Anthony Gonzales started playing bike polo competitively two years ago and quickly noticed players from the Bay Area would drive seven hours to play tournaments in Los Angeles. And vice-versa.
He saw potential in Fresno's central location.
"I was like, smack in da middle baby, let's go," says Gonzales, a member of Fresno Bike Polo and organizer of Smack in Da Middle, a two-day bike polo tournament that comes to Fresno's Cary Park this weekend.
This is the third year for the Fresno tournament, which draws competitors from San Francisco and Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and Denver.
Players compete in teams of three in best-of-five matches. Last year the tournament had 24 teams and the numbers looks bigger this year, Gonzales says.
Bike polo is street hockey on bicycles or think actual polo, without the horses.
As a sport, it's has been around since the 1890s, when it was played in Ireland on a traditional polo field. The current incarnation of the sport was started in the late 1990s in Seattle by a group of bike messengers.
It's played on roofs, in parking lots and on tennis courts in more than 400 cities and 50 countries. There are hundreds of tournaments held every year, according to the League of Bike Polo.
There are many reasons to love the sport, Gonzales says, including the fact that it's so inclusive.
"Anyone can ride a bike," he says, adding that it's co-ed. "Women are kicking my butt in this sport."VIDEO
If you go
Fresno Bike Polo presents Smack in Da Middle, 10 a.m. Saturday, through Sunday, at Cary Park, 4750 N. Fresno St. Free to watch. Search Fresno Bike Polo on Facebook.