ChukkerTV Challenge Cup Highlights Week's Activities At Aspen Valley Polo Club
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo ClubAfter a successful season-opener, action continues this week with the ChukkerTV Challenge Cup at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
A full weekend of polo activities are scheduled including tournament action that begins Friday with a round-robin and game at Sopris and High Mesa Fields.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting since 2014, is live streaming the entire summer schedule to both local and worldwide audiences.
2016 ChukkerTV Challenge winners Travieso's Brian Boyd, Sebastian Merlos, Teo Calle and MVP Alex Gooding.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 inWellington, Fla., Aspen Valley Polo Club's sister club.
Last year's champion was Travieso, 13-9 winners over Tonkawa. Travieso, one of the winningest teams at Aspen Valley and Grand Champions, made its U.S. Open debut during the 2016 high goal winter season in Wellington.
In the 2016 ChukkerTV Challenge Cup final, the foursome of Alex Gooding, Teo Calle, Sebastian Merlos and Brian Boyd defeated Tonkawa's Segundo Merlos/Santos Bollini, Julio Novillo Astrada, Marc Ganzi and Jimmy Seward.
Last weekend's Independence Cup MVP Brian Boyd.Denver-born Alex Gooding, who lives in nearby Emma, turned in one of his best games in his 23-year polo career with seven goals and was named Most Valuable Player.
With the breathtaking 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, action gets under way Friday with a round-robin game at 1 p.m. MST at Sopris Field followed by a six-chukker game at High Mesa Field at 4 p.m.
The busy weekend continues on Saturday at Sopris Field with the Challenge Cup Trophy at 11 a.m. and Kids Polo at noon.
On Sunday, the final of the ChukkerTV Challenge Cup is set for 1 p.m. after the subsidiary game at 11 a.m. at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Local fans enjoying polo, shopping and food at Aspen Valley Polo Club.The nation's fastest growing polo club is coming off its most successful summer season in club history. The club, enjoying an increased membership, continues to grow and introduce polo throughout the valley.
"I think it's going to be an amazing season," said Brian Boyd, vice president of Aspen Valley Polo Club. Boyd, last week's Most Valuable Player in the Independence Cup after scoring five goals, was a member of last year's ChukkerTV Challenge Cup winner Travieso.
"Everyone is really well-mounted and everyone looks good this summer," Boyd said. "It's nice, open clean polo. I think it's going to be a great year with a nice level of polo. We want people to come and enjoy Aspen and have super fun watching and playing. This is as good as it gets."
The club has attracted some of the world's top pro and amateur players. This season the pro lineup features Hall of Famer Mike Azzaro, a former 10-goaler and winner of seven U.S. Open titles; brothers Nacho and Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini, brothers Carlitos and Mariano Gracida and Lucas Lalor.
ChukkerTV announcer Dale Schwetz keeping his local and worldwide audience informed.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 ChukkerTV Challenge is the second of 12 tournaments scheduled, eight grass and four arena tournaments including the July 25-Aug. 6USPA National Arena Handicap.
Last summer's tournament winners were: Los Amigos Red, Rocky Mountain Open; Steta Polo Team, Mount Sopris Cup; ChukkerTV, ChukkerTV Arena Challenge; Travieso and Los Amigos, High Alpine Cup; Tonkawa, Emma Challenge; La Karina, Basalt Handicap; Travieso, Craig Sakin Memorial and ChukkerTV Challenge Cup; and Flexjet, Carbondale Classic and Independence Cup.
Polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding areas with the club's offerings of various weekly tournaments, Gladiator Tuesdays, Kids Polo, indoor and outdoor arena polo, charitable events and The Polo School. Practice sessions are also held for teams competing in the weekendtournaments.
In August 2014, polo players and patrons Marc and Melissa Ganzi opened the Aspen Valley PoloClub to rave reviews by the community and players. Both co-own the club and its sister polo club Grand Champions in Wellington, Fla. and have played key roles in the sport's growth and popularity.
2017 SUMMER POLO SCHEDULEJuly 7-9, ChukkerTV Challenge Cup: Friday, 1 p.m., Round Robin at Sopris Field; 4 p.m., Game at High Mesa Field; Saturday, 11 a.m., Challenge Cup Trophy at Sopris Field; Noon, Kids Polo at Sopris; Sunday, 11 a.m., Subsidiary Game; 1 p.m. ChukkerTV Challenge Cup, Aspen Valley Polo Club. All times MST.
July 14-16, Craig Sakin MemorialJuly 21-23, Basalt HandicapJuly 25-Aug. 6, USPA National Arena HandicapJuly 28-30, Emma ChallengeAug. 4-6, High Alpine CupAug. 8-15, Arena World CupAug. 9, ChukkerTV Arena ChallengeAug. 11-13, Mount Sopris CupAug. 18-20, Rocky Mountain OpenAug. 25-27, Carbondale Classic