Segway polo is a version of polo which is played on a Segway, rather than a horse. This sport takes a cue from bicycle polo and other versions of the sport which have been developed for people who would rather not use horses, for a variety of reasons, and it has its own rulebook which is customized to the use of Segways. Polo itself is an ancient sport which has been played for at least 2,000 years, with enthusiasts all over the world.
A Segway is a transportation device with two wheels and a platform on which the user stands. Using the long handle of the Segway, the user can steer the device, which has an internal mechanism to keep it balanced. Segways are very popular in some regions of the world, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Segway polo first started attracting public attention.
The first Segway polo match was played in 2003, during a Minnesota Vikings halftime show. In 2004, members of the Bay Area Segway Enthusiasts Group decided to play a match, and interest only grew; members of the group now meet twice a month for matches in San Jose, welcoming observers and guests who want to try their hand at a few chukkers, or playing periods.
Just like polo on horses, Segway polo involves two teams which try to hit balls into each other's goals with the assistance of mallets. Players move around the field on their Segways, following specific right of way rules and wearing appropriate safety gear. Play is broken into four chukkers of eight minutes long, with rest periods in between; if the match is tied after the fourth chukker, players will continue until one team wins.
One well-known enthusiast of Segway polo is Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer. He can sometimes be seen on the playing field in the Bay Area, along with members of polo teams like the Silicon Valley Aftershocks and the Oakland Junkyard Dogs. While Segway polo has a dedicated following in the Bay Area, teams can also be found overseas in places like New Zealand and Australia.
According to the Bay Area Segway Enthusiasts Group, Segway polo is “a lot like horse polo but nothing to shovel,” and this irreverent, fun-loving attitude keeps polo matches fun, friendly, and entertaining for spectators and players alike.