You Won’t Believe But Cars Were Used To Play This Chaotic Sport Called ‘Auto Polo’ In 1912


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From Roman gladiators to wrestling theaters, by now we are pretty aware of mankind’s fixation with destruction and chaos. And an excerpt from the book Bain’s New York: The City in News Pictures 1900-1925 has revealed another sport in not so distant past that elaborates the point further.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

“Auto Polo” was the traditional game of Polo played with a twist; instead of horses, it used automobiles.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The sport was the brainchild of a Ford employee from Topeka, Kansas called Ralph “Pappy” Hankinson, in a bid to boost sales of the Ford Model T that the company had started producing in 1908.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

And you can bet your bottom dollar that Hankinson’s plan worked like a charm. Not only the Ford Sales picked up, but the sport also became a hugely popular event.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The bizarre sport had everyone on the edge of the seats, even the drivers as they were ready to jump out of the car any moment it had an accident, and boy did they have some accidents in the sport.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

It was not only dangerous for the participants, but also for the teeming millions of spectators that flocked to the arena as the mechanized vehicles went wild in the theatre of utter destruction.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The matches took place all across the country, and since they could be held in small areas and even in cold winters – unlike the conventional polo – it was a huge success in the Northern America.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The first major auto polo exhibition was held in Washington D.C. in 1912.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The sheer carnage that this sport yielded also meant that most of the cars would be completely useless by the end of the event, thus would have to be routinely replaced several times during a match.

Well played Ford, well played!

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The game’s arena usually was an open area field at least 300 feet (91 m) long and 120 feet (37 m) wide with 15-foot (4.6 m) wide goals positioned at each end of the field.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

A single match consisted of two halves (chukkars), and each team had a maximum of two cars and four men in play on the field at one time.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

Cars typically had two men sitting, one driving the car and “trying” to avoid the wreck, while the other a malletman that stood on to the side of the car as he looked to hit a regulation-sized basketball toward the goal of the opposing team.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

The cars used to reach a top speed of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), so it meant a collision would certainly mean unadulterated annihilation and possibly deaths for the drivers, although it was reported that these deaths were “surprisingly rare”.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

Thinking about trying this with your Tesla S? DON’T, as due to the fatal accidents and the brutal nature of sport it was banned altogether, turning it from a loved sport to a mere legend.

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

What are your thoughts on the sport? It does sound entertaining, doesn’t it?

Pic Credits: dangerousminds
Pic Credits: dangerousminds

 

Comment below!

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