Countdown Begins for Summer Polo Season At Aspen Valley Polo Club
Aspen Valley Polo Club, the world’s destination spot for summer polo, is preparing for the upcoming summer season.
By Sharon Robb
Photos by Nick Tininenko
With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, polo returns to Aspen July through September with a record thirteen tournaments.
The season opens Sunday, July 3 with the traditional Independence Cup.
Other summer tournaments are ChukkerTV Cup, Craig Sakin Memorial, Basalt Handicap, Emma Challenge Cup, High Alpine Cup, Mount Sopris Cup, Rocky Mountain Open, Carbondale Classic, Triple Crown of Polo-Aspen, Silver Queen Invitational, Maroon Bells Cup and Ute Challenge.
The highlight of the season is the Aug. 28th Summer Polo Benefit for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation. Last year’s event raised more than $500,000 after a year’s hiatus because of the pandemic. It is the club’s summer marquis event and one of the city’s most anticipated social summer events.
Wellington, Fla.-based ChukkerTV will live stream the entire 2022 polo season Mountain Standard Time with announcer Dale Schwetz calling the action.
The family-friendly club welcomes spectators. All matches, food and refreshments are free and open to the public.
Last summer Aspen Valley Polo Club finished a successful and historic season in club and Rocky Mountain Circuit history.
The 2021 tournament champions were: Independence Cup, La Karina (Nic Roldan, Marc Ganzi, Brian Boyd, Sugar Erskine); Chukker TV Challenge Cup, NetJets (Michael Payne, Alex Gooding, Sugar Erskine, Nacho Figueras); Craig Sakin Memorial, Casablanca (Lauren Sherry, Alex Gooding, Torito Ruiz, Grant Ganzi); Basalt Handicap Cup, Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Grant Ganzi, Torito Ruiz, Jimmy Seward); Emma Challenge, Rancho Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Juan Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Gussie Busch); High Alpine Cup, Santa Rita (Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Alejandra Foster, Lauren Sherry, Tomacho Pieres); Mount Sopris Cup, NetJets (Juan Bollini, Gussie Busch, Govinda Quish, Pablo Spinacci); Rocky Mountain Open, Casablanca (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Torito Ruiz); Carbondale Classic, White Claw (Waqaas Al-Siddiq, Vinny Sangaline, Gonzalito Pieres, Nacho Badiola); WPL Triple Crown of Polo-Aspen, Tonkawa (Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hildebrand, Gonzalito Pieres, Juan Bollini); and Silver Queen Invtational, NetJets (Brian Boyd, Juan Bollini, Nacho Figueras, Pablo Spinacci).
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 on more than six world-class fields. There are also indoor and outdoor polo arenas.
“I think the club will continue to flourish and it will continue to grow,” Marc Ganzi said. “It is a sport that has a lot of tradition and has a lot of history. I think we are sort of writing our own history in the Aspen valley.”
Aspen was founded as a silver mining town in the 1800s and was named for the abundance of aspen trees growing in the area and famous for their tall, thin trunks and golden leaves. Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards recognized Aspen as the No. 1 Small City in the U.S.
The Polo School for all ages and ability levels operates in Carbondale July through September. The first lesson is free and polo scholarships are offered. For more information on tournaments or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.
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, water rafting, swimming, fly fishing and golf.
2022 Aspen Valley Polo Club Schedule
Independence Cup 7/3
ChukkerTV Cup 7/6 – 7/10
Craig Sakin Memorial 7/13 – 7/17
Basalt Handicap 7/20 – 7/24
Emma Challenge Cup 7/27 – 7/31
High Alpine Cup 8/3 – 8/7
Mount Sopris Cup 8/10 – 8/14
Rocky Mountain Open 8/12 – 8/21
The Carbondale Classic 8/19-8/21
Triple Crown of Polo – Aspen 8/24-8/28
Silver Queen Invitational 8/31 – 9/4
Maroon Bells Cup TBD
Ute Challenge TBD
Arena Tournaments & Asado – Tuesday Evenings
Kidz Uni-Wheel games during select tournament halftimes
Summer Polo Benefit
for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation
Sunday August 28, 2022