma Challenge
Aug. 3-7, Louis Vuitton Cup
Aug. 10, ChukkerTV Arena Challenge
Aug. 12-14, Mount Sopris Cup
Aug. 10-21, Rocky Mountain Open

CLUB ADDRESS: 3275 County Road 100, Carbondale, Colo. 81623
POLO HOTLINE: 970-710-1663

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