WELLINGTON, FL—April 27, 2017----The always exciting USPA Eastern Challenge gets under way Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Five teams will compete during the two-day tournament. Two opening round games are scheduled for Friday.
Newport opens play against Dutta Corp at 11 a.m. on Field One. Dutta Corp is coming off its spring season-opening tournament win over Whitehall Ranch.
Later on in the afternoon, Clearwater/La Indiana, Whitehall Ranch and Power Horse will play a round-robin at 4:30 p.m. on Field 3. Clearwater plays Whitehall Ranch with the winner sitting out and Power Horse playing the final six chukkers.
On Sunday a doubleheader featuring two championship finals will be held. The Grand Champions Cup is 9:45 a.m. and USPA Eastern Challenge is 11 a.m. Admission is free and the public is welcome.
The field features some of the sport’s top players including Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Jeff Hall, Julio Arellano and Nic Roldan.
The team rosters are:
Newport: Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Julio Arellano, Carlitos Gracida.
Dutta Corp: Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Kris Kampsen, Piki Diaz Alberdi.
Clearwater/La Indiana: Michael Bickford, Chip Campbell, Ezequiel Fernandez, Jeff Hall.
Whitehall Ranch: Bill Lane, Pablo Pulido, Nic Roldan, Guille Aguero.
Power Horse: Melissa Ganzi/Walter Scherb, Marc Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Jesse Bray.
The last time the USPA Eastern Challenge was held at Grand Champions was in 2015 when Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Wes Finlayson, Nic Roldan) held off Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, Carlitos Gracida, Kris Kampsen, Guille Aguero), 11-10. Bollini was named MVP.
The USPA Eastern Challenge is the second of six medium-goal tournaments offered in April and May as the GCPC Spring Invitational League. Other spring tournaments are: May 5-7, USPA Sun Cup; May 12-14, Spring Challenge Cup; May 19-21, Polo Gear Invitational and May 26-29, The Memorial.
During the Grand Champions’ spring season, amateur polo players get the chance to play with and against some of the world’s top professional polo players including former 10-goaler Piki Diaz Alberdi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Jeff Hall, Brandon Phillips, Jesse Bray, Julio Arellano, Kris Kampsen, Guille Aguero, Nic Roldan, Juan Bollini and Jesse Bray. It is geared toward improving polo skills and having fun.
“We are focusing on the game and concentrating on giving everyone an opportunity to play polo and improve their game,” said Polo School Director and former 8-goaler Juan Bollini. “Marc and Melissa (Ganzi) have opened Grand Champions to anybody in polo. We have great tournaments here. We are really trying to make polo better in America. We want to show the world we can have the best polo for everyone.”
The spring league is also a great opportunity for younger players to develop and hone their skills against their peers and more experienced players.
The GCPC spring league features: medium goal practice games at least once a week; stick-and-ball sessions available during the week; two medium goal tournament games for teams every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; complete turn-key tournament polo with some of the top professionals in the world; playing polo on some of Wellington’s most prestigious and well-manicured fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players and excellent trophies for all teams every weekend.
Grand Champions hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its eleven well-manicured fields during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
The spring season is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.
Grand Champions 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, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
The United States Polo Association® was organized and exists for the purpose of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
2017 GRAND CHAMPIONS SPRING SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
APRIL 27-29: Grand Champions Cup, Thursday, Graff Capital vs. Grand Champions, GCPC Field 2, 4 p.m.; Sunday, Final, 9:45 a.m.
APRIL 28-30: USPA Eastern Challenge, Friday, Newport vs. Dutta Corp, 11 a.m., GCPC Field One; Clearwater/La Indiana vs. Whitehall Ranch vs. Power Horse, 4:30 p.m., GCPC Field 3.
MAY 5-7: USPA Sun Cup
MAY 12-14: The Spring Challenge Cup.
MAY 19-21: Polo Gear Invitational.
MAY 26-29: The Memorial.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.