The club’s oldest tournament begins Friday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
By Sharon Robb
The Tackeria Invitational will feature Casablanca (Santos Bollini, 2, Grant Ganzi, 3, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Martin Jauregui, 6) and Aspen Valley (Govinda Quish, Sugar Erskine, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Jason Crowder, 5) competing Friday in a preliminary game at 4:45 p.m. The score will carry over into Sunday’s championship final at 10:15 a.m.
The Tackeria Invitational has a special place in club history as the inaugural tournament when the club first opened in 2007.
The Tackeria, founded in 1975 by Tony Coppola, carries one of the most complete selections of equestrian equipment in the world, importing goods from all over Europe, the Far East and South America to create the best selection of quality items for their customers. It’s located at the Saddle Club Shops, 13501 South Shore Boulevard, Suite 107, in Wellington.
In last year’s Tackeria Invitational, NetJets (Larry Austin, 0, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5) held off Travieso (Teo Calle, 1, Santos Bollini, 2, Tony Calle, 3, Sugar Erskine, 6) in the final chukker for a thrilling 10-9 victory. Hall of Famer Tommy Biddle was MVP.
The nation’s largest and most innovative polo club celebrating its 17th anniversary, is hosting both medium and high goal tournaments this season.
Among the season highlights are the Nov. 7-15 USPA North American Cup and Nov. 11-21 USPA National 20-Goal Championship and Nov. 18 doubleheader featuring the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and International Cup featuring GCPC USA putting its undefeated 11-game win streak on the line against Spain. Grand Champions is the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments in the fall.
In last year’s International Cup, GCPC USA won its 11th consecutive title with a 6-5 win over Switzerland. Tomas Ruiz Guinazu, 39, a member of the 2022 Swiss National Team, was named Most Valuable Player after dominating the game.
Since 2012, the U.S. has beaten England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil, Azerbaijan, France, Argentina twice and Switzerland in the annual battle for the coveted cup.
The fall medium goal schedule features six tournaments. In addition to this week’s Tackeria Invitational, the others are Oct. 17-22 Pedro Morrison Memorial, Oct. 24-29 Banyan Cup, Nov. 1-5 Fall Plates and inaugural Nov. 8-12 Casablanca Fall Cup.
The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, San Salvador, Switzerland, Spain, England, France, India, Mexico, Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, South Africa and United States.
The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player’s polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players. It’s also a great opportunity for players and sponsors to prepare for the winter season highlighted by the 26-goal World Polo League, now entering its sixth season at Grand Champions.
The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two medium tournament games every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 102-acre polo facility in Wellington with 212 stalls in nine self-contained barns, two exercise tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation, short work arena and stick-and-ball fields.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its well-manicured 11 fields during the fall season. Admission is free and open to the public.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV (CTV Sports) is live streaming the entire fall season worldwide. Grand Champions is the only USPA club that is live streaming all its games. ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and October through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.
Grand Champions Polo Club is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. For more information about the upcoming season visit www.gcpolo.com.