WELLINGTON, FL, October 21, 2020—Grand Champions Polo Club will kick off the 2020 Fall season with the Tackeria Invitational, slated for October 22-25. Top-rated American player Nic Roldan will return to the field, along with other well-known players from the US and Argentina.
Grand Champions Polo Club will kick off the fall season this week with the Tackeria Invitational. The season opening matches are set for Thursday October 22, with the semi-finals to be held on Friday and the finals on Sunday, October 25.
Over the course of October and November Grand Champions will host four medium goals tournaments, along with four high goal tournaments from November 14-November 29. The season will culminate in the 9th annual International Cup on November 29th.. This year will feature the US team against Argentina. Since 2012, the US team has defeated England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil, Azerbaijan and France.
The Tackeria Invitational is a sentimental favorite at Grand Champions, as it was the first tournament played at the club during its first season in 2007. This year’s participating teams include:
Casablanca – Santi Bermudez, Gussie Busch, Grant Ganzi and Nic Roldan
Newport – Gene Goldstein, Michel Dorignac, Horacio Heguy, and Juan Bollini
La Indiana – Matt Gonzalez, Michael Bickford, Jeff Hall, and Nick Manifold
Sebucan – Pablo Pulido, Marc Ganzi, Sugar Erskine, and Pablo Spinacci
Flexjet, with Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Pablo Spinacci and Juan Bollini, won the Tackeria Invitational title in 2019.
There will be plenty of familiar names on the roster this season, with eight-goaler Nic Roldan returning to the field, as well as top players including Sugar Erskine, Pablo Spinacci, Michele Dorignac, and six-time Argentine Open winner Horacio Heguy. Also returning will be father-son duo Juan and Juancito Bollini, and Brandon Phillips.
Gussie Busch, Pablo Pulido, and Gene Goldstein will round out the lineup, while of couse Grand Champions founder Melissa and Marc Ganzi, as well as son Grant, will be playing. They’ll be joined by Michael Bickford’s La Indiana team, which includes Marcus Llambias, Jeff Hall and Nick Manifold.
The fall season is the precursor of the winter high goal season that runs from January to April, offering an opportunity for players and green horses to prepare for the challenging 26-goal play in the World Polo League. The upcoming 2021 season will be the third for the WPL, with all matches to be played at Grand Champions Polo Club. No decision has yet been made regarding COVID restrictions for the WPL season, as measures will depend on conditions in January.
While admission is traditionally open and free to the public at Grand Champions, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic will see the play closed to the public for the forseeable future. Over the summer, sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club completed a successful high goal season while following strict health and safety protocols and those same protocols will continue at Grand Champions throughout the fall season.
Grand Champions Polo Club co-founder Melissa Ganzi says, “Obviously, we really missed our fans over the summer, and we’ll miss them this fall. Even though Florida is opening up a little more, we are acting out of an abundance of caution. We’ll continue to regularly test for COVID and strictly follow all local and state guidelines.”
COVID testing began at Grand Champions last spring and continued at Aspen Valley throughout the summer.
Although Grand Champions will be closed to spectators, ChukkerTV will livestream the entire 2020 polo series so fans can still enjoy the best polo the US has to offer. ChukkerTV 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, Florida.
Photos by Grand Champions Polo Club