Travieso Makes Summer Debut As Mount Sopris Cup Begins Friday At Aspen Valley Polo Club

CARBONDALE, Colo., August 10, 2023–Travieso, making its summer polo debut, will be among five teams competing in the Mount Sopris Cup this weekend at Aspen Valley Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

The seventh tournament of the summer polo season will also feature last weekend’s winner Mountain Chevrolet, Tonkawa, ST8 and Santa Rita.

With the breath-taking 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as the perfect backdrop, the Mount Sopris Cup, one of eleven tournaments the club is hosting in July and August with an exciting array of players, opens Friday at High Mesa with a qualifying round robin and regulation game.

At 10 a.m., Travieso, Tonkawa and Mountain Chevrolet will play a nine-chukker round robin. At 1:45 p.m., ST8 plays Santa Rita. On Sunday, winners advance into the final at 11 a.m. followed by a subsidiary round robin.

Team rosters for the Mount Sopris Cup are:
Travieso (18): Teo Calle, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3, Nic Roldan, 8, Martin Jauregui, 6.

Mountain Chevrolet (16) Michael Payne, 1, Vinny Sangaline, 1, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8.

Santa Rita (15): Melissa Ganzi, Hilario Figueras, 5, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7, Juan Bollini, 3.

ST8 (15): Dominic State, 2, Jason Crowder, 5, Suger Erskine, 6, Stewart Armstrong, 2.

Tonkawa (17): Jeff Hildebrand, 1, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Gonzalito Pieres, 9, Marc Ganzi 1.

Saturday will be another big day starting at 10 a.m. with the Kidz Gymkhana at the Carbondale Rodeo. At 11 a.m. the Just For The Love Of It Cup will pit WPL Red against WPL Purple.

In last season’s Mount Sopris Cup, La Karina (Lauren Sherry, Brian Boyd, Torito Ruiz, Tomacho Pieres) led from start to finish for a thrilling 9-8 victory over NetJets (Melissa Ganzi, Vinny Sangaline, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini).

The Mount Sopris Cup is named after the majestic 12,965-foot-tall, twin-summited Mount Sopris that dominates Aspen Glen’s southern skyline and offers spectacular hiking, picnicking and camping opportunities.

Situated in the northwestern Elk Mountains Range of the Rockies, Aspen Glen residents enjoy views of this stunning mountain and have easy access to its many features.

The 2023 season has attracted some of the world’s top pro players including Martin Jauregui, making his Aspen debut; Gonzalito Pieres, Juan Martin Nero, Nic Roldan, Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Tomacho Pieres, Nacho Figueras, Hilario Figueras, Sugar Erskine, Pablo Spinacci, Jason Crowder and Grant Ganzi, as well as world-class horses.

The highlight of the season is the August 27th Summer Polo Charity Classic, benefitting the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation. It is the club’s summer marquis event and one of the city’s most anticipated social summer events. The event has raised $3 million since it began in 2016 including $1 million last year.

Other summer tournaments are the Rocky Mountain Open, Carbondale Classic, Triple Crown of Polo-Aspen and Silver Queen Invitational.

Six 2023 champions have already been crowned.

Victory Polo (Becky Schmeits, Grant Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) won the Independence Cup with a 4-3 win over Mountain Chevrolet (Riley Ganzi/Santos Bollini, Michael Payne, Nic Roldan, Jimmy Seward).

In the ChukkerTV Cup final, Santa Rita (Melissa Ganzi, Tito Gaudenzi, 2, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7, Juan Bollini, 3) defeated Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, 3, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Martin Jauregui, 6), 9-7.

M.A.G. Polo (Govinda Quish, Dominic State, 2, Nic Roldan 8, Jason Crowder, 5) defeated NetJets (Santos Bollini, 2, Marc Ganzi, 1, Nacho Figueras 5, Hilario Figueras, 5), 8-7, to win the Craig Sakin Memorial.

NetJets (Ale Poma 1, Nacho Figueras, 3, Marc Ganzi, 1, Nic Roldan, 8) won the Basalt Handicap with an 11-8 win over ST8 (Melissa Ganzi, Dominic State, 2, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8, Juan Bollini, 3).

Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Hilario Figueras 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Stewart Armstrong, 2) won the Emma Challenge Cup with a 9-5 win over Los Amigos (Melissa Ganzi, Martin Jauregui, 6, Alejandro Novillo Astrada 7, Juan Boliini, 3).

Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, 1, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Hilario Figueras, 5, Martin Jauregui, 6) defeated NetJets (Santos Bollini, 2/Marc Ganzi, 1, Nacho Figueras, 5, Gonzalito Pieres, 9, Stewart Armstrong, 2), 12-9, to win the High Alpine Cup.

Last summer Aspen Valley Polo Club finished its most successful and historic season in club and Rocky Mountain Circuit history with a record 13 tournaments.

Wellington, Fla.-based ChukkerTV (CTV sports) will live stream the entire 2023 polo season Mountain Standard Time with announcer Dale Schwetz calling the action. Aspen Valley Polo Club is the only USPA club live streaming its entire summer schedule.

The family-friendly club welcomes spectators. All matches, food and refreshments are free and open to the public.
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, Kids Polo, Kids Wheely Polo, Gymkhana, 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 on more than six world-class fields. There are also indoor and outdoor polo arenas.

The Polo School is for all ages and ability levels amd operates in Carbondale. For more information on tournaments or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or club manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.

Aspen Valley Polo Club caters 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.

When not playing or watching polo, there’s all kinds of outdoor activities in a true adventurer’s playground including hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, water rafting, swimming, fly fishing and golf.

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