2013 Scottsdale Polo Championships Meet and Greet morning event
Below are the Highlights and Bios of the Scottsdale Polo Championships Polo Players:
Diego Fernando Florez Polo Player
Occupation: Veterinarian (Aztec Animal Hospital, Owner and Operator). APC Club Manager How did you get into polo: I took my first lesson 2008 and I was hooked. Prior to that I had lived in Indiana New York City, and my home country Colombia where riding horses was part of my life. After trying many sports that didn’t fill my expectations polo gained all my attention. Favorite thing about polo: The interaction with horses and the adrenaline rush. I love to learn, educate and promote the sport of polo and improve polo in the border circuit and beyond.
Find Diego Florez on Facebook here:
Arizona Polo Club
Natalie Grancharov Polo Player
How did you get into polo: I started playing polo at UC Davis in 1999. I have been involved in polo and other equine sports since that time and have really developed a passion for polo in the last 5 years. I have two horses, Dolly and Saint that I love and that were polo trained by our club pros John and Andres. Favorite thing about polo: I love horses, but I also love being able to play and have an afternoon of polo with my family and friends.
Erica Gandomcar-Sachs Polo Player
Erica Gandomcar-Sachs perched in a saddle for the first time when she was just 3 years old, and started to play polo by the time she was 8. Today, she is a polo champion who has won numerous accolades — including a Colorado Sportswoman of the Year award in 2001 — for her leadership in the sport. She has played professionally in tournaments across the U.S. and around the world in countries ranging from New Zealand to India, Jamaica and Singapore.
Find Erica Gandomcar-Sachs on Facebook here:
Sunny Hale Polo Player
Sunny lives in Wellington Florida and is widely recognized as the most accomplished and well respected female Polo player in the world. Sunny is the first woman in US History to win the prestigious US Open Polo Championships, American Polo’s most coveted tournament and trophy. What sets her apart from the pack, is her achievements at the top of what has traditionally been a male dominated sport,and the fact that she was hired as professional player to compete on teams alongside some of the greatest male players in the sport. This would be the equivalent of a woman being hired to play in the NBA, World Series or the Superbowl as a starter among the men and winning the championships. She has earned many historic firsts for women in the sport of Polo including achieving the highest Handicap ever given to a woman in the history of the sport by the United States Polo Association of 5 goals, earned the prestigious Woman Polo Player of the Year award a record 7 times and in 2012 was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.She has been featured in media and magazines all over the world including ESPNW and Sports Illustrated. Sunny is currently the highest handicapped female player in America at 3 goals, a coach to aspiring players and travels the world playing and promoting top level women’s Polo competitions.In 2005 she founded the Women’s Championship Tournament (WCT) and in 2006 the American Polo Horse Association, two concepts she envisioned to bring exposure to the female and equine side of Polo.
Sunny Hale Polo Player Official Fan Page for Sunny Hale, #1 Female Polo Player in America
Felipe Ochoa Polo Player
Occupation: Finance. How did you get into polo: Enjoyed watching some polo matches as spectator and horse trail riding growing up in Colombia. Took a lesson out of curiosity and got hooked. Favorite thing about polo: Adrenaline, challenge and competition. Playing polo is way more thrilling than watching as spectator, definitely I recommend you to try a lesson.
Jeff Hall Polo Player
Jeff Hall’s been swinging a polo mallet since he was 7-years-old. Now 33, this Arizona native travels to places like London, Chile and China as a top ranked polo professional.”I pretty much travel around and I play for local teams everywhere and ship the horses everywhere and usually typically play in one area for about two months and then move on,” said Hall. Hale is also the founder of the women’s championship tournament, which encourages women to take to the polo field.
Ricky Cooper Polo Player– Wales Team Captain Ricky has represented Wales since the inception of the national in 2008/2009 and has played in over 15 internationals for the country. For the past 4 years Ricky had been stationed in New York where he was a regular on the polo circuit but recently he has made the transition back to the UK on a permanent basis. Along with Harry Legge-Bourke, Ricky has been instrumental in setting up both the Wales Polo Association and Wales Polo Team. This has seen the team compete in an ever growing list of fixtures from beach to arena to grass polo. Ricky has led the team in games such as the Glanusk International and to the final of the British Beach Polo Championships last summer. This year, in addition to the Hickstead Test Match the team will compete in the British Beach Polo Championships in Sandbanks and will participate in the 3rd annual Scottsdale Polo Championships in Arizona this autumn, an event that expects to attract 15,000 spectators. Prior to his time in New York Ricky spent a great deal of his polo career in the Berkshire area playing out of Fifield and Ascot Park Polo Clubs. Outside of polo Ricky has competed in many half and full marathons and is a former Great Britain Ice/Roller Hockey representative of numerous World and European championships.
Find Ricky Cooper on Facebook here:
Ricky Cooper Captain of the Wales Polo Team
Scottsdale Polo Championships at Westworld
Kareem Rosser Polo Player
Growing up in a neighborhood west of Philadelphia, Kareem Rosser has traveled the world to play polo, visiting countries all over Africa and Europe. Rosser joined the Work to Ride program where students in neighborhoods in west Philadelphia were given the chance to sit atop a horse, but only after working in the barn. Lezlie Hiner, the executive director of the Chamounix Equestrian Center in Philadelphia, used the barn as a place to teach kids such as Rosser discipline, work ethic, and a skill that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to acquire.Hiner’s Work to Ride program grew in popularity. She decided to start a polo squad with some of the students who helped at the barn. In 1999, her Work to Ride polo squad competed for the first time. Rosser led the team to two national championships in 2011 and 2012. Kareem Rosser was at the bottom, literally and figuratively. He was living in the West Philadelphia neighborhood called just that, “The Bottom,” a place where shootings, beatings and drug deals are a part of everyday life. He had little hope of getting out until he stumbled upon the unlikeliest of sports — polo, a game associated with the wealthy and elite, commonly known as the “sport of kings.” E:60’s Lisa Salters follows Rosser’s unusual and surprising journey, from learning to play polo in inner-city Philadelphia, to winning a national championship and creating a life that he never thought could be his.
Find Kareem Rosser on Facebook here:
Melissa Hornung Polo Player
Wellington resident Melissa Hornung will make her Southwest polo debut and play at the third annual Scottsdale Ferrari-Maserati Polo Championships Nov. 1-2 in Arizona. Hornung was invited to play at the event, where she will also be selling items from her new clothing line at Mallet Couture (www.malletcouture.com). Hornung and her husband Mauricio have played polo with the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, Nacho Figueras and rubbed elbows with Christie Brinkley and other polo-loving celebrities. The event is only in its third year but has grown from a couple of thousand attendees to an expected 15,000 this year.
Find Melissa Hornung and her company Mallet Couture on Facebook here:
Jeff Hall Polo Player
Born into a family of polo players, Jeff began riding horses at just 4 years old. By the time he was seven he was swinging a mallet and was already determined to become a professional polo player. His dream became a reality at 12 years old, and he hasn’t looked back since. Currently holding a 7-goal handicap, Jeff is one of the best players in the sport, and one of just a few highly rated American players. His passion for speed and excitement exists off of the field as well. Based at Estancia Pueblo Viejo near Houston, TX, Jeff Hall also has a horse breeding operation. Several of the horses he plays were born right there on the family ranch.
Roddy Matthews Polo Player
Roddy Matthews is a Veteran of the English High Goal Polo circuit. He started playing at the age of 12 and reached a 5 Goal handicap and represented England at Cartier in 1990, and was victorious over a visiting French team. Playing out of Guards Polo Club and Cowdray Park Polo Club this season, Roddy mixes his professional playing commitments with High Goal umpiring and training and producing top level polo ponies. Roddy played several times for the Wales Polo Team in 2010 and has become the lynch pin of the teams open and attacking play during the 2011 season, playing in all of the teams games.
Harry Legge-Bourke Polo Player
Harry has been instrumental in the set up of the Association and Team along with Ricky Cooper. Harry Lives at Glanusk and as a former Welsh Guards Officer played Polo at Guards but leant to play before joing the Army with Suzi Barrantez alongside Anthony Fanshawe in Argentina. Harry is the lead for all Media,PR and Merchandise as well as the lead lisiaon with the HPA and other governing bodies.
Find Harry Legge-Bourke on Facebook’s Wales Polo Team here:
Andres Camacho Castilla Polo Player
Occupation: Andrés moved to the Phoenix area in 2010 to attend Thunderbird School of Global Business.
How did he get into polo: Andrés comes from a family that has been playing polo for generations, his great great grandfather founded the polo club in Bogotá (1890′s) and his mother and father met on the polo field. His father was a 7 goal player, and it was only his hobby as he is a full time professional. He has a brother that is five years younger that is an active player in Bogotá as well. Currently he is rated at 2 goals outdoor, and 3 goals indoor. Favorite thing about polo: Although playing polo is his first passion, he enjoys teaching and training in his spare time. Andrés also rescues and rehabs off the track Thoroughbred horses to play polo.
John Bianco Polo Player
Occupation: Polo professional and instructor at South Hampton Polo Club and Polo Azteca.
How did he get into polo: Over 14 years, John helped his dad Al Bianco to manage Meadowbrook Polo Club and run it where hosted 2 US opens in 1993 and 1994. John has played with Memo Gracida, Adolfo Cambiaso, Facundo Pieres and other great polo players.
Bill Clark Polo Player
Occupation: Custom home builder, high end, high difficultly, specializing in concrete and steel. How did you get into polo: Avid rider since childhood, I began playing polo in 1993. Favorite thing about polo: Competing with Horses and camaraderie.
Daniel Coleman Polo Player
Occupation: Cattleman, Engineer. Current member of the USPA Board of Governors representing the Border Circuit, including Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. How did you get into polo and when: Lifelong horseman, began playing polo in 2005 in Arizona and New Mexico. Favorite thing about polo: Polo is the hardest thing you can do on a horse and is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
Zak Coleman Polo Player
Occupation: Student. How did you get into polo and when: Started riding horses with my dad at the ranch. Favorite thing about polo: Playing polo with my dad and going fast!
Bill Stalcup Polo Player
Occupation: Works at Nalco
How did you get into polo: Vince Azzaro taught me, dad, Walt & Steve Kuhn at Pheasant Run, IL in 1970. Favorite thing about polo: Making ponies and scoring goals from distance
Dan Urness Polo Player
Occupation: CFO at Cavco Industries (CVCO)
How did you get into polo: Found polo after searching for a sport that would hold my interest. Favorite thing about polo: I love the combined intensity of hockey, golf and riding skills.
David Barnett Polo Player
Occupation: Investment Banking
How did you get into polo: I just started playing in the summer of 2013 and previously only done some limited trail riding. Favorite thing about polo: Going fast, bumping, and the fact that it’s ridiculously FUN!
Marlon Pimienta Polo Player
Occupation: Help run family ranch in Marana, AZ, along with a Horse Transportation business that covers the Southwest.
How did you get into polo: I began playing polo in college for the New Mexico State University and it has been a great passion for many years. Favorite thing about polo: Being around horses and great people
Sarah Coleman Polo Player
Occupation: Cattleman’s Wife, Financial Officer
How did you get into polo and when: Rode in a English saddle for the first time in 2006 when I met my husband, played in first “real” game about 1 year later.
Favorite thing about polo: Polo is the ONLY contact sport that men and women can compete as equals – LOVE it!
Scott Vargas Polo Player
Occupation: Distribution of high performance racing parts How did you get into polo: I started learning how to ride a horse and play polo on July 2013 after seeing some commercials on TV with polo in the background, it looked fun! Favorite thing about polo: The combination of adrenaline, animals, and its challenging nature.
Stuart Leigh-Davies Polo Player
Originally from Carmarthenshire, West Wales, Stuart began playing polo in 2004 and now lives in Windsor where he is a member of nearby Blueys Polo Club. Coached by former England International and High Goal professional Mat Lodder, Stuart’s has been a regular fixture in the Wales Team since it inception in 2009. He has also played for the Royal Air Force during his service as a reservist officer and for the University of London. Stuart plays his polo in the Berkshire area spreading his time between a number of clubs.
More Wales Polo Team Men’s Team
More Wales Polo Team Women’s Team