Travieso Wins Mount Sopris Cup; Martin Jauregui Named MVP

ravieso, making its summer polo debut at Aspen Valley Polo Club, held off Santa Rita to capture the Mount Sopris Cup.

By Sharon Robb

Travieso (Teo Calle, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3, Martin Jauregui, 6, Nic Roldan, 8) won the five-team tournament with a thrilling 9-8 victory over Santa Rita (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Hilario Figueras, 5, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7, Juan Bollini, 3) Sunday at McClure River Ranch in front of a good crowd.

“I think this has been the best thing to ever happen to us in a very long time, coming back to Aspen, which we consider to be our home almost,” Calle said. “We have been coming here for so many years and we love it. We really feel part of the polo community here.

“Hopefully, we are going to keep coming in the future and we are going to get to see more of everybody and the club. It’s a fantastic club and the fields are unbelievable. The people are gentlemen on the field, not only the patrons but also the pros and that is something that is very appreciative because that doesn’t happen always.”

For the second week in a row, Martin Jauregui was named Most Valuable Player for his outstanding play on both ends of the field. Yatay Plan B, played by Figueras in the third and fifth chukkers, was Best Playing Pony.

In the opening chukker, Travieso jumped out to a 3-1 advantage with goals from Calle, Roldan and Ganzi and never relinquished its lead. In the third chukker, Travieso shut out Santa Rita, 2-0, for a 6-2 halftime lead. Travieso outshot Santa Rita, 11-5 in the first half.

Santa Rita rallied in the second half, outscoring Travieso, 6-3, including 3-0 in the final chukker but ran out of time.

“My teammates are great,” Calle said. “They are incredible athletes and very supportive. They include everybody on the team. They don’t play by themselves. They include the sponsors in the game and help you to improve and that’s great.”

Travieso got balanced scoring from its lineup. Ganzi scored a team-high three goals and Calle, Jauregui and Roldan each had two goals. Travieso outshot Santa Rita, 18-15, for the game.

Figueras scored a game-high four goals for Santa Rita. Astrada had three goals and Ganzi added one.

Teo Calle also praised the work and dedication of club owners and players Melissa and Marc Ganzi.

“The job and hospitality that Marc and Melissa does make you feel in Aspen is beyond anything you can imagine, that definitely you will not find anywhere else in the world. My congratulations to them for a job incredibly well done.”

In the Just For The Thrill Of It, Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, 0, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Marc Ganzi, 1, Gonzalito Pieres, 9) won on gross goals. Tonkawa defeated Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, 1, Santos Bollini, 2, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8), 7-4, and tied ST8 (Dominic State, 2, Jason Crowder, 5, Sugar Erskine, 6, Stewart Armstrong, 2), 2-2. In the other match, ST8 defeated Mountain Chevrolet, 6-3.

The seventh tournament of the summer polo season featured hard fought qualifying round robin games at High Mesa and regulation game at McClure River Ranch on Friday. Travieso, Tonkawa and Mountain Chevrolet played a nine-chukker round robin with Travieso advancing with an impressive 6-2 win over Mountain Chevrolet and 7-4 win over Tonkawa.

During the third round robin game featuring Travieso and Tonkawa, Roldan, with the wind behind him and ball 10 yards behind the line, became the first player this season to hit a 2-pointer in a grass tournament. Jauregui has two in arena play.

In the regulation game, Santa Rita clinched the final with a 12-9 win over ST8. Astrada had five goals, including a 60-yarder, and Ganzi had four.

To finish off the Sunday Funday of polo, a Wheelie Exhibition featuring Inda Pieres, Fran Spinacci, Artemio Figueras and Silver Novillo Astrada entertained the crowd.

Saturday was another big day for the club with the Kidz Gymkhana at the Carbondale Rodeo and Just For The Love Of It Cup pitting WPL White against WPL Purple. World Polo League Purple jumped out to a 5-1 lead and won 6-3 with Aussie Nick Mathers, making his debut, scoring five goals.

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

Seven 2023 champions have now been crowned. In addition to Travieso, they are:

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.

Wellington, Fla.-based ChukkerTV (CTV sports) is live streaming 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.

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