By Sharon Robb
Photos by Bruce Yeung, IG: @yeungphotography
The nation’s fastest growing polo club won an unprecedented sixth title Saturday at the 10th annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships presented by Talking Stick Resort in front of a large crowd at The Polo Fields at WestWorld.
The team of Grant Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini defeated La Mariposa Argentina Polo Club (Martin Morey/Keri McKeone, Mariano Darritchon, Jared Shelton), 9-6, to win the coveted Molina Cup in the featured match.
Melissa Ganzi scored four goals, all from the field, and was named Most Valuable Player.
It was the second consecutive tournament mother and son won in three weeks. Along with teammates Nacho and Delfina Blaquier, the foursome won the Oct. 2 Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Will Rogers Historic Park in Los Angeles. Melissa Ganzi scored a game-high six goals.
“It’s always fun to play with my mom,” said Grant Ganzi, Brand Ambassador for Casablanca, who also scored four goals, all on penalty shots including a 60-yarder. “It’s nice to always play with her and even against her.”
Trailing by two goals at the half, Aspen Valley Polo Club rallied in the second half. Starter Nic Roldan, injured while hiking in the mountains, was unable to play in the second chukker and was replaced by Bollini.
“There was no panic,” Ganzi said. “Nic’s ankle wasn’t doing very well and he felt he couldn’t continue. We had a veteran in Juan Bollini coming out there. He knew how to regroup us and we played well once we talked it out.
“I knew the game wasn’t going to be easy. It was tough. It was three-on-three and a little different.”
Aspen Valley Polo Club was sponsored by Edmiston & Company, founded by Chairman Nicholas Edmiston in 1996. The most recognizable brand in the yachting world, Edmiston is one of the world’s most successful and respected yacht brokerage companies. With offices in London, Monaco, New York, Newport and Mexico City, Edmiston is a company synonymous with revolutionizing yacht marketing.
Aspen Valley Polo Club’s sister club Grand Champions Polo Club, based in Wellington, Fla., with KC Schmeits, Vinny Sangaline and Juan Bollini also came up big with a 7-3 victory over Bogota (Diego Flores, Robert Herrero, Andres Camacho). Bollini scored five goals, including three penalty shots, and Sangaline added two goals.
In other games: Arizona Polo Club (Abi Slater, Vinay Bangalore, Alejandro Pompo) defeated Medellin Polo Club (Courtney Parker/Natalia Camacho, Felipe Ochoa, Stephen Bentz, Emilio Urrea), 11-5; and Santa Fe, New Mexico (Jerome Drake, John Welsh, Jared Sheldon) defeated Jet Set Polo (Julia Kline, Leigh Medaris, Dayella Fargey), 6-5.
Aspen Valley Polo Club has left its mark on the nation’s largest polo event.
In November 2019, Aspen Valley Polo Club (Melissa Ganzi, Nacho Figueras, Grant Ganzi) won its’ fifth title with a 7-5 victory over Royal Berkshire Country Polo Club (Charlie Wooldridge, Roy Prisk, Jamie Morrison). Grant Ganzi was MVP.
The most attended polo event in the United States is one of the most extravagant outdoor sports spectacles in not only Arizona but the United States and has helped increase polo’s exposure and popularity.
“I think anything that gains traction for the sport and brings more eyes or more views in today’s world with digital and social media is good for the sport,” Ganzi said.
The sport of polo is always the centerpiece of The Polo Party. Event founder and Scottsdale public relations executive Jason Rose continues to raise the event’s bar every year since he started it in 2011 and this year was no exception.
“I hadn’t played in front of a crowd like that in a while,” Ganzi said. “It was a great event. I was happy to be out there and happy to play. I had a fun time playing in front of a fun crowd. They did a really good job this year.”
In addition to the polo, fans enjoyed the inaugural Morning Beer Festival featuring the best beers; the Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita, with a value of nearly $5 million and formerly owned by world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather of Miami; the Canine Couture Dog Fashion Show presented by Lugari Pet Salon, the World’s Longest Catwalk Fashion Show produced by Phoenix Fashion Week, a zipline at the entrance, a preview of Barrett-Jackson’s 2022 Scottsdale Auction and performances by the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.
This past summer, Aspen Valley Polo Club finished another successful and historic season in club and Rocky Mountain Circuit history. With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club has become the world’s destination spot for summer polo.
Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi resurrected the club and polo in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Arena & Asado Nights, Kidz Polo, Kids Wheely Polo, The Polo School headed by former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, and Polo On Demand. In addition, the club offers practice sessions for teams competing in the club tournaments.