As Seen on

Bicycle polo rolls into Oklahoma

Sport has gained recent popularity on West Coast

Published: February 24, 2009

Maybe Los Angeles has a lot of stuff Tulsa doesn’t have. Maybe that’s why Phillip Dillon wanted to try living there.

He had never heard of bike polo, for example. The game has been around since at least the 1890s, when tournaments were first organized in Ireland.

But it didn’t become trendy on the West Coast until a few years ago, starting in Seattle and Portland, then moving to California.

Dillon lived in Los Angeles for a year before moving back to Tulsa in December. And he thought it was too bad no one had started bike polo here.

In Tulsa, he found space in the back of an old warehouse across the street from where downtown’s new baseball stadium is under construction.

About the size of a basketball court, the playing field is surrounded by waist-high plywood walls.

Orange construction cones mark the goal lines. And open doorways provide just enough light, with the afternoon sun casting long shadows across the concrete floor.

In the makeshift sport of bike polo, it’s a tradition for players to make their own mallets.

Games keep going until a team scores five goals — sometimes a few minutes, sometimes half an hour.

With the groundwork under way for the Tulsa Drillers’ new ballpark across the street, crews are using the front part of the warehouse for storage. As construction picks up speed, Dillon expects his bike polo court to be crowded out.

Players might try using the parking lot out back, but the asphalt slopes toward the street, making balls roll unpredictably.

Dillon hopes, instead, to ask the city parks department for a permanent site.