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Play Polo in Missoula (No Horse Necessary)

Photo courtesy of Jeff Moser/

As I was driving home from an event at UM last week, I noticed flashes of movement in the parking garage next to the library.

Campus was otherwise dark and deserted, so I was intrigued. I slowed down and peered curiously into the slats separating the structure’s concrete levels. I saw a group of kids riding bikes. They weren’t moving in any particular direction, and I could have sworn they were carrying sticks. I squinted my eyes and curled my lips into a confused half-smile as I muttered, “Hmmm. I wonder what that was.”

I sort of forgot about it until I drove by the same parking garage in full daylight a couple of days ago. When I got home, I decided to do some research. I plugged some odd word combinations (bikes+sticks+Missoula) into Google, and a few minutes later, I stumbled upon a blog run by a group known as Polo Bikes of Missoula. At the top of the page, they cleverly made use of a phrase familiar to Bon Jovi fans: “On a steel horse we ride.”

I was surprised to learn that apparently, bicycle polo is a thing — and a popular thing at that. According to the group’s blog, members meet Thursday and Sunday evenings to get their polo on. From what I gathered, they are serious in a not-so-serious kind of way. It’s not exclusive — anyone with a bike can join in the fun. But they do keep score, and they do have an official shield.

The group doesn’t always meet at the UM garage, but it’s definitely a good place to avoid slick surfaces in the wintertime. And it’s not a bad way to get in some fun and exercise as we make the final push to spring.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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