Polo Gear Challenge Cup Begins Friday At Grand Champions Polo Club; Psycho Bunny Heads Field
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo ClubAfter a one-year hiatus, Psycho Bunny returns to Grand Champions Polo Club this weekend to compete in the Polo Gear Challenge Cup.
Led by Andrew Seibert, Psycho Bunny was the first polo team to win three consecutive Grand Champions Cup titles in club history. The foursome of Seibert, MVP Piki Diaz Alberdi, Brandon Phillips and Kris Kampsen defeated Blackdove, 14-11, in the 2015 Grand Champions Cup final for its three-peat.
Seibert will reunite with Phillips and Kampsen and has added Guille Aguero to the lineup. Aguero is coming off last week's Spring Challenge Cup victory with Audi.
Seibert has been playing polo for eight years. Psycho Bunny is a New York-based clothing company Seibert works with. Seibert grew up in Central Florida and drove to Wellington on weekends to watch polo. He got hooked on the sport and started playing.
Five teams will compete in the two-day Polo Gear Challenge Cup. Action begins on Friday when Casablanca plays Newport at 11 a.m. on Field 3. Psycho Bunny will join Dutta Corp and Polo Gear in a round-robin at 5 p.m. on Field 1.
The winners advance into Sunday's final at 11 a.m. The subsidiary game is 9:45 a.m.
The five team rosters are:
Casablanca, Melissa Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Mariano Uranga, Barto Castagnola.
Dutta Corp, Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta.
Newport, Marc Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Gene Goldstein, Julio Arellano.
Polo Gear, Rich Desich, Jason Crowder, Juancito Bollini, Pablo Dorignac.
Psycho Bunny, Andrew Seibert, Brandon Phillips, Kris Kampsen, Guille Aguero.
Barto Castagnola, 16, a five-goaler and son of former 10-goaler Lolo Castagnola, will make his debut at Grand Champions. His father competed in 14 Argentine Opens, winning six and finishing runner-up three times. Uranga, a 6-goaler, who made his debut last week, is competing in his second consecutive tournament.
Last year's Polo Gear Challenge Cup champion was Audi with MVP Jason Crowder, Marc Ganzi, Brandon Phillips and Timmy Dutta with a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over Melody (Cesar Gueikian, Kris Kampsen, JJ Celis, Lucas Lalor). Dutta, at 14, scored the winning goal at the 7:08 mark of the seventh chukker.
Polo Gear co-founder Gary Fellers, who played polo for nearly 40 years from zero to 26-goal, has been a longtime supporter of the tournament and Grand Champions and Aspen Valley Polo Clubs.
Polo Gear, one of the top sponsors and supporters of polo, was established in 1993 and incorporated in Florida. It manufactures, distributes and sells polo products to players, teams and polo events worldwide. It is the premier retailer for all necessary clothing, accessories, safety equipment and polo saddles for the polo enthusiasts of all ages. For more information on Polo Gear and to order products, visit www.pologearusa.com.
The Polo Gear Challenge Cup is the fifth of six medium-goal tournaments offered in April and May as the GCPC Spring Invitational League. The final tournament is the May 26-29 The Memorial.
Winners of the first four spring tournaments were Audi (Marc Ganzi, Guille Aguero, Lucas Lalor, Pablo Dorignac) in the Spring Challenge Cup; Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta), Santa Rita Abierto Open; Clearwater (Chip Campbell, Michael Bickford, Ezequiel Fernandez, Jeff Hall), USPA Eastern Challenge and Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Carlitos Gracida), USPA Sun Cup. Dutta Corp has also won two subsidiary titles.
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. It is geared towards 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 young 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 inpolo broadcasting.