The Champagne, Caviar & Chukkers fundraiser at Aspen Valley Polo Club in Carbondale, Colorado, raised $366,000 for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation. The fundraising event held during the August 13, Mount Sopris Cup was a winning combination with the sport of polo for the hospital in the midst of raising much-needed funding for its third phase of a four-phase master facilities project.
The sold-out crowd of more than 600 enjoyed a lavish four course menu prepared by Caribou Club Catering of Aspen. With white-glove service and impeccable attention to detail in the VIP tent, tables fetched from $10,000 to $50,000. While watching the subsidiary and final, which Travieso won, guests enjoyed gazpacho, shrimp and asparagus cocktail, sea bass, decadent desserts, roving caviar cart and bottomless champagne.
The highlight of the day was the live auction. Guest auctioneer John Sarpa, the vice chairman of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation Board, served as emcee and auctioneer. Sarpa directed lively bidding between matches on items such as a package to the invitation only Masters Golf Tournament at the hallowed Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, and an on-location painting of the polo match by Carbondale-based artist Marcel Kahhak.
In addition to the live auction items and paddle raise, the day also featured the auctioning off of the subsidiary game winning La Karina players. The crowd was thoroughly entertained as Sarpa showed off Brian Boyd’s muscles with help from the club’s Polo School Director Juan Bollini. Bollini, an Argentine former 8-goaler, earned the highest player bid of $10,000 offering two polo lessons at the club.
The event attracted several sponsors including title sponsors Nancy and Richard Rogers and Chukker Lounge sponsors Corrine and Lenny Sands.
Other dine by design, silent auction, and event sponsors were: Ajax Tavern, Amen Wardy, Andi Le Designs, Aspen Branch, Aspen Club, Aspen Film, Aspen Lash Bar, Aspen Meadows Resort, Aspen Music Festival and School, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen Valley Hospital Medical Staff, Bethel Party Rental, Beverly Hills Caviar, Breckenridge Distillery, Caribou Club, City Market, Clark’s Market, Dolce & Gabbana, Elliott Yeary Gallery, Fiji Water, Dr. Peter Fodor, Ghiorsi & Sorrenti, Gorsuch, Haselden Construction, Jay’s Valet, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Jet Marketing, Jitrois Aspen, Joy West, Kahhak Fine Arts, Anne L. Kaplan, Limelight Hotel, Lugano Diamonds, Maison Ullens, Meridian Jewelers, Dr. Christina Miller, Modern Luxury/Aspen Peak Magazine, Moncler, Museum of Contemporary Art, ChiNina McLemore, Nuages, O2:Aspen, Chef Martin Oswald, Paradise Bakery, Robert Campbell Fine Portraiture, Red Spa, Corrine & Leonard Sands, Stick & Ball, St. Regis Aspen, Sharon and Todd Thaden, Theatre Aspen, Theory, Tucker & Marks, Dr. Andrew Turchin, Valentina Kova, Dana and Michael Werner and Whole Foods.
The event was hosted by several well-known Aspen residents and community leaders who contributed greatly to the event’s success. They were: Pam Alexander, Dawn Arnall, Jody Cooper, Marilyn and Chuck Frias, Lacy Fyrwald, Melissa and Marc Ganzi, Alex Halperin, Kimberly Higgins, Dale Hower, Lexie and Robert Potamkin, Julie and Dave Ressler, Sally Sakin, Jan and John Sarpa, Bari and Eric Stahl, Dana and Michael Werner, Regina Yunami and Les Fraser.
In addition to the auctions, there were also pony rides, kids activities, various vendor tents and live aerial silks performance by Allie Azzaro, daughter of Amy and Mike Azzaro, a Hall of Famer and former 10-goal rated player.
The Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, now entering its fifth year, is a non-profit solely focused on encouraging philanthropic support for the current and future needs of Aspen Valley Hospital. Deborah Breen was named the foundation’s first president in January 2013. She had worked in the philanthropic field for 17 years.
“It was a great event,” Breen said. “Melissa is a special friend. Last year we had a community day to celebrate the 125th anniversary. We had a small, informal buffet and bar. Then we realized this event could have real legs and we could make something special because it was different and unique. Melissa said let’s go for it.”
The “small, informal” event turned into a large, high-end event with VIP seating. “It was a leap of faith, a build-it-and-they-will-come idea with tents and caterers,” said Breen. “We had a couple anchor donors that came on early and set the stage. We knew it was going to happen this year.”
Breen said the goal was to raise $200,000 and it ended up $166,000 over that goal for a total of $366,000. “It has untapped potential. We have a successful one under our belt that seems very well-received by the philanthropic community. We can really build on our success and look for sponsors to partner with us and make this a million dollar event.”
With over 75 physicians on the medical staff, Aspen Valley Hospital has specialty services in more than 25 areas, with the most visible service areas being emergency/trauma, orthopedics, cardiology, diagnostic imaging, surgical services, physical and occupational therapy, oncology and infusion, lab/pathology and maternity. Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation is a 501(c)(3) IRS designated organization that oversees all charitable giving to Aspen Valley Hospital.
The date for next year’s event is August 12, 2018. The new goal is to raise $1 million. Gifts can be made at supportaspenvalleyhospital.org or by mail to Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, 0401 Castle Creek Road, Aspen, Colorado 81611.