Wellington, FL - Melissa Potamkin Ganzi of Wellington has been elected to the Board of Governors for the United States Polo Association, the sport's governing body. Ganzi, owner of Grand Champions Polo Club, will begin her two-year term at the October 2-5 Fall Meetings at the Houstonian Hotel in Houston, TX. Ganzi is one of twelve new Governors-at-Large elected by USPA members.
Others elected to serve are Avery Chapman, an avid player at Grand Champions; Sunny Hale, top-ranked U.S. women's player and host of the WCT Tournament at Grand Champions; former 10-goaler and Hall of Famer Memo Gracida; Valiente player-sponsor Bob Jornayvaz; former polo great Dale Smicklas, now WCT Commissioner; Steve Armour, Chrys Beal, Richard Caleel, Stevie Orthwein Jr., Russ Sheldon and Charles Smith.
USPA chairman Chuck Weaver called the newly-elected officers "a solid team that will move our association forward."
Ganzi has played an active role in promoting polo at all levels and is one of the sport's movers-and-shakers. She has been around horses her entire life and got involved in polo on and off the playing field more than a decade ago.
One of the nation's top woman polo players, she plays professionally with and against men and is team captain of Piaget, based at Grand Champions. She and her husband, Marc, also a top amateur player, own and maintain the club year-round. She breeds and trains polo ponies at her Santa Rita Farm in Ocala, FL.
Ganzi is all about diversity in polo. Her vision is to promote the sport of polo among the masses including kids and juniors, women and gay polo players. She would like to see polo embraced by the general public and mainstream sports followers and bring new people to the sport. Ganzi has staged polo events including junior tournaments, International Gay Polo League Tournament, International Tournament, Women's Championship Tournament, Polo School at Grand Champions and spring and fall seasons, which has nurtured several top rising juniors and pros at Grand Champions.
Ganzi is president and fund raiser for the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame Board of Directors and secretary-treasurer of the Polo Training Foundation. Ganzi has launched an educational project, PET (Polo Education Tour) where she travels to various libraries in South Florida educating adults and children about polo with a full display of polo equipment while talking about the game.
Ganzi has won the Ylvisaker Cup and Butler Handicap Cup, Hall of Fame Cup, Bill Triller 20-Goal Tournament, Western Badge and Trophy 20-Goal, Mayors Cup, Miami Beach Polo World Cup, Aspen Snow Polo Championship, North America Cup, U.S. Open Women's Tournament and played with Prince Charles, Prince Phillip and Prince Harry.
Ganzi has made history several times in the sport. She was the first woman ever to win the Monty Waterbury Cup in 2001, just one year after she started playing the game full-time. She is one of only a few women in the world to compete in the C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open.
Earlier this year, Ganzi was honored during the Portrait Of A Woman Luncheon, part of Women's History Month, for her significant long term contributions to individuals and various organizations and the positive impact she has had on the community, not only in polo, but charity work and organizations that specialize in helping the disabled. Grand Champions Polo Club has been a long-time employer of disabled workers.
The Ganzi family and support staff are currently preparing for the upcoming sixth fall season at Grand Champions.
The season will feature nine tournaments including two 20-goal tournaments in November. All tournaments are USPA-sanctioned and have grown in stature since their start in the mid-1990s.
GRAND CHAMPIONS FALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 27-29,Tackeria Invitational, Palm City Polo Club, Boca Raton
Oct. 4-6, USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 13-15, USPA Kay Colee Memorial
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 30-Nov. 9, USPA North America Cup
Nov. 1-3, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 8-10, Palm Restaurant Invitational
Nov. 13-24,The National 20-Goal Championship
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.
INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Piaget. Everyone is welcome to watch high and medium goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, Women's Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.