The 2014 Australasian Championships will be hosted in my home town of Sydney, Australia next March. Here is Tom McMahon’s teaser video.
São José dos Campos is a countryside town located nearby São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and our state’s capital. With a population of over 670 thousand people, São José is a nice place to live in… full of natural landscapes, plenty of courts and very active biking scene.
When and how did polo start here?
We started gathering people in late 2012 but only started playing for real in February 2013.
How many people play in your city?
It depends… 15-20 people show up on crowded days, but, regularly, there are around 8-10 players on court.
How often do you play?
At least once a week, on Wednesdays. The idea though is to play at least twice a week.
Tell us about your courts
There are plenty of courts in São José, however, since soccer is such a huge deal down here in Brazil, we often have a hard time occupying one specific court. Anyway, we have found a good place and been playing on it for over a month. It’s a multisport concrete court measuring around 40m X 20m. Although the surface isn’t in its best shape, the place where it is located is pretty cool, there’s a skateboard miniramp right over it and a few bars nearby.
What have you found works to get new people playing polo in your city?
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. It’s freaking crazy how many people find out about polo through Facebook. Four of our regular players learned about us through our fan page. It also works for keeping in touch with other clubs. (the São José facebook page is here)
Are there any other clubs nearby? How far away is the nearest city that plays?
We’re lucky enough to live only 100km away from São Paulo. There are many clubs out there, even the 2012 South American champs, The Underdogs and the 2013 Latin American girls champs, Tandera. They have been extremely supportive with us since day 1 and have always helped us out with everything… Also, São José is only 4 hours away from Rio de Janeiro where polo is also pretty big.
Do you play with other clubs in your country often? If so is this for tournaments for just casual?
Yeah, mostly we play with the São Paulo teams since we live so close to them. But we have also had the opportunity to play the 2013 South American Championship in São Paulo; we had an amazing experience and had the chance to meet all of the other Brazilian teams (Belo Horizonte, Rio and Brasília).
Has your city hosted any tournaments or are you hosting any soon? Please tell us about them.
Definitely… we are working on it. Since we are from a countryside town, there is a common joke that states that we’re hillbillies… or as we say it down here: “caipiras”. Anywho, we are planning to have the 1st Caipira Bike Polo Championship on January 25th, 2014. Our goal is to gather as many clubs and beer bottles as possible and have some fun around here. There is also a regional being organized for 2014. Next year will be great.
Tell us a little known fact about your city.
There is an urban legend (although it may be true) that São José was the first town in the world that had a Mc. Donald’s gone out of business.
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Name: Gustavo Prieto
City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Years played: 2 years
Occupation: Bike Messenger
Super Power: Pearl Harboring
Favourite Heckle: Well, har de har har Maggot
Bike: PBJ (argentina)
What is your best polo memory? Ardilla
Where do you see polo in 5 years time? Ruled by a bunch of kids
About your home town Friends, beach, sun, beer and music
Number of players: 20 or less
How often do you play? everyday
What is your home town famous for? Warming and welcoming people
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The Mixed Up Tournament, hosted by Hamilton Bike Polo, held in Cambridge was super fun!! The aim was to get as many girls playing as possible. Any all male team had to dress up or face a penalty. Some all male teams should have got bonus points (see Compromised above).
Once again I have an amazing time at a New Zealand tournament Thanks Hamilton for putting an awesome first tournament. Can’t wait to see everyone again in a few weeks time in Taupo xx
Photographs by Michele Ruffini and friends
Facebook: Hamilton Bike Polo
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