Wellington, Fla. – Oct. 4, 2019 – While the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island try to recover after Hurricane Dorian’s devastation, the polo community rallied through the Grand Champions Cares Bahama Relief Fund Raiser started by Grant Ganzi.
The Lynn University junior and third generation polo player reached out to one of the most generous communities in sports to raise money for much-needed supplies, aid, food and temporary housing for more than 70,000 people left homeless after the most intense hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas.
In three weeks, Ganzi raised a total of $25,000 that was recently presented to the Bahamas Red Cross. During a recent club management retreat at The Cove Atlantis, Grand Champions Polo Club founder and owner Melissa Ganzi presented Lisa Pinder of the Bahamas Red Cross with a $25,000 check on behalf of her son.
Funds raised from contributors were $11,800. Marc and Melissa Ganzi matched the funding to bring the total to $25,000. Other generous supporters included Neil Hirsch, Gwen and Peter Rizzo, Pablo Pulido, Kris Kampsen and Jeff Desich.
“I am extremely thankful for everyone’s support,” Grant Ganzi said. “It shows how a community can pull together to help those in need. People like Neil Hirsch helps the community when it’s in need. He’s always been really generous and gives back every opportunity he gets.”
Ganzi’s goal was to raise $50,000 which he knew would be a challenge. “I didn’t really expect to hit that amount. I know the goal may have been out of reach but that’s why it’s called a goal. I thought maybe we would collect a couple thousand dollars but $25,000 is a dream come true. I want to thank my parents and everyone who donated. At the end of the day, every little bit helps. Everyone’s support is appreciated and I am sure the money will go a long way to help.”
Thousands of people are still missing and final death toll is expected to be staggering after the 225 mph megastorm devastated thousands of homes when it stalled on top of the islands. The “destructive” Dorian was “unprecedented and extensive,” Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
Grand Champions Polo Club is preparing for its’ fall season highlighted by the Legends of Polo and Carlos Gracida Memorial, International Cup featuring Team USA and France, six medium goal tournaments and two 20-goal tournaments.
Grand Champions fall, winter and spring tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South
Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.
The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.
2019 Grand Champions Fall Schedule
Oct. 11-13, Tackeria Invitational
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, Polo Gear Challenge
Nov. 1-3, Fall Classic
Nov. 8-10, Fall Plates
Nov. 15-17, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 13-16, Wellington Open 20
Nov. 20-23, USPA National 20
Nov. 30, Legends of Polo and Carlos Gracida Memorial
Nov. 30, 2019 International Cup, USA vs. France