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Why do we constantly build new courts

We are building courts here in madison for the 4th time for a tournament. Why don't we figure out a way to build transportable courts that are much higher quality then just plywood and braces and figure out a way to transport them between tournaments. It seems like it would save everyone money and create a much better playing space. It would just take some coordination and a little bit of financial investment but it would be a better long term solution then building courts that are little use after one tournament.

I know that the courts from worlds were sold to pay back the members of Seattle bike polo who had put the money forward to buy the wood to begin with. I agree that if it's possible it would be a much better course of action to keep transportable boards set up. Money and space come to mind as difficult things to wrangle when making this decision.

The only reason anyone does anything.
For the lulz.

Why don't we play tournements where there are roller hockey courts?

"ok Mr. Schwinn fucking Armstrong!"

ThePoloFuries wrote:

Why don't we play tournements where there are roller hockey courts?

Because they are fucking huge

Legit roller hockey courts are great size. Big passes, aerial plays, so much better.

Lil' Sean wrote:
ThePoloFuries wrote:

Why don't we play tournements where there are roller hockey courts?

Because they are fucking huge

The roller hockey court we have over here is 40x20m, perfect size. Or is it different over there?

ours is NHL regulation 26x61m

Yeah well there isn't many roller hockey courts in the midwest so regional court use would be a nice possibility to have higher quality courts.

Agreed. I am definately on board ( pun intended ) with your movement that we shoudl have quality courts at all tournements.

"ok Mr. Schwinn fucking Armstrong!"

check it. many companies out there with a solution

these guys too

BorderPatrol Hokey Boards

COMO has a set of these (the city, not the polo players). They work well actually, but they take 3 truck loads to transport

eh, they don't work that well. not $12k well, anyway.

uh yeah, i remember lots of pedal strikes on top of these "boards" at Midwest 6 or 7 or whatever.

Jesus! Those pieces of shit cost 12k!!?? That's unbelievably ridiculous.

Bike Polo Ronin

ok, true they suck. its been a few years

I love these things. They're not consistent with our style of play though; ball can be played off of them nicely but bikes and checks against them would make dumb looking (if less dangerous) crashes.

2cents on transporting boards across North America is that gas is expensive.


Credo quia absurdum

I would like to also add that down here in south florida, there are MANY defunct roller hockey courts that I am sure the city would probably strike deals with people to get rid of the the boards. I have seen a court in deerfield that we used to play on get taken down and just turned into a grassy field. hahaha. Maybe you guys should start contactign some countie parks offices and see about any court that may be in the process of being removed and try to see if they would donate or sell them.

"ok Mr. Schwinn fucking Armstrong!"

Some other freak sport types in SF were trying to unload a set of "real" dasher boards for a few grand. No idea what happened. I'll take plywood over the hassle of moving a shipping container.

When I was involved in NAH I scoped out this idea for a clock/scoreboard. Same concept. Buy something high quality and raise money to ship to various events. Did not come to pass, needless to say.

Barring cost and effort, not sure SF has a big enough patch of *smooth* pavement to make it worth while. If the surface is an old parking lot, why bother?

(Love ya Phoenix!)

There is something to be said about under utilized Parks and Rec assets within in my city (Seattle). We are duking it out with a small but loud group of tennis players about the right to have access to a set of tennis courts. No tennis gets played there and there are two other tennis courts within a mile of that court, plus a huge indoor tennis center. As it stands now we are waiting to hear the final decision by the parks superintendant. Cal will is probably a lock but it is Judkin's (a littler further south and a double court at that!) that we are fighting to still have access to. The argument that needs to be emphasized and repeated is that there are over 144 tennis courts in the city of Seattle. Bike Polo, Dodgeball, and Futsal are organizing to have access to just 2 of those 144 courts. We are asking these entitled bastards to share 1.3% of the tennis space with three other sports. I think its a compelling argument that kinda embarrasses the whiny tennis folks. Give it a run in your city and see what you can do.

If we get thwarted on this Judkins thing I am going hard on this Opportunity grant that focuses on developing unused city assets that may not be tennis courts. Right now it is just easier to flip tennis into polo.

Forgot to add the key point in that most cities still have grants and levies to improve public land. The dollars from those grants can generally be used for stuff like boards, benches, and lights. Once we get the ok on the space we plan to pitch a proposal to the city for those improvements.

I've been thinking a lot about how do run a technical usage study that would stand up in court. It would require time series images -- like a photo every 15 min of the space. And a set of independent raters, park volunteers or something.

Such a study would provide leverage against tennis players. I've got a set of courts for pilot testing.

It's uncanny how similar the situation in Madison is.

The city cites 92 public tennis courts for use in the Madison city parks. In addition, the University of Wisconsin has another 2 dozen courts that are available to the public. Public high schools in Madison have sets of 8 courts at each of the 4 schools (available to the public). And, there are several indoor facilities, private country clubs, and personal courts in the Madison area. We're talking about between 200-300 tennis courts available for anyone from novice "park" tennis players to elite "pro" tennis players. Currently, the Parks Department does not allow bike polo to be played on ANY tennis courts, thus we
use 0% of the available courts.

There are numerous tennis locations in Madison that are rarely used, if at all. In fact, for those that are familiar with the Thunderdome in Madison, the conditions of the nets and facility are so poor (for tennis) that it is rarely utilized. One thought I've had with regard to monitoring the use of court space is to purchase a "game cam," a camera triggered to take a picture by movement in the viewing area, used by hunters to find the best area to hunt. One could mount a unit in and inconspicuous location at the monitored court and document the traffic in a very hands-off kind of way.

If anyone has any great breakthroughs or strokes of genius, please let the rest of the polo world know. There are other threads that deal with this precise issue, perhaps we'll take our conversation there.

The nicest of the 4 roller hockey rinks in St Louis (Mt. Pleasant) cost the city $70,000 to install. Some of that was the rink surface, of course, but that's what a permanent court will run ya, plus or minus.

I remember this coming up a few years back when tournaments started getting too big for a club's pickup court.Having some umbrella organization buy a portable system, or even just the best homemade boards we could come up with, and keeping it in a semi between tourneys. It turned out to be crazy expensive.

But the sport has grown a bunch since then. Maybe there's a region where if every club in it and all the likely sponsors (MKE, fixcraft, 1/8", etc.) were able to raise a grand each to get their crest or logo on a board, you could afford one of the three to four rinks you need to host a major. Warehousing something like that in a beat up old semi trailer on some out lot somewhere wouldn't be more than a coupla hundred a year. Paying a trucker to pick it up and drive it from Minneapolis to Little Rock could get pricey. Any polo players with a CDL out there?


That $70,000 just for materials? If that's the whole cost of the project, I'd guess labor is half of that.
Obviously with polo suckers labor is free.

Not that $40,000 is really more achievable, unless the Banana Boat wants to foot the bill.

Legalize Hand Throws - 2014

Set of boards per region. This, I like.

I'm dreaming of a short bus solution that's way too idealistic. But here it is anyway.

Clubs by themselves a short bus and a trailer for 1 court worth of boards ... transport some players aka carneys ... Converge on the tournament locations. Set up.

Sunk costs
$5,000 1986 Chevy short bus after road worthyness repairs tires steering and brakes;
$2,000 2 ton trailer with good brakes for boards and supplies

(boards estimates above / 4 goes here?)

Recurring costs:
$1,000 maintanance / year for van and trailer
$2,000 / year gas ( assuming $5/gallon, 10mpg, 4000 miles worth of tourney travel a year)

Credo quia absurdum

1 court with 4 ft walls costs about $1000 to build with all new materials.

I've been saying this since Montana was running the show


and where's the money?

Credo quia absurdum

What are sports events? From the Indy 500 to golf to rodeo to ATV trick jumping, it's the business of driving a bunch of shit around the country and putting on a show. Trucks are easy, you buy those. Working hands are necessary, lots and lots of people.

There's a guy who was a gypsy bum into his 40s. Started throwing carnivals and now he's a billionaire, seriously. You may have heard of cirque du soleil.

Jonny - I totally agree that this would be a great idea, but Joel is also right that you still need the labor to build the court wherever it is getting set up.

I think another option is building relationships with other bike related events that can help with money/storage. A great example of this was SF's collaboration with the Bike Expo last year - by setting up somewhere with a big crowd of bike people already, you can make use of that infrastructure.


Here's a used wall system on Ebay starting at $2500 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hockey-Rink-Wall-System-Game-pled-by-Athletica-R...

Damn, some of us Eastside clubs should bid on that. The tiny gameplex rink at Rush was over $15,000.


If you are the winning bidder, you will need a tractor trailer to take this home.

Paging Joe Fawls and his CDL

I know this guy with some family land just outside of Frederick MD...

Seriously though, that looks legit. Damn. Warehousing and dealing with it is a logistical hassle to say the least.

just get a 40' shipping container and put that shit in front of my apartment, no one's gonna care.

You'd want those for a permanent install somewhere. I thought I heard that PGH was getting a space? I thought RVA was working on that too?

We're trying, but getting anything done in conjunction with the backwards and broke city government around here is next to impossible.

I think that regionally we could make this work really well. the problem is that cheap plywood and poorly built braces are not a solution. We need somekind of material that would allow for quick installations and great game play as well as some way to store and transport. It could easily be done but the cost has to be assumed by the players in these tournaments and then would be a long term cost saving solution.

a v8 pickup and a 20 ft enclosed bumper pull trailer is all we need. we could probably fit a roller rink (like the ebay link above) plus goals in there... hell even through a few popup tents and scaffolding in. a container would require a semi to pull it, a bumper pull on the other hand would be easy... whoever is putting the tournament on would find someone from their city with a decent pickup truck and just go pick em up a week or so ahead of time. this would be a lot easier if we could lay out our whole schedule ahead of time so we'd know when and where the trailer needs to go...

but yeah jonny, we need to be looking at easily put up pre-built roller style courts instead of wood and braces.

Those althetica ones still needs supportds those are just the boards you need fence posts or the braces they sell to go with them. I've spoken with the athletica reps. just syaing its not that easy as getting some white boards they need to be supported in some way. also a court of roughly 150'x60' costs $15,000 from what i remember

The Karlsruhe Greif Masters portable court was the best example of a rented structure that worked. No idea how much it cost though.. maybe Hannes or the other Karlsruhe players will venture on this forum and bring a bit of Euro-wisdom.


these look decent.. http://www.stratadrome.com/type-1_dromes.htm

also, EHBPC championships in Geneva 2010 had nice roller hockey boards. i think they were sponsored, but maye clement could comment on what the cost would have been

At least we don't have to do this...

Analyze the GIS data from the 2012 tour and redivide regions with centralized "capitals".

X2 Nice, portable courts sounds tough. Didn't Ackbar say something about concentrating your firepower?

that could put too much pressure on a club that may not be willing to shoulder it.

more likely imo, it would be left to a self-identified region to create a system for scheduling and reserving its nice court parts. which would have to mean some kind of organizing group or cooperative, which would divide the costs. a group-owned trailer would be necessary, the truck or van could come from any club that has one.

These would ideally be places with nice courts needing less work and very central to several clubs, but not neccesarily places with clubs.

This would be putting less burden on an individual club, spreading it over several, and creating a standardized process for doing so.

As a person who just spent 9 hours with 10 other people building 4 half decent courts, I approve of this thread.

And another 6+ hours tearing them down on Sunday. I think people need to start paying more for registration.

i don't thinkw e should pay more, i think we should pay less and have tournements where sufficient facilities are available and if not, then a solution should be made to where it does not hurt everyones pockets. Bike polo has existed for quite a few years now without heavy registration fees. I miss just being able to show up to a tournement and sign up. not all this internet race shenanigans. oh well.

"ok Mr. Schwinn fucking Armstrong!"

It's not like that anymore.

Agreed. It's definitely not the same. Quality courts and boards are still the #1 concern for a tourney. And, really, you are paying $25 for a weekend of polo plus food plus being put up at someone's house. If you really wanna bitch about money, try and register for a tourney in another sport where you pay an organization $50-100 to compete and THAT IS IT. No crash pad. No food. I think we do well with the very modest fee we charge for most tournaments.

Okay catfish, I'm going to move my mouth like this...

or $675 to jump in a lake, fuck up your knees, and piss on yourself


Off topic, but it would be nice to see hired non-playing (or even out of region!) refs as well.

indiana, don't mean to single you out but you already have a statewide coop, right? would clubs be willing to raise their own membership dues to pay for a dedicated used trailer, a court or two worth of correctly designed, assembled and collapsible wooden boards and maybe some predetermined annual budget for fuel costs? this may not even be necessary, of course, i have no idea what indiana's court situation is like.

and of course it could expand beyond state boundaries, it would just cost more for non-members.

I see two issues here, so I'll split it into two posts to try to avoid "tl,dr".

One. The physical one. Way less worried about this. There are lots of mechanically smart people in this sport. Figuring out a modular, durable, easy-to-install, board system shouldn't be too much challenge for this group. Personally, I imagine OSB boards on 2X4 frames, with decent exterior grade paint on them, and a skin towards the court of "marine board" (another trade name is "star board"). A UV-stabalized (won't rot in the sun) HDPE sheet product available in 1/8" - 1" thicknesses. Super tough against pedals and bars and a good ball bounce.

The trick will be an anchoring system. We won't be able to avoid having to physically anchor boards or braces into the playing surface. Screws will go into asphalt, but we'd have to put anchors (much bigger holes) into concrete. Permission will have to be gotten. The differences between surfaces and layouts at different locations will probably mean some new braces will have to be custom built at each set-up.

If there's a windfall and/or a decision to go with an althletica system: the lock-together boards that Cosmo park in CoMO can be filled with water so they don't need to be fastened. Organizers will need access to a fire hydrant, and permission to use it. But, you know, 15 grand per court...


The second, much trickier, issue is financial.

There will be one-time costs for materials and building. Then there will be recurring costs for storage and transportation between tournament locations. Let's say each club in a region raised $1000 to be put towards a set of traveling tournament courts (just for round numbers, this would be too burdensome for small clubs and too easy for big ones). Let's say a pool was created with $15,000 grand for building 3 top-quality courts and an arrangement agreed on to divert 5 bucks per person of the entry fees to any tourney the boards came to for transportation costs. (Again, numbers are all imaginary).

Currently, there is no group, club, person, or agency in polo who I would trust with this much money or responsibility. I haven't asked around in a long time, so this has probably changed, but MPLS was the only club that had organized as a non-profit and could even process this much cash in an accountable way. And organizing regionally used equipment is not something I would ask or really trust just one club to handle, it being shared property and all. I just do not believe that a responsible and stable enough organization exists right now to administrate this effort. But, you know, prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong.


A third, less directly related, issue would be to think about the necessity of this more generally. If a majority agrees that this would be worthwhile, and a structure was put in place to administrate it, and everything worked perfectly, it would still make demands of host clubs in terms of space, surface, and permissions that would effectively limit who could host tournaments of this size. I respectfully suggest that the same amount of money would be best not spent at all, but better spent on a travel fund/prize purse to get winners of more manageable, one or two court, one to three city qualifying tournaments to sub-regional, regional, national, and global championships.

I loved the big, inclusive tournaments. It was essential to my polo experience and I would probably feel differently (not better or worse, just different) about this community and the sport if I had to qualify to get to smaller, harder contests to meet the people I've met. I hate to see them go, but seriously; the burden of hosting a 4 court regional limits the host pool, and collecting 15 grand for something that's only going to be used 3-5 times a year is crazy to me.

/grumpy old man rant


Thanks to Phil who is THE connection at the SF Bike Expo we have the first part of a plan like this set in motion. Well. Without a trailer yet. And Phil and his people bought the boards.

BUT: SF has potential access to boards stacked in a backyard not too far from Emperor Norton's resting place. 8 or so more 4x8's and the stack would be good for 2 FINE courts (the cow palace placement had us a little skinny, but plenty length).

Eric said he may coordinate a boards preservation party. If you're thinking it's too late cause Too Short got the first tag already. Ha.

(edit: folks defininetly not Too$hort tagged the otherwise pristine clean bathroom at the cow palace. sf bike polo and the bike expo crew cleaned up. was :and if you're reading this please go high class next time and spare our hosts' bathrooms)

For now, the boards are preserved under a tarp in a back yard. Thanks Glen, and Josh Boothby for the trailered enabling of Forrest (!!), Jason, Eric and me to hustle and make this preservation of VALUABLE POLO RESOURCES possible.

Thanks to Jacki, Shitty, and Machine too because they were there for 8/9ths of the long day of tear down cleanup and trailer stacking ( rented by Phil/Boothby/Glen so we're still looking for someone in West Marin Co or something who has a 1 ton trailer to spare and a grandmother with a barn ... ?)

  • boardz.jpg

Credo quia absurdum