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La Karina, McClure River Ranch Play For USPA North American Cup Saturday At McClure River Ranch

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La Karina, McClure River Ranch Play For USPA North American Cup Saturday 

CARBONDALE, Colo., July 19, 2019---La Karina and McClure River Ranch will play for the coveted USPA North American Cup Saturday at McClure River Ranch. 


In Aspen Valley Polo Club's first 20-goal tournament game in club history, McClure River Ranch (Hilario Figueras, 3, Nacho Badiola, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Stewart Armstrong, 3) knocked off Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Salvador Ulloa, 7, Juan Bollini, 5), 11-10, in Thursday's opening semifinal.

Juan Bollini of Flexjet defends Nacho Badiola.
Juan Bollini of Flexjet defends Nacho Badiola.

In the second semifinal, La Karina (Brian Boyd, 1, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Kris Kampsen, 6, Sebastian Merlos, 8) defeated Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8, Lucas Lalor, 5), 15-11.

The championship game, scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. MST (1 p.m. EST), will be live streamed by USPA Polo Network on uspolo.org with Dale Schwetz calling the action.

Hilario Figueras of McClure River Ranch reaches for the ball.
Hilario Figueras of McClure River Ranch reaches for the ball.

The club's first 20-goal tournament of the summer season, previously held at Wellington, Fla.-based sister club Grand Champions Polo Club since 2011, did not disappoint fans in its debut.

In the opening game, McClure River Ranch had balanced scoring. Roldan, making his summer debut, had a team-high four goals. Figueras had three goals; Badiola, also making his summer debut, added two goals and Armstrong added one. McClure River Ranch, a 19-goal team, also received one goal on handicap. 

Salvador Ulloa of Flexjet tries to steal the ball as Nacho Badiola hits the near side shot.
Salvador Ulloa of Flexjet tries to steal the ball as Nacho Badiola hits the near side shot.

For Flexjet, Ulloa scored a game-high five goals, including three in the fourth chukker. Ganzi had three goals and Astrada added two goals.

The lead changed hands fourteen times in the fast-paced, evenly-matched wide open game before Roldan's safety conversion with 1:03 left in the game turned out to be the game-winner.

Flexjet teammates Salvador Ulloa and  Melissa Ganzi team up to get the ball past defender Nic Roldan.
Flexjet teammates Salvador Ulloa and Melissa Ganzi team up to get the ball past defender Nic Roldan.

Flexjet had one final opportunity to tie the game on a 60-yard penalty four with 38 seconds left but the shot was blocked by Badiola and Roldan ran out the clock.

In the second game, Kampsen led La Karina with a season-high eight goals. Boyd and Gracida each had two goals and Merlos added one goal and was relentless with his ball-hawking defense. La Karina also received two goals on handicap.

Salvador Ulloa of Flexjet and Hilario Figueras battle for the ball.
Salvador Ulloa of Flexjet and Hilario Figueras battle for the ball.

For Casablanca, Ganzi and Lalor each had three goals. Bollini and Astrada each scored two goals. Casablanca was also awarded a penalty-one.

La Karina, making its 20-goal debut, dominated most of the game behind a balanced team attack and throw-in advantage. La Karina took advantage of early Casablanca fouls for three penalty conversions in the first two chukkers. La Karina maintained a two-goal lead in the first half with leads of 5-3, 6-4 and 7-5 at the half.

Juan Bollini of Flexjet attempts to ride off Hilario Figueras.
Juan Bollini of Flexjet attempts to ride off Hilario Figueras.

Casablanca rallied in the fourth chukker, 3-1 with goals from Ganzi, Bollini and Astrada, to tie La Karina, 8-8, for the first time with 3:22 left on Ganzi's penalty conversion, but could never control the momentum after that. 

Nic Roldan of McClure River Ranch follows the ball with Alejandro Novillo Astrada defending.
Nic Roldan of McClure River Ranch follows the ball with Alejandro Novillo Astrada defending.

Kampsen, playing one of his best games, scored six goals in the final two chukkers to enable La Karina to outscore Casablanca, 4-1 and 3-1.

The USPA North American Cup has a rich tradition in history dating back to 1974. The tournament has been a mainstay in American and Canadian polo for decades at the 16 and 20-goal level. 

Hilario Figueras of McClure River Ranch reaches to steal the ball from Alejandro Novillo Astrada.
Hilario Figueras of McClure River Ranch reaches to steal the ball from Alejandro Novillo Astrada.

The first winner was Tulsa with Hall of Famers John T. Oxley and Billy Linfoot, Corky Linfoot and Jim MacGinley. During the late 1990s and early 2000s Calgary Polo Club hosted the tournament before moving to Grand Champions.

The USPA North American Cup is the  fourth of eleven grass tournaments and three arena tournaments being staged at AVPC in what is expected to be its best season.

Carlitos Gracida of La Karina out of the saddle to hook Nacho Novillo Astrada.
Carlitos Gracida of La Karina out of the saddle to hook Nacho Novillo Astrada.

Last year's USPA North American Cup champion was Travieso (Tony Calle, Grant Ganzi, Juan Cruz Merlos, Pite Merlos).

Also on Saturday, the draws for the 119th USPA Silver Cup and USPA National Arena Handicap will be held at St. Regis Hotel at 7:30 p.m.

Brian Boyd of La Karina hits a neck shot with Lucas Lalor defending.
Brian Boyd of La Karina hits a neck shot with Lucas Lalor defending.

Among the 2019 summer highlights at Aspen Valley Polo Club is the 119th USPA Silver Cup. The Aug. 11 final, set for one of the club's two newest fields at McClure River Ranch, will be paired with the annual Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar  fundraiser. Other top tournaments are this week's USPA North American Cup, July 23-August 6 USPA National Arena Handicap, Aug. 7-14 Arena World Cup and Sept. 1-8 Triple Crown of Polo.

Kris Kampsen of La Karina goes to hit under the hook of Juancito Bollini.
Kris Kampsen of La Karina goes to hit under the hook of Juancito Bollini.

The club's summer marquis charity event, hosted by club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi and Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, has raised $1 million dollars in the last two years to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital.

With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest and fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs in the nation with a membership increase of 75 percent over four seasons.

Lucas Lalor of Casablanca reaches to hook Carlitos Gracida.
Lucas Lalor of Casablanca reaches to hook Carlitos Gracida.

Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi founded the club in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club's offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments,  Tuesday Arena & Asado Nights, Kidz 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 weekend tournaments.

Lucas Lalor of Casablanca and Carlitos Gracida of La Karina reach for the ball.
Lucas Lalor of Casablanca and Carlitos Gracida of La Karina reach for the ball.

Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and  several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities.

Aspen Peak Magazine has featured the club and its polo and charity events several times and recently featured players Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Tony Calle and Nic Roldan in a cover story.

Sebastian Merlos of La Karina works the sideboards with Juancito Bollini defending.
Sebastian Merlos of La Karina works the sideboards with Juancito Bollini defending.

The Ganzis are avid players and patrons and "have created a polo paradise" according to Piocho Ranch padron Tom Barrack. "You can go all over the world but you can't have these kind of people, players and horses in this setting. It's really a gift." Players, sponsors, community leaders and fans share Barrack's sentiments.

All ages are welcome to enjoy polo at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Admission, food and refreshments are free for fans in a relaxed, laidback atmosphere. An added feature is the club's Jumbotron which made its debut last summer for the fans' enjoyment, Aspen Valley Polo Club Boutique and new electronic scoreboard.

Grant Ganzi of Casablanca hits off the near side with Brian Boyd defending.
Grant Ganzi of Casablanca hits off the near side with Brian Boyd defending.
Photos by Aspen Valley Polo Club

2019 Aspen Valley Polo Club Summer Polo Series

July
USPA North American Cup
Saturday, 7/20, USPA North American Cup Final, 11 a.m.
La Karina vs McClure River Ranch 

Basalt Handicap
Friday 7/19, 10:30 a.m. Los Amigos Red vs Los Amigos Blue
at Aspen Valley Polo Club
10:30 a.m. Mountain Chevrolet vs Piocho Ranch
at Sopris Mountain Ranch 

Sunday 7/21, 11 a.m. Basalt Handicap Final
1 p.m. Just For The Love Of It Cup


USPA Silver Cup & USPA National Arena Handicap Draw
 Saturday 7/20 7:30 p.m. at St. Regis Aspen

 USPA National Arena Handicap July 23 - August 6
 USPA Silver Cup July 24-August 11
Emma Challenge Cup July 26-28
 ChukkerTV Arena Challenge July 30

August
High Alpine Cup 8/2 - 8/4
Arena World Cup 8/7 - 8/14
Rocky Mountain Open 8/9 - 8/17
Mount Sopris Cup 8/16 - 8/18
Carbondale Classic 8/23 - 8/25
 2019 PoloFest Denver 8/31

September
The Triple Crown of Polo Trophy 9/1 - 9/8

Visit www.aspenvalleypoloclub.com for more details.
All game time are MST

USPA Silver Cup 
 Photo by USPA
UNITED STATES POLO ASSOCIATION 

The United States Polo Association® was organized and exists for the purposes of promoting thegame 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.
THE POLO SCHOOL

The Polo School and its Director Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.

              CHUKKERTV


ChukkerTV is live streaming the entire summer polo season. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Fla. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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 call the polo hotline at 970-710-1663 or log onto www.aspenvalleypoloclub.com 

STAY CONNECTED:
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