Aug 12, 2019 12:57 PM


Article courtesy of Aspen Valley Polo Club/Sharon Robb.

2019 Silver Cup® Champions: Tonkawa - Juan Martin Obregon, Jeff Hildebrand, Sapo Caset, Mason Wroe. Pictured with Mindy Hildebrand and USPA CEO Bob Puetz.
2019 Silver Cup® Champions: Tonkawa - Juan Martin Obregon, Jeff Hildebrand, Sapo Caset, Mason Wroe. Pictured with Mindy Hildebrand and USPA CEO Bob Puetz.

Conquering their final opponent Casablanca, Tonkawa won the prestigious Silver Cup® undefeated in front of a sellout crowd on Sunday, August 11, at Aspen Valley Polo Club's McClure River Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado. Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Juan Martin Obregon, Sapo Caset, Mason Wroe*) led Casablanca (Grant Ganzi*, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor, Nacho Novillo Astrada) from start-to-finish to secure an impressive 15-10 victory.

Pre-game ceremonies featured Denver-based singer and songwriter, Jenny Shawhan, singing the National Anthem as two members of the U.S. parachute team parachuted on to the field with the American and Colorado flags.

Tonkawa's Sapo Caset out in front with Lucas Lalor defending.
Tonkawa's Sapo Caset leads the field with Lucas Lalor defending.

Picking up one goal on handicap, Tonkawa took charge early in the first half, jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the first chukker. Including five powerful goals from Sapo Caset, Tonkawa outscored Casablanca 9-3 in the first half, Casablanca only able to add a single goal per chukker.

Starting off slowly, Casablanca came back in the second half. Although Tonkawa still maintained the lead, Casablanca outscored them in the second half 7-6, but could never make up the deficit. Casablanca came within three when Nacho Novillo Astrada scored with two minutes left in the fifth chukker, the scoreboard set 12-9. However Wroe returned with a great breakaway goal to increase Tonkawa’s lead by four 13-9. Caset scored again early in the sixth chukker, extending the lead to five goals. At 4:04 Ganzi smacked the ball just inside the goal post, taking it down in the process, but Casablanca still trailed 14-10. Both teams had opportunities to score before Obregon converted a Penalty 3 to win the title 15-10.

Argentine 10-goaler Sapo Caset, who dominated the scoring throughout the final, was selected as the Most Valuable Player. Caset scored a game-high nine goals and was instrumental in Tonkawa's successful 5-0 run throughout the tournament with his unmatched combination of horsemanship, speed and agility.

Best Playing Pony, Pulga.
Best Playing Pony, Pulga.

Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Caset’s Pulga, played in the first and fourth chukkers.

"It's been an incredible day of polo at the club," said tournament host Marc Ganzi. "It was a great game with great champions. Tonkawa is a very worthy champion so hats off to them and a great tournament."

"This polo has been great here in Aspen," USPA CEO Bob Puetz echoed. "I don't know how you can play much better than how Sapo is playing right now. Today Tonkawa looks like they have stepped up one more level."

Casablanca's Lucas Lalor, Juan Bollini Tonkawa Mason Wroe
Casablanca's Juan Bollini tries to hook Tonkawa's Mason Wroe.

"I also want to give a big shout out to the Aspen Valley Polo Club, Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Peter Rizzo and all the people who worked so hard to put this tournament on," Puetz continued. "And, the ground crews and construction crews, who miraculously changed the landscape of this mountain area and put in two world-class polo fields within the last year. Not only world-class, but capable of playing high-goal polo this fast. It is amazing. The future of polo in Aspen is strong."

*Grant Ganzi is a member of Team USPA. Mason Wroe is a Team USPA alumnus. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

All photos ©Nick Tininenko



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