Meet the members of Arizona Polo Club for 2013-2014 season:
Occupation: Andrés moved to the Phoenix area in 2010 to attend Thunderbird School of Global Business, joined Honeywell in 2011, received his MBA in 2012, and plans to stay in the Valley of the Sun. 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 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 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. Bill Stalcup Occupation: Work 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 Challier Dan Urness 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 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! Diego Florez, DVM 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. Steve McFarland Vinay Bangalore Felipe Ochoa 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. Lavinia Struble Occupation: Horse trainer. How did you get into polo: I attended the Scottsdale Polo Tournament and clinic on November of this year and was hooked. Favorite thing about polo: I love having fun with the horses instead of being serious all the time. The speed and challenges of the sport are addictive. I really appreciate the team and social aspects of the Arizona Polo Club. The people make it feel like family. Arianna Struble Occupation: Student How did you get into polo: My mom started playing and asked me and my friend Savanah if we would try it because they needed a few players to make an interscolastic team. What I like about polo: It’s incredibly challenging. I love the adrenaline rush. It’s incredibly therapeutic. The people are nice and make it really fun. Marlon Pimienta 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 Michael Ryback Natalie Grancharov Occupation: Engineer Manager by profession. APC Club Secretary on the weekends. 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. Phani Kalavagunta “PK” Occupation: Senior Software Consultant. How did you get into Polo? I was trying to get my daughter into learning horse riding, eventually got interested in it. Dan Coleman introduced me to polo at an event and told me the history of the game. My curiosity grew when I came to know that this sport emerged in the same part of the world that I come from…India and the oldest polo club happens to be in India. To top it all…the members of Polo Clubs (in Arizona) are very welcoming, friendly and inclined towards teaching beginners. So, I’m now learning this sport without riding experience. Favorite thing about Polo: Riding horses, Adrenaline rush Scott Vargas 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. Steve Bentz Occupation: Jewler, Owner Stega Jewelry. Arabian Horse Enthusiast. Zak Coleman 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!