Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek team names—Han Polo and the Tusken Raiders, That’s What She Said, Never Nudes (Arrested Development reference FTW!)—dupe you into dismissing bike polo as faux-jock hipster hooey. The guys and gals who compete in this two-wheeled, three-on-three version of the traditionally horseback sport are as serious as a mallet to the face.
And they’re especially passionate about it in Seattle, where more than 50 teams will compete in this year’s World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships (Sept 9–11, Magnuson Park). The modern version of bike polo ramped up here in 2003 at an international skills competition for bike messengers. The winning team of the first WHBP Championships, held in 2009 in Philadelphia, hailed from the Emerald City. And local gearheads are so passionate about the sport that last November they joined members of Seattle’s dodgeball community to convince the city’s parks department to officially grant them access to tennis courts at Cal Anderson and Judkins Park for their matches.
Need more proof that bike polo is the real deal? Take a look at this hardcore hardcourt action from earlier this year:
The sport doesn’t need any validation—least of all in Seattle—and the fact that its world championships are back where the whole thing started eight years ago is a good sign that it’s not going away any time soon.
The World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships run Fri & Sat, 10–6:30, and Sun 10–5 at Magnuson Park. Admission is free for spectators.