CARBONDALE, Colo., August 28, 2017---Aspen Valley Polo Club, the nation’s fastest growing polo club, ended its’ most successful season in club history this past weekend.
Travieso won its’ second tournament of the summer polo season capturing the season-finale Carbondale Classic on Sunday with an 11-8 victory over Casablanca, the club’s winningest team this season.
Travieso (Mike Azzaro, Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Carlitos Gracida) took control of the game early and never trailed against Casablanca (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Stewart Armstrong, Juancito Bollini) to win the five-team, two-day tournament.
Gracida was named Most Valuable Player for the game and Lucas Lalor, a member of three winning teams this season and one of the most consistent players, was selected Most Valuable Player for the eight-week season.
Adventura, purchased from Pablo Spinacci and ridden by Marc Ganzi, was Best Playing Pony.
Casablanca was forced to play catch-up for the entire game. Travieso jumped out to a 3-0 lead with penalty conversions from Teo Calle and Gracida, and goal from the field by Tony Calle.
Travieso took advantage of Casablanca’s broken plays and missed scoring opportunities. Travieso led 4-2 after two chukkers and 7-4 at halftime.
After a 2-2 fourth chukker, Travieso shut out Casablanca, 2-0, in the fifth. Casablanca held Travieso scoreless, 2-0, in the final chukker but could not rally.
“I think they had a little tough luck and it was just our day,” said Tony Calle. “We could tell they were getting a little frustrated.
“Whenever we had the opportunity we took advantage of every broken play,” Calle said. “Whenever we had a break, Carlitos and I would turn around and go to goal. My dad scored an impressive goal and the horses went really well. Carlitos has been playing really well. He is an amazing back and great horseman and deserved MVP.”
Calle is now headed back to South Florida for senior classes at Lynn University and fall season at Grand Champions Polo Club. After working with Sebastian Merlos in Argentina, Calle got the chance to play with and against Mike Azzaro in Aspen.
“You don’t get to play with a player like that every day,” Calle said. “Every time you get advice from him you keep your ears open. He is a very unselfish player and not afraid of doing the dirty work. He is a team player and makes every team he plays with better.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better summer,” Calle said. “I came here from Argentina not knowing what to expect. I made it to every final I could, winning three out of four.”
Father and son Teo and Tony Calle each scored four goals for Travieso. Gracida added two goals and Azzaro had one. Grant Ganzi led Casablanca with three goals, Bollini and Marc Ganzi each had two goals and Armstrong added one.
Juancito Bollini, 21, and Grant Ganzi, 19, finished with five tournament victories as teammates. Casablanca finished with three tournament wins, the most of any team during the summer season.
Defending tournament champion Flexjet won the subsidiary with wins over Los Amigos (Alejandra Foster, Lucas Lalor, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Paul Foster), 7-6, and Tonkawa/La Karina (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Ignacio Novillo Astrada, Brian Boyd), 4-3.
Flexjet’s Melissa Ganzi led scoring with a club-record eight goals in six chukkers of play. Paul Foster, Alex Gooding and Juancito Bollini were tied for the club record with seven goals.
In the opening three-chukker game, Tonkawa/La Karina defeated Los Amigos, 4-3.
The second annual Carbondale Classic is named after the town of Carbondale, where Aspen Valley Polo Club is located. The picturesque town is located 170 miles west of Denver and 14 miles from Aspen in the heart of Colorado’s breathtaking central Rocky Mountains, resting in the shadow of the 12,953-foot Mount Sopris.
It was the most competitive polo season in club history attracting some of the world’s top pro and amateur players including brothers Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Pablo Dorignac and legendary Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro.
This season’s ten tournament winners were:
La Karina (Carlitos Gracida, Mariano Gracida, Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi), Independence Cup.
Tiburon (Collen Clark, Lauren Sherry, Pablo Dorignac, Lucas Lalor), ChukkerTV Challenge Cup.
Casablanca (MVPs Mariano Gracida, Grant Ganzi, Pablo Dorignac, Juancito Bollini), Basalt Handicap.
Casablanca (Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini), Craig Sakin Memorial.
La Karina (Brian Boyd, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Mike Azzaro), Emma Challenge.
Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada), United States Arena Handicap.
Aspen Valley Polo Club (Alejandro Poma, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor), High Alpine Cup.
Travieso (Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Marc Ganzi), Mount Sopris Cup.
Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Tony Calle, Juancito Bollini, Stewart Armstrong), Rocky Mountain Open.
Travieso (Mike Azzaro, Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Carlitos Gracida), Carbondale Classic.
Aspen Valley Polo Club also hosted the United States Arena Handicap, won by Flexjet; St. Regis Family Traditions Cup won by St. Regis White; USPA National Youth Tournament Series qualifier won by Sopris Mountain Ranch; and the successful Champagne, Caviar & Chukkers fundraiser during the Mount Sopris Cup that raised $366,000 for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation in front of a record crowd of more than 600.
Aspen Valley Polo Club is the nation’s fastest growing USPA polo club. The club, which recently broke ground for two more fields, enjoyed increased membership and large crowds while introducing polo throughout the valley.
The club attracted some of the world’s top pro and amateur players.In the last four years Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and hosting several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities including the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.
The club offered various weekly tournaments, Gladiator Tuesdays and Asado, Kids Polo, indoor and outdoor arena polo, charitable events and The Polo School. Practice sessions were also held for teams competing in weekend tournaments.
Action returns to Aspen for the Dec. 14-17 World Snow Polo Championships.
ASPEN VALLEY POLO CLUB
CLUB ADDRESS: 3275 County Road 100, Carbondale, Colo. 81623
POLO HOTLINE: 970-710-1663
The exclusive Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the nation’s fastest-growing polo clubs. It offers polo in the summer for players and spectators. The Polo School is available to adults and juniors. It offers individual and group lessons for all levels and ages. For spectators there are great field side views for tournament action, indoor and outdoor arenas and also the Aspen Valley Polo Club Boutique. Everyone is welcome to watch polo in a relaxed atmosphere with complimentary food, refreshments and weekly asados. Admission and parking are free. For Polo On Demand price rates of group and private lessons, arena chukkers, grass chukkers and individualized “Polo Experience” packages firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.aspenvalleypoloclub.com.