Midwest Open 1 Recap Part 2: The Tournament Begins

*This was written back in Dec. 2010 and never posted till now.*

After a fitful night of sleep, having witnessed the prior evening’s debauchery, we arose just in time to get the train rolling from the hotel. After a quick breakfast, the player meeting commenced, where we were informed of the local customs and schedule. At once, the games were underway, with our own Mr. Do on the opening joust, in a battle against clubmates.

Jerry was shooting like a laser for PB&J, and Kat had some great offensive plays with Hot Lava.

Kat Sweeping Up

Kat Sweeping Up by bjornery on flickr.

Peanut Butter & Jerry (Sven, Dustin & Jerry) opened by beating Hot Lava, then lost two in a row against some super-tough teams: MWBPC8 MVP Chris Simpson’s team Killer Boots (5-2) and Lexington’s Red-Bearded Boner Makers (4-1). They won their next game against Beard Face from Little Rock 3-1, and made it into the Double Elimination bracket by beating Medusa’s Quiver (Pittsburgh) 5-1. PB&J ended up ranked 7th in their group of 25 with a record of 3-2-0.

Hot Lava (Kat, Landon & Greta) lost the aforementioned game to hometown glorykillers PB&J, but then won their second game against Louisville 3-2. They tied with Two Lads & A Lass, then lost to Rage Coma 3-2. I’m missing a game, but they ended up 2-1-1 and did not advance to the double-elimination brackets.

In the afternoon (well, evening…it was basically dark), The Placeholders (Wade, Ramon and I) played Wardens (Capt. Jake, Matt Hewitt, Zach)—who ended up in 3rd place. Obviously outmatched, we lost 4-0. We then beat Pittsburgh’s All-American Badass 2-1. We had an A-court matchup against Chicago’s Team Adorable in what was the most fun game of the tounrament for me, losing to them 2-1. We then moved over to C court, under the light orbs. Lighting was bad, but it affected each team equally I think. The Placeholders lost 2-0 to Lex’s Lady & The Tramps (sorry for hitting you in the face, Rich!) In our last game, we beat Cerebral Ballsy (Chicago) 2-0, but it wasn’t enough to get us into the bracket with a 2-3-0 record.

Ebbin and Ben

Ebbin and Ben by bjornery on flickr.

Get Some Five Dollars, hereinafter referred to as Get Some, were better suited for the task of tournament victories with their matching jerseys (designed by Ebbin himself) and secret weapon—Nick D. They opened with 0-0 tie against the D.C./Florida team Beginner’s Luck, shut-out (5-0) Cerebral Ballsy, then beat Shit Show (Birdie’s great team with female MVP Maija) 5-3.

Ebbin and Ben

Ebbin and Ben by bjornery on flickr.

After their first loss to Hunter’s Heroes (4-3), they were still ranked 5th in the evening group with a game to play. It was a sweet game, and the Heroes took 2nd place in the tournament, a testament to Get Some’s defensive skills. Their final win was a comeback against King Shin Beef from St. Louis. At the end of the rounds, they were 3-1-1.


Nick by bjornery on flickr.

Having all had a hard day of polo, we returned to the Sidecar to secure cheap food and liquid refreshment. More merriment ensued.


MPLS BIKE PILE by bjornery on flickr.

Midwest Open Recap Part 1: Intro

Our club was proud to represent strongly at the First Midwest Open Bike Polo Tournament, held November 13-14, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky. With 12 poloists and a small army of mechanics, trainers, medical staff and cosmetic technicians from the B-pool at the world-reknowned Aveda Institute, our four teams arrived in Lexington beginning Thursday late at night.

I drove with Ramon and Wade, pulling the first long stretch to Dubuque, Iowa before turning over the keys to Wade. We hit the road a bit later than Greta, Dustin and Landon, but managed to catch up to them in Indianapolis for a quick rest with our Indy friends.

After a few more hours on the road, we made it to Lexington and navigated to our lodgings. Upon arriving at the hotel, we began to break the rules almost immediately with 6 people in the room and a pile of bikes outside.

Friday morning we were able to sleep in, and as we were getting going, the remaining two teams arrived looking haggard from their overnight journey.
Dustin by the Bike Truck
Some of us headed to the courts and the rest remained at the hotel. We talked to Nick and Grant about food and most of us headed down to a great breakfast spot with a silly name: Doodles. Cheese grits, get some!

After that, Landon, Greta, Wade and I cruised around Lexington checking out old stuff and nature. We visited the bike shop Pedal Power and got some pizza at one of two hippy-ish establishments we would visit over the weekend, Magic Mushroom. This is where we met Sharly.
[flickr-gallery mode=”tag” tags=”mobpt,tourist” tag_mode=”all”]
After dark, we went back to the courts and played some pickup, then headed over to the Sidecar to pre-register and get some beverages. In addition to being the coolest tiny bar I’ve been in, they had a decent beer selection and cheap beans and rice. We ran into lots of polo friends old and new. After we had dispensed with pleasantries and adjusted to our surroundings, we derbied the DIY bike shop that was about to open in the back. The shop is called Broken Spoke and they’re doing cool stuff, sorry we had to go and smash into stuff.

We will derby in your DIY bike shop.

As we were leaving, it was announced that Al’s, the bar next door, was having a two-for-one whiskey shot special. When in Kentucky…. So much for getting to bed early.

Be sure to continue on to Part Two: The Tournament Begins.

Epic MWBPC8 Thank You

To everyone who came to the tournament last weekend, my biggest thanks! It was a great mix of awesome people from all over helping us pull off this massive undertaking. We’re working on preparing the results and our media for the web, as well as our budget, and will share all of that as soon as we can.

If ordered a shirt, paid for it and didn’t receive it, or would like to buy a shirt, send me an email and I’ll get it to you somehow. We have a few odd ones left, and are considering a reprint if there’s some interest. I’m printing the posters this weekend and those of you who ordered and paid for them will receive them in the mail. I’ll post the final design and purchase instructions on mplsbikepolo.com after they’re printed. Sorry about not having them ready for the tournament, I was unable to get studio time in the days leading up to the tourney.

At the awards ceremony, I didn’t really have the time to get into the details of how much everyone contributed to our event.

First, a lot of you don’t know Landon very well. He put untold hours into the tournament software we barely used, put up cash to finance the event while we were waiting for registration and sponsorship, and worked with Franklin to get goals and balls. He did almost all the heavy lifting in getting our non-profit set up. He also really helped bring everything together over the last couple of weeks. Of course, he was there all through the tournament running the numbers and partying hardcore.

Dustin, Landon’s brother AKA Mr. Do, coordinated our facilities. He did a shit-ton of work to make the boards, goals, bathrooms and surfaces work. He bought and returned $1200 of lumber at Home Depot, then talked down the guy at another store—getting the plywood for $400. Without his van, tools, cash, attitude and unemployment, the tournament would not have gone off as well. He reffed the shit out of about 1,000 games.

Jerry and Nick basically designed the boards (with committee input, naturally) and wrote the lumber order. John let us destroy his back yard while making and storing the boards. Nick rented a U-haul trailer and provided his personal vehicle to transport the boards. Jerry reffed a lot of games too.

Pretty sure the entire crew contributed to the construction of the boards at some point, but Dustin, Ebbin, Jerry, Jeff, John, Nick, James, Sven and Kat did most of the sawing and screwing. On Friday night, we got a ton of help from out-of-towners to get the boards built on-site expeditiously. On Sunday night we got tons of help striking and transporting the boards, but we want to especially thank the crews from Winnipeg and Ann Arbor who stuck around until the finish.

Ebbin, Jaimie (who couldn’t be at the tournament) and Kat coordinated most of the food preparation, storage and service. This is one of the things I wish I had called out more specifically at the awards ceremony. We got an account at a supplier, and these three, with the help of Sven and non-player Greta, put a great deal of effort into making sure all of our players were well-fed. Their work was supplemented by our food sponsors Pizza Lucé and Bruegger’s Bagels.

Kat handled most of the housing arrangements, matching players up with local hosts. Awesome, everyone had a place to sleep! She also reffed tons of games. Galen at the Oakeshott Institute housed 10 teams at their arms & armor shop inside a church. Thanks to Jonny Hunter for the connection.

Sven and Ebbin did most of the sponsor work, helping to hook us up with cash to run the tourney and prizes for players. The super-awesome Beau Layman created the Minnesota Medals and Most Heart prizes. The contributions of our sponsors cannot be overstated.

John G aka Johnny Freewheel, in addition to working on board design and construction, got us power and sound at the courts through his employer. We wish we could have had it both days, but rain will be rain and it was really nice to not have to run around and yell all day on Sunday too.

Laura, one of our occasional players, worked with her non-profit, the One Small Circle Foundation, to fund MWBPC8 as part of their mission to support micro-communities while teaching students about finance and community support.

In addition to our stellar crew of local poloists, we got some help from some outsiders that don’t quite qualify as sponsors but definitely did their part, whether due to my coercion or out of the goodness of their hearts.

Bob Waitz helped us track down a lot of 2x4s and 2x6s that went into constructing the boards, and helped us transport them from the far suburbs into the city. The lumber itself came from Marty, whose barn was destroyed by a tornado, and the lumber was taking up space on his property. Stu Raymond lightly abused his position to help us get our printed materials (spoke cards, game forms, player packets) ready in time for the tournament, even if the designer (ahem) was running super-late. Greta was at Dunwoody most of the time running errands (read: buying booze for Landon and I), but also cooked a shitload of rice and did almost any task assigned to her. Kristin helped us do some sales and opened up some time for us to work on data management. It was her first bike polo experience!

Dave and Maggie from Tillie’s Bean, in addition to being our coffee sponsor, provided us with additional water vessels, helped us sling raffle tickets, and were an all-around awesome addition the the tourney. Landon and Dustin’s mom Ronnie took a ton of photos, helped us get party beer, and was our raffle drawer. Gene and the whole staff at One On One Bicycle Studio made the insane Saturday party possible, and never seemed to be irritated that a bunch of out-of-towners were ruining their reputation with the neighbors. Jarret and the bar staff at the 501 Club were helpful and accommodating as usual. We also received substantial cash donations from my sister, Letta, and Lucky from St. Louis.

MWBPC8 Tournament Update

Our crew of dedicated players and sponsors are hard at work to make sure the MWBPC8 coming up this weekend is a blast for everyone! Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about the tourney.

The courts are located in one lot on the southwest corner of downtown Minneapolis at Dunwoody College. We are constructing courts from scratch for the site. The three courts will be 120’x60′, with 2′ walls, braced and weighted, with additional height for goal backstops. Goals are 72″ (w) x 32″ (h) x 30″ (d) with nets.

Friday night pre-registration will be at the 501 Club in downtown Minneapolis. We’ll have someone there after 7pm. We’ll accept cash, check and credit card payment for online and new registrations. You can get your player packet, t-shirts, and posters there as well. Beers, food, awesome music lineup and a great place to meet up with your hosts. A lot of our crew will be down at Dunwoody constructing courts—if you feel like helping, it would be appreciated. Bring a drill! There is also a faction attending the Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers in the new Target Field. The stadium is just a couple of miles from Dunwoody and the 501.

Saturday morning we’ll open registration and start up breakfast at 8am. Players can check in and register on-site, we’ll be able to accept cash, checks and hopefully credit cards (depending on our internet connection—we’re a ways from the building). We’ll have the MANDATORY (!!!) player meeting at 9:30, where we’ll discuss rules, last minute particulars, and tournament structure.

Games will begin at 10am on Saturday and continue until about 8pm. Games will be scheduled in batches at the end of each Swiss round. There will be at least one Swiss round on Sunday morning at 10am. We anticipate the 24-team double-elimination phase of the tournament to start at about 1pm and continue until about 7pm.

Saturday night, we will be partying in the legendary alley behind the One On One Bicycle Studio in downtown Minneapolis. There will be beverages. There will be derbies. There will be pickup polo.

The tournament itself will consist of 6-8 rounds of Swiss-style tournament to rank the 24-team double-elimination tournament. Game length will be determined at the close of registration on Saturday morning. The teams will be split into two groups for the Swiss rounds. One group will play first, from 10-3, and the other 3-8, with additional rounds on Sunday morning. We expect Swiss round games to be 10 minutes each, with 15 minutes allotted for a set of 3 concurrent games. Games will be played to time, ties are recorded as ties. At the end of each round, ranking will be updated and the next round of competitors scheduled. Initial Swiss round ranking will be determined by a combination of self-rankings provided during registration and the opinion of the tournament organizers. Ranking at the end of each round play teams with like records, avoiding rematches and intra-league games. Other game statistics may factor into rankings.

A referee will start the game, watch time, record statistics and assign penalties. We will do our best to accurately record and share game statistics, but we ask that players understand we’re talking about a lot of data! We will try to have goal judges for every game, but the referee will have the final say on goals. Please see the expanded rules here. We expect players to referee one game and goal judge two games during the swiss tournament, however we will not be assigning refs and judges.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from the grounds of Dunwoody College. Please do not bring or consume alcoholic beverages on the campus. You may wish to note, for your off-court party needs, that all liquor stores in Minnesota are closed on Sundays.

We ask that you bring a container for water, coffee and tea and permanent dinnerware for breakfast and lunch. We’re trying to keep our waste to a bare minimum and bringing your own makes a huge difference.

There will be breakfast and lunch for registered players, as well as coffee from Tillie’s Bean and water all day. See Sven’s post on The League for a detailed menu. Local food cart Chef Shack will be on site with more delicious snacks! The tournament is located quite centrally, and there is ready access to a wide variety of goods and services nearby, including bars, restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops. Check out the map with all of the official locations on it. Thanks, Sven!

There will be a well-equipped mechanic from Freewheel Bikes on site during the tournament.

As of Monday afternoon, National Weather Service is forecasting Mostly Sunny with high of 78 on Saturday and 83 on Sunday. You should bring sunscreen and insect repellent. There isn’t much shade in the area, so if you can borrow a shade tent from someone, you will probably enjoy it!

If you have any questions, let us know and we’ll try to get an answer to you all quick-like! Thanks for coming everyone!

Shipping Your Bike To MPLS

If you’re coming to Minneapolis for MWBPC8 and want to ship your bike, we have worked out arrangements with our super awesome mechanical sponsor Freewheel Bikes. Freewheel operates a bike shop on the Midtown Greenway that is accessible to air travelers via Hiawatha Light Rail. Please follow the instructions provided by Freewheel below to ship you bike in advance of the tournament.

    Shipping Your Bike To Minneapolis

  • We have made arrangements with Freewheel’s Midtown shop to receive bikes shipped in by out-of-town players.
  • Freewheel has a public shop at their Midtown location; you can re-assemble your bike with real tools and a repair stand for cheap.
  • Please call Freewheel before you ship your bike to let them know it’s coming! (612-238-4447)
  • Please clearly write your first and last name on the outside of the box to make things easier for the shop.
  • UPS and FedEx are recommended. Other carriers may not know how to get from the loading dock down to the shop; it’s complicated…
  • Arrange for shipping to Freewheel Midtown’s address as follows:

    Freewheel Midtown Bike Center
    attn: bike polo tournament
    2834 10th Avenue South
    Minneapolis, MN 55407

    Shipping your bike back home:

  • Shipping must be arranged by you, simply using Freewheel’s location as the pickup point.
  • If you don’t want to box it yourself, Freewheel charges $50 to disassemble and securely box a bike for shipping.
  • Free cardboard bike boxes are almost always available; you can box it up yourself if you’d prefer; bring packing materials!
  • Make sure your boxed bike is at Freewheel when it is scheduled to be picked up. UPS usually comes through early in the day.

Minneapolis Bicycle Polo Inc.

Too Legit for Polo
I’m proud to announce that our club is officially a Minnesota Non-Profit Corporation, making it the first in North America to incorporate (to our knowledge)! Our President is Kat, Landon is the Treasurer and I am a non-titled board member. We organized the corporation so that we could accept checks from sponsors, process MWBPC8 registrations on-line, write checks to vendors, and pursue partnerships to create a dedicated, polo-specific court in Minneapolis. Pending federal 501(C)3 status will mean that sponsor contributions are tax-deductible.
Although the fees seem a bit much, the process is pretty straightforward—as long as you’re willing to read a lot of statutes and have arguments with your friends about Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, board membership, and banking institutions. If anyone out there is interested in incorporating their club, drop us a line and we’d be happy to answer questions. Same goes for anyone who want to donate to the club or sponsor the MWBPC8. Think we’re sell-outs? Trash talk accepted below!

Update: London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association claims the World’s First on this one.

Stupor Bowl 13 Garage Polo

Last Friday night after the Stupor Bowl 13 pre-registration party at the Nomad, the polo crew, including a number of our friends from Milwaukee, cruised over to the garage and got in some late-night polo on a dark and slippery court. Everyone went down at some point on the slush that was just above the freezing point in the out-of-bounds zone. That said, it was a lot of fun until the ultra-passive transit employee sort of told us to leave, kind of. Well enough, I thought, as it was 2 a.m. and I had to get ready to race. If you’re interested, visit my blargh for a race recap and photos.

Ebbin Attacks!