Segwaypolo, autopolo, cowboypolo, canoepolo,Yakpolo, motopolo, elephant polo
Segway polo is a team sport which started to gain some measure of popularity after being played by members of the Bay Area Segway Enthusiasts Group (Bay Area SEG) in 2004. The Bay Area SEG was not the first to play polo on a Segway HT; a team sponsored by Mobile Entertainment played in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome at a Minnesota Vikings halftime show in 2003 although the Bay Area SEG members were not aware of this match at the time they first played the sport. Segway polo was developed as it is played today by the members of the Bay Area SEG and other groups and teams that have joined subsequently.
Segway polo is similar to horse polo, except that instead of playing on horseback, each player rides a Segway PT on the field. The rules have been adapted from bicycle polo and horse polo. Two teams of five players each hit a ball with their mallets, trying to get the ball into the other team’s goal. The regulation field size is 200 feet (61 meters) by 128 feet (39 meters), and the goal is 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide by 5 feet (1.5 meters) high. A regulation match consists of four 8 minute quarters, known in polo as “chukkers.” The ball can be struck with the mallet or any part of a player’s body or Segway but may only be directed using the mallet. A goal can not be scored off of any part of a player’s body or Segway unless it occurs accidentally.
Auto polo match in the 1910s. Malletmen were often thrown from the cars during matches.
Automobile polo or Auto polo was a motorsport invented in the United States with rules and equipment similar to equestrian polo but using automobiles instead of horses. The sport was popular at fairs, exhibitions and sports venues across the United States and several areas in Europe from 1911 until the late 1920s; but it was dangerous and carried the risk of injury and death to the participants and spectators.
The official inventor of auto polo is purported to be Ralph “Pappy” Hankinson, a Ford automobile dealer from Topeka who devised the sport as a publicity stunt in 1911 to sell Model T cars. The reported “first” game of auto polo occurred in an alfalfa field in Wichita on July 20, 1912 using four cars and eight players (dubbed the “Red Devils” and the “Gray Ghosts”) and was witnessed by 5,000 people. While Hankinson is credited with the first widely publicized match and early promotion of the sport, the concept of auto polo is older and was proposed as early as 1902 by Joshua Crane, Jr. of the Dedham Polo Club in Boston, with the Patterson Daily Press noting at the time of Crane’s exhibition that the sport was “not likely to become very popular.” Auto polo was also first played in New York City inside a regimental armory building in 1908 or 1909. The popularity of the sport increased after its debut in July 1912, with multiple auto polo leagues founded across the country under the guidance of the Auto Polo Association. The first large-scale exhibition of auto polo in the eastern United States was held on November 22, 1912 at League Stadium in Washington, D.C. By the 1920s, New York City and Chicago were the principal cities for auto polo in the United States with auto polo matches occurring every night of the week. In New York, matches were held at Madison Square Garden and Coney Island.
Internationally, auto polo was regarded with skepticism and caution. In 1912, the British motoring publication The Auto described the new sport as “very impressive” and a “lunatic game” that the writers hoped would not become popular in Britain. Hankinson himself promoted auto polo in Manila in the 1910s with events sponsored by Texaco and recruited teams in the United Kingdom. Auto polo was further spread to Europe by auto polo teams from Wichita that toured Europe in the summer of 1913 to promote the sport. In Toronto in 1913, auto polo became the first motorsport to be showcased at the Canadian National Exhibition, but the sport did not become popular in Canada.
Rules and equipment
The Dedham Polo Club first used Mobile Runabouts for their exhibition game in 1902.
Unlike equestrian polo which requires large, open fields that can accommodate up to eight horses at a time, auto polo could be played in smaller, covered arenas during wintertime, a factor that greatly increased its popularity in the northern United States. The game was typically played on a field or open area that was a least 300 feet (91 m) long and 120 feet (37 m) wide with 15-foot (4.6 m) wide goals positioned at each end of the field. The game was played in two halves (chukkars) and each team had two cars and four men in play on the field at a given time. The first auto polo cars used by the Dedham Polo Club were unmodified, light steam-powered Mobile Runabouts that seated only one person and cost $650 (equivalent to $17,537 today). As the sport progressed, auto polo cars resembled stripped down Model Ts and usually did not have tops, doors or windshields, with later incarnations sometimes outfitted with primitive rollbars to protect the occupants. Cars typically had a seat-belted driver and a malletman that held on to the side of the car and would attempt to hit a regulation-sized basketball toward the goal of the opposing team with the cars reaching a top speed of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) and while making hairpin turns. The mallets were shaped like croquet mallets but had a three-pound head to prevent “backfire” when striking the ball at high speeds.
Safety and damage concerns
Due to the nature of the sport, cars would often collide with each other and become entangled, with malletmen frequently thrown from the cars. Installation of rollcages over the radiator and rear platforms of the cars helped prevent injuries to players, but falls did result in severe cuts and sometimes broken bones if players were run over by the cars, though deaths due to auto polo were rare. Most of the cars would usually be severely wrecked or demolished by the time the match was finished,leaving most players uninsurable for costly material and bodily damages incurred during the game. A tally of the damages encountered by Hankinson’s British and American auto polo teams in 1924 revealed 1564 broken wheels, 538 burst tires, 66 broken axles, 10 cracked engines and six cars completely destroyed during the course of the year. The sport waned in popularity during the late 1920s, mostly due to the high cost of replacing vehicles, but did have a brief resurgence in the Midwestern United States after World War II.
is just like regular polo except that it’s played in a dirt rodeo arena with quarter horses and western saddles. Cowboy polo teams are often smaller than the standard four, depending on the size of the arena (today there were 3 to a team), and the game is played with a soccer ball-sized rubber ball instead of the small hard ball used on turf. Otherwise, the objectives and the rules are mostly the same as regular polo: use the mallet to hit a ball through goals on either end of the playing field.
Quarter horses are usually bigger than thoroughbred polo ponies, but they’re ideal for the game: smart, savvy and handy. Quarter horses can stop and turn on a dime and since they’re already trained to doggedly track a cow around the arena, they usually pick up on following the ball pretty quickly.
Follow that ball!
As with regular polo, it’s always a wonder to me that more people and horses don’t get whacked with the mallets, which are made of either bamboo, cane or fiberglass and topped with a hard rubber head, but a cadre of rules and two referees in the ring keep wild sticks to a minimum and no horse or cowboy was injured today. The most strictly enforced rule states that anybody who falls off his or her horse has to buy beer for the whole team.
Cowboy polo was invented in Florida in 1952 and had its heyday in the 1970′s when the US boasted 75 teams. Interest has tapered off since then; the last national tournament was held in 2002 and the National Cowboy Polo Association disbanded in 2005. A few active teams still persist in Montana and Clint Mortenson does his part to keep cowboy polo alive here in New Mexico. In his tack room, amidst dozens of western saddles, racks of spurs, piles of lariat rope and hundreds of bridles, he also keeps a incongruous rack of polo mallets.
The birth of the modern sport could be considered to be the demonstration event held at the National Canoe Exhibition at Crystal Palace, London, in 1970.
In response to the interest created at the Crystal Place Event, the first National Canoe Polo sub committee of the British Canoe Union was formed, and it was this committee that developed the modern framework of the game. The National Championships were held every year at the National Canoe exhibition, and this activity led on to the inclusion of Canoe Polo in the demonstration games at Duisberg, Germany in 1987.
The game is played in many countries on all continents, for recreation and serious sport. The sport has World Championships every 2 years and European, Asian, African North American and South American Championships held every year in between World Championship years. Internationally the sport is organized by the Canoe Polo committee of the International Canoe Federation, as one of the disciplines of the sport of canoeing.
The game is often described as a combination of water polo, basketball and kayaking. The tactics and playing of the game are not unlike basketball or water polo but with the added complexity of the boats, which can be used to tackle an opposition player in position with the ball, or jostle for position within 6 metres of the goal.
There are two referees (one on each side-line) and they are on foot rather than in boats. The score is kept by the scorekeeper and the timekeeper monitors the playing time and sending-off times. The goal lines are monitored by two line judges. Before play commences scrutineers check all kit for compliance with regulations.
Canoe polo is played either indoors in swimming pools or outdoors on a pitch which should measure 35 metres by 23 metres. The boundaries of the pitch are ideally marked using floating ropes (similar to lane markers in swimming), although for smaller venues the edges of the pool are frequently used.
The area approximately 6 meters in front of each the goal can be defined as the Zone. This area is where defending players create formations to defend the goal from attackers.
The game is officially played as a 14–20 minute game consisting of two 7–10 minute halves. The teams change ends at the half-time period, which is 1 to 3 minutes long. Each half begins with a “sprint” where each team lines up against its goal-line and the ball is thrown into the middle of the pitch by the referee. One player from each team sprints to win possession of the ball.
A shot clock was recently introduced to speed up the game. The attacking team have 60 seconds to have a shot on the goal or they lose possession. The shot clock is reset when the ball is intercepted by the opposing team or the attacking team loses possession. The shot clock is a recent addition to the rules and due to its expense and complexity of the equipment needed is not used universally.
The goals (measuring 1 metre high by 1.5 metres wide) are a frame with a net, suspended 2 metres above the water. A player, acting as goal keeper, defends the goal with their paddle by sticking it up vertically. Special rules concern the goal keeper, such as: the attacking team not being allowed to interfere with or jostle them. The length of the paddles used by the goal keepers are often longer than those used by other players.
is a team sport played outdoor on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Riders score by driving a white wooden or plastic ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet.
Yak polo (or sarlagan polo) is a Mongolian variant of the original polo. It is played on yaks instead of on horseback.This sport was originally designed to entertain tourists, much like the elephant and camel versions do. This game was also created to evoke the glories of the once-great Mongol empire and because of the necessity of Mongolians to reinvent themselves for the adventure and “ecotourist” market. The Mongolian Association of Sarlagan Polo claims that the sport is booming, with four games a week since summer of 2006.
A recent variant of auto polo played with motorcycles, called “moto polo”, was developed in Rwanda in 2008 by Sam and James Dargan. The game is played in 15-minute quarters with five players per team using mallets to hit a ball made of banana leaves. The sport has few definite rules beyond “motorcyclists cannot use their feet to kick the ball and players cannot stick objects into motorcycle wheels”. There are five players a team, opposing goals and 15-minute quarters with a “beer’s worth” break in between. The game is played at a frenzy — drivers goose the bikes to 45 miles per hour — as players jab and motorcycles fall. The first moto-polo match in Kigali was filmed and posted on YouTube in 2008.
The sport is evolving. Official statistics are not tabulated. Rules have never been written and are generally thought to be limited to these: motorcyclists cannot use their feet to kick the ball, and players cannot stick objects into motorcycle wheels.
East Africa is a rising economic and political bloc, and expatriates and East Africans alike travel frequently around the region. Despite the small pool of players in Rwanda, the game could spread. When one of the original moto-polo players moved to Kampala, the capital of Uganda some 230 miles away, he took the sport with him. The first match in Uganda, held last year, also served as a fund-raiser to help pay the legal fees of Ugandan women sexually trafficked to Iraq.
In Rwanda, the drivers are paid $20 for an hourlong game in a country where the average daily income is a little more than $3, according to the World Factbook, a Central Intelligence Agency publication. All damages to motorcycles sustained during matches are paid for by the organizers.
It started out as a whimsical conversation between two sport lovers and evolved into the adventurous sport of polo played on the back of elephants.
The World Elephant Polo Association established the governing rules for Elephant Polo in 1982; the association has its headquarters at the Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in the Royal Chitwan Park in Nepal, which is where the World Elephant Polo Tournament played every year on a grassy airfield in Megauly. This tournament is played within a small circuit of Nepal and Thailand.