By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: Nick Tininenko for ChukkerTV
CARBONDALE, CO, August 16, 2021— On Sunday, NetJets defeated Sopris Mountain Ranch by a score of 8-4 to win the Mount Sopris Cup.
On Sunday, in the feature match of the day, Sopris Mountain Ranch (Lauren Sherry, Alex Gooding, Nacho Badiola, Tomacho Pieres) took on NetJets.
NetJets commanded the field from the start, with Pablo Spinacci putting the game’s first goal on the board just over four minutes into the match. Thirty seconds later, the whistle sounded for a timeout due to injury and Jack McClean substituted in for Lauren Sherry. At just under two minutes, Govinda Quish picked up a missed shot from Juan Bollini to score the second goal of the chukker. Leading by 2-0, NetJets’ Busch added two more goals for his team, with one on a Penalty 2, to advance their lead to 4-0 at the end of the second chukker. A minute and a half into the third chukker, Alex Gooding put Sopris Mountain on the board, but Busch converted a Penalty 3 and followed up with a goal from the field to keep NetJets firmly ahead. With nine seconds left on the clock, Alex Gooding got out in front and took the ball through the posts to end the half with NetJets leading 6-2.
Sopris Mountain Ranch gained ground in the fourth chukker, with Nacho Badiola and Gooding contributing goals while the team played a strong defense to keep NetJets from scoring. The fifth period started with NetJets still in the lead at 6-4. Sopris Mountain Ranch again failed to make it onto the scoreboard while Busch and Spinacci added two more goals to give NetJets an 8-4 lead. Play was more evenly matched in the final chukker, with both teams running to little effect. NetJets captured the title 8-4. Gussie Busch was named MVP while Silver Peak, ridden by Pablo Spinacci and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, took the honor as Best Playing Pony.
In the Mount Sopris subsidiary match, Rancho Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Michael Payne, Sugar Erskine, and Nacho Novillo Astrada) met White Claw (Alejandra Foster, Vinny Sangaline, Charlie Chambers, and Gonzalito Pieres). White Claw took an early lead with Alejandra Foster and Charlie Chambers putting their team on the board. The second period began 2-0, and Alejandra Foster took another ball through to extend her team’s lead to 3-0. Michael Payne scored two consecutive goals for Rancho Los Amigos to narrow White Claw’s advantage to 3-2. Paul Foster scored the first goal in the third chukker, with Chambers contributing another for White Claw. Paul Foster scored an equalizer to tie the match 4-4 at the half.
Los Amigos got off to a bad start in the second half, ffooted start to the second half, allowing McClure River’s Vinny Sangaline to break the tie. Chambers added another goal to put White Claw back in the lead by 6-4. With White Claw leading going into the pentultimate chukker, they hoped to maintain their advantage. However, Los Amigos fought hard to take the lead and keep White Claw off the board. Paul Foster scored the first goal of the period to gain on the team in grey, while Payne contributed a pair of back-to-back goals to take the lead at 7-6. However, the team in blue lost their momentum while Sangaline and Alejandra Foster took the total on the board to 8-7 to win the match for White Claw.
The day saw another two matches in the two weeklong Rocky Mountain Open. With four teams participating, all the teams will play each other. Net goals, followed by gross goals, will determine which teams will meet in the final on August 22nd. On Friday, Tonkawa defeated McClure River Ranch by 11-6 in Game 1, while Casablanca beat La Karina by 8-4.
In yesterday’s Game 3, Casablanca (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, and Toro Ruiz) took the field against Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Nic Roldan, and Nacho Novillo Astrada). Tonkawa’s Nic Roldan drew first blood, but Gonzalito Pieres put Casablanca on the board. A goal by Jimmy Seward ended the period with Tonkawa in the lead by 2-1. The team in green took the lead to 4-1 with goals from Novillo Astrada and Roldan, but Toro Ruiz put another on the board to end the second period 4-2. In the third chukker, Ruiz took Casablanca up to 3, while Roldan found the goal again to end the half with Tonkawa in the lead by 5-3.
The second half started off well for Casablanca, with Marc and Gran Ganzi each converting a Penalty 2. Pieres scored from the field to take Casablanca up to 6, then Roldan scored the final goal of the chukker to tie the match at 6-all. In the fifth chukker, Grant Ganzi scored to take Casablanca to 7, but Roldan converted a Penalty 2 to keep things tied up at 7-all. Tonkawa went into the final chukker with a good head of steam, as Novillo Astrada, Roldan, and Jimmy Seward found the uprights to take Tonkawa up to 10. Casablanca was unable to gain much momentum, but Ruiz scored a final goal. Tonkawa prevailed by 10-8 with Nic Roldan named MVP.
In Game 4, McClure River Ranch (Stewart Armstrong, Sugar Erskine, Tomas Pieres, and Horacio Heguy) met La Karina (Brian Boyd, Pablo Spinacci, Nacho Figueras, and Alejandro Novillo Astrada). Brian Boyd put La Karina on the board with a Penalty 2 conversion, and Alejandro Novillo Astrada scored from the field to give La Karina two goals on the board. A foul sent Sugar Erskine to the line for a Penalty 3, and the period ended 2-1 for La Karina. Play was evenly matched in the second chukker, with La Karina’s Novilla Astrada and McClure River’s Tomas Pieres each finding the posts to end the period 3-2. McClure River Ranch stalled in the third chukker, while Boyd and Novillo Astrada racked up a goal each to end the half at 5-2 with La Karina firmly in the lead.\
McClure River Ranch came back with more energy in the fourth chukker, with Armstrong and Erskine each scoring. La Karina seemed to lose some steam and couldn’t penetrate McClure River’s defense to get on the board. Roles were reversed in the fifth chukker, as Pablo Spinacci converted success penalty shots on a Penalty 3 and Penalty 4. McClure River was awarded a goal on an infraction, but Boyd scored to end the period with La Karina in the lead by 9-5. Boyd took his team up to 10 in the final chukker. Despite McClure River’s best efforts and goals from Pieres and Erskine, La Karina took the match by a final score of 10-7. Brian Boyd was the high scoring player of the day with four goals.
2021 Aspen Valley Summer Polo Series
Rocky Mountain Open 8/9-8/22
The Carbondale Classic 8/18-8/22
World Polo League Triple Crown of Polo 8/25-8/28
Arena Tournaments & Asado – Tuesday Evenings
Kidz Uni-Wheel games during select tournament halftimes
Chukkers, Champagne, & Caviar
to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation
Sunday August 22, 2021