Bryan returned from the Flashbus workshop in Dallas late Thursday night, and got up on Friday to go to MacArthur Park to help set up for the Southeast Regional Bike Polo tournament and play a few games of pickup. Mandy’s out of town, so I joined the group right after work to help out. To kick off the weekend’s activities, Vinnie organized a nighttime alleycat race. Participants left from MacArthur, and had to pick up packages and bike parts at various places in Little Rock. Bryan and I volunteered to staff the station atop the Big Dam Bridge. Before signing off on their ‘manifests’ we made the racers hula-hoop for us.
36 teams from all over North America came to play. There was a wide range of skill levels – some of the best polo teams in the western US and Canada were here, along with some teams made up of people who’d never played in a bike polo tournament before. On Saturday, the teams played a “Swiss Round” in order to seed the brackets for Sunday’s tournament play.
After the games were over on Saturday, everybody went to Vino’s for music and pizza and beer. On Sunday, the weather started out better but went downhill in the afternoon. Before the last two games of the tournament, we had to stop the tournament because of a bad lightning storm with hail. The last games were played on a very wet court, but despite everything, the tournament went really well and everyone had a good time.
The next week, the local polo people got together at Vinnie’s for guacamole and beer and to watch tournament videos on the big projection screen. We got to see some gory photos of Dave’s injury (he stabbed through his upper thigh with a brake lever, see video link above) and Ruth arm-wrestled Vinnie and won. And that was it – our first real tournament in the books, and a success.