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Allocating Tournament Prizes

So I just got back home (vegas) from another successful tournament held by our close friends in AZ (dpi 6.)
The overall tournament itself had few to none problems, if any problems at all.
Unfortunately, a couple of us did some thinking/talking/arguing on the trip home, and came across a (somewhat) big problem that I’d like to address.

How do you as tournament organizers and clubs decide how to divvy out prizes at the end of the tournament? What prizes (out of the gear provided by the sponsors) go to 1st place? To 2nd place? To DFL? To MVP? To Baby Bird?

DPI6 had a ton of sponsors. My facebook feed was being blown up for weeks with hype updates every single time a new sponsor signed on.
And I’m talking like, legit big names in the cycling world were signing on: Paul Components and Cinelli, just to name a couple.
Pretty sick, right?
I thought so.
Anyway, I can only assume they were hyping up the public for their tourney with all these updates to provide a bit more incentive to clubs that were interested in attending.

And it sure as hell incentivized me.
I thought to myself, “Cinelli AND Paul? Damn. Legit. If my team can play hard enough, there’s a chance for us to walk away with some sweet sweet bike swag ON TOP of playing polo all weekend with people from all around my region. Sign me up.”

Now, I love Arizona. I love the clubs there, I love the relationship our club here as with their clubs. I've never had to question anything they were in charge of, but the following is where it gets a little morally questionable.

Here is their list of sponsors.
State BIke Co.
The Heavy Pedal
Thomas Bikes
Tempe Bike
Paul Components
1/8in Bikes
Domenics 2 Wheelers
Chrome Industries
The Garage Bike Shop

A huge, diverse roster with some fantastic brands.

The prizes were split up as followed if I can remember correctly:
1st got 3 shirts, 3 EightInch Golden Mallets, and the trophy (sick trophy)
2nd got 3 shirts
3rd got 3 cycling caps

The rest of the prizes provided by the aforementioned sponsors were held by the tourney organizers. Each individual item was then put in a raffle that was open to anyone with money and the prizes were handed out randomly to whomever was lucky enough to have the corresponding raffle ticket.
Now you know how raffles work: the more tickets you have in the raffle, the more likely yours will get picked. So prizes were being handed out to the people who had more money to put into the raffle.
Some members from my club ended up winning some raffle draws multiple times because of how much money they had invested. One of us ended up winning 5 shirts from 5 separate raffle draws. Not to mention a Paul lever was raffled away to a random AZ polo supporter (on top of the 5 other things he won before that) that happened to buy a large amount of raffle tickets last second.

“I don’t even ride bikes!” he exclaimed, as one of the most sought out bike polo levers was awarded to him for simply buying more raffle tickets than anyone else. Yikes.

All clubs are different, and handle things differently. But seeing this really bummed me out.
It seemed like AZ took away from the players that worked for podium, for a chance to earn money off sponsor provisions.
Now I know for a fact that isn’t what they intended to do. But unfortunately that’s what it looks like they did, and I’m very curious to why they would take such a weird approach to handing out prizes.

I did not post this on here to tattle on the AZ clubs or to start up some beef with them.
Normally I would have talked to them personally, however I wanted everyone else’s take on how weird of a situation this is, if it’s even weird at all. We are a community, after all.

I do not speak for my entire club. I am not accusing AZ of anything.
I recognized a problem and would just like to get to the bottom of it.

I know it seems a bit like I’m being greedy and ungrateful, but come on. It was the first time I podium’d in a tournament. I was looking forward to some sick prizes.

I enjoyed the tournament. I enjoyed playing in Arizona. I enjoyed socializing with fellow southwestern players. This is just something I thought should be brought up.

Was this an actual problem that needed addressing? Or am I just a brat?

Anyways thanks,

From a tournament organizer's perspective, you have to give sponsors shout-outs on social media because they are giving you free shit and they want recognition in return. So it's not just about attracting players.
This does suck for people who don't get on the podium often, but most podium finishers have been there before and don't care too much about getting more free bike parts or whatever.
It is super tough to get sponsors to pony up cash, and reg money doesn't necessarily cover permit/insurance/court construction costs. Perhaps raffling prizes was the best way for AZ to finance their tournament. I remember it was a similar situation with prizes at DPI 5. But the tournament was so fun and well organized and awesome in many ways that I think are more important than free schwag for top finishers. Hope it was a good time this year as well.

Jeff is correct. We use the raffle to offset the cost of registration. We spend about $1500 to put on DPI each year. Registration fees don't even cover half that amount.

Many of my friends volunteer their time, talent, money and resources to make DPI special and affordable. The last thing I want is for them to feel under appreciated because they work very hard and hold a high standard. A great way to make people feel unappreciated (and unwilling to volunteer again), is to post grievances publicly instead of first seeking out understanding and resolution privately.

Ghabe, if you are lusting after a certain prize, I encourage you to speak up before awards are presented. We guess at what someone might want and assume most players on podium have specific tastes not often represented by the product we've been given.

Podium teams also received free registration to DPI 7 ($45 value). Between product and DPI 7 registration, a podium finish had a $100+ value

I think participants received a lot for their $15 investment and I'm proud we could provide so much for so little to our polo family. Our generous sponsors, PBP, and Arizona Hardcourt made that happen and I am very grateful for their involvement.

covering the registration costs of the tournament makes sense.
however, we had club members ask about it and were not given ANY answers, let alone that one.

i understand and appreciate the effort and labor of hosting a tournament, especially the one that you guys manage to host every year. we're spoiled here in vegas, and crank gamble is difficult enough without having to build new boards like you guys do. however, we know what we're getting into when we decide we want to host a tourney. we understand what work and labor we have to invest in order to have a successful tournament.

i guess what i was looking for was consistency. the first time i went to dpi, i got to witness the honor, pride, and prizes that players could earn if they worked hard enough for podium. and every tournament i've attended after showed same results. personally, that encouraged me to be more competitive in polo, and to have that not happen at this dpi confused me.

i guess it kind of irked me that the players did not have that much to show for the tournament, physically. my boys worked hard and had to deal with my whiney ass for weeks in preparation for this tournament, so i just thought they deserved more. your boys too even, those teenagers exhausted themselves to put on a good show and earned their way to podium, and all they had to show for it was shirts that could have been raffled away.

the difference in value between the podium prizes and the prizes that were raffled away made no sense. a kid with money and no interest in bikes earned a paul lever, handlebars, water bottles, and shirts. the second place players each got a single t-shirt. the fact that there was a swag raffle is not what is questionable here. the problem is how the prizes were separated and distributed.

the raffle made sense. plenty of tournaments have raffles to coffer costs. the way the prize pool was distributed did not make sense.


I don´t think there is morally anything wrong with how the club handled the allocation of prizes.

Even if it registration fees would have covered the cost of tournament, I guess the money out of the raffle would have gone into the club and not into any of the organizers pockets...

Also +1 what jeffj said. When companies sponsor tournaments they expect to be mentioned / represented / thanked on (social) media regarding the tournament.

Real talk. If registration costs don't cover event costs, don't complain. I think it's crazy that we're holding events at cost or at loss. I appreciate the fun, but it's a lot of work to make these things happen. The running average for registration seems to be somewhere between $15-20 per player. If DPI organizers are using ticket sales to help balance their budget, that's their call, and I think it's pretty cool that you can win some prizes for just being there. Even the guy who doesn't ride bikes decided to buy tickets (contribute to the event), so you shouldn't scorn him or the structure of the prizes.

It's a labor of love to put on a tournament--but still labor.

Your options are:

1 - Raise registration costs by a factor of 2 (based on Mike's post above), and let prizes go to bracket results.
2 - Keep registration costs low and use other means of fund raising.

Neither is wrong. It depends on what the host's objectives are. If you're trying to make an a tournament that is affordable (lots of players are working class Jack and Jills), then you might opt for 2.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

perfect, you brought up affordability!!!

do you know how much paul levers are? like $80.
do you know how much raffle tickets were sold for? $2
i agree. it's fucking sick to have a chance to earn some swag WHILE supporting the tournament.
but what's not sick is picturing that lever sitting in that guy's house collecting dust, where it could be on a player's bike where it's intended to be used.

a guy walked up to the tournament, wanted to support, bought raffle tickets, and won a huge, diverse pool of prizes. a player from their own club helped build the boards, played hard all weekend, had to deal with whatever bike problems or frustrations all weekend, took 2nd place with his team and walked away with just a t-shirt.

come on, am i wrong?! i feel like a crazy person!

raffles make sense! weird prize divvying doesn't!


ghabe wrote:

do you know how much paul levers are? like $80.
do you know how much raffle tickets were sold for? $2

If the organizers went out and purchased the levers, you might have more of an argument but since they were donated, the levers are $0 from the perspective of those running the raffle. Any money made off of the raffle can go to the costs associated with the event.

Better raffle prizes encourage more raffle entries which leads to more $ to support the tournament. As long as there's some level of transparency with regards to where the money from the raffle goes, I think this is a perfectly legitimate way to divvy prizes.

ghabe wrote:

what's not sick is picturing that lever sitting in that guy's house collecting dust, where it could be on a player's bike where it's intended to be used.

Raffles are random. If the person that won the lever was a polo player that bought the exact same number of tickets would you be complaining?

ghabe wrote:

a guy walked up to the tournament, wanted to support, bought raffle tickets, and won a huge, diverse pool of prizes.

Random dude supported a tournament and got lucky.

ghabe wrote:

a player from their own club helped build the boards,

As any volunteer from the host club should...

ghabe wrote:

played hard all weekend, had to deal with whatever bike problems or frustrations all weekend,

As any player would...

ghabe wrote:

took 2nd place with his team and walked away with just a t-shirt.

come on, am i wrong?! i feel like a crazy person!

raffles make sense! weird prize divvying doesn't!

If your goal is to win sweet prizes, polo isn't the sport for you right now. There are some events (Puerto Rico, Turducken, Charlottesville Skuffle, probably others) that have a cash prize. That's wonderful and more power to organizers that want to have cash prizes.

For the most part, though, sponsors can only afford to give in kind donations. As an organizer, how do you choose who gets what? Kruse won a Velolucuma frame for being the MVP at World's this year. It was arguably the most expensive single prize at the tournament but he's already got a bike he loves. How do you (as prize organizer) reconcile that?

Personally, I really like custom trophies/medals as podium prizes because they don't cost the organizers much and you don't have something you can keep in your house for a long time (or at least until next year in the case of travelling cups).

Rereading this, I might be coming off as more of an asshole than I mean to.

Basically it just comes down to putting yourself in the organizer's shoes. The organizers of DPI needed to recoup the cost of hosting the tournament. Instead of putting the burden on every player (raising reg fees), they decided to use a raffle which is their prerogative. Apparently they decided to put some of the higher-ticket prizes in the raffle, presumably to garner more interest in the raffle which is again their prerogative.

Could it have been done better? Maybe. If the podium really felt shafted, they could have let each player from the podium teams take a prize from the prize table before raffling the rest off. That would have likely lead to less raffle tickets purchased and thus less chance breaking even on the tournament.

tl;dr - Trophies for podium, raffle all in-kind prizes to generate $$ for future cash prizes and tournament expenses

Tournaments are a ton of work, don't bitch.

Also, if you are at a tournament, HELP OUT.

Huh? If I said anything in my giant-ass post, I said that the organizers should do whatever they want as long as they aren't straight pocketing the money.

I don't think that comment was directed at you Nico.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

No Nico, that was not directed at you in the slightest, just saying.


2x. 100%. Upvote. Bingo. This. Like.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

nico.p wrote:

Kruse won a Velolucuma frame for being the MVP at World's this year.

If someone can get VeloLucuma to send me this bicycle frame (since I have not received any word!) I will raffle it off... but only to people who do *NOT* play bike polo.

EDIT: I actually think it may have been stolen by some Floridian.


harkening back to the lessons of montana and saulsbery.

all you have to be is honest.

you can't change the rules half way through the game.

if your shit's mad expensive then, god-damnit, tell people it's expensive when you know. don't rely on after-the-fact-shit like "oh my god, it's so hard to organize a tournament, god, just walk a mile in my shoes, because i get no recognition got what i'm doing and it's so hard, because this is like a labor of love for me."

It's like people only do these things because they can get paid. And that's just really sad.

i hear everyone's take. and this is why i posted this, to take in other perspectives.

and i'm not afraid to say what others won't. i like to work hard, and i like earning rewards from that hard work. and i know other people are the same way.
working hard for something that is worth it is very satisfying.

i guess other clubs just work differently than others.
and to spare everyone of a "oh we host tournaments better than you" arguement i'll leave it at:
if you come to vegas for a tournament, we'll hook you up. if you've earned it.


Paul levers aren't even that sweet.

nailed it

This thread is everything that's wrong with the entitled, short sighted, selfish, individualistic people in this community.

You wrote, what, 800 words? You brooded over this. You sat there, dwelling in the negative, focusing enough energy to string together this sob story ... about how you got fucked out of a paul lever.

HOW DARE THEY... get non-cyclists and non-poloists stoked on bike polo.
HOW DARE THEY... potentially end up profiting in order to host even bigger events and do things on an organizational level for their rad youth players.
HOW DARE THEY... only give the 3rd least-shitty bike polo team a rad weekend and some spotlight

I can't believe I'm about to acknowledge this with a genuine thought:
Tournaments should end up in the black. Always.
Tournaments should cost more, to ensure this. Always.
Tournament organizers should worry less about prizes and more about the future of their scene.

Things that cost as much or more than a bike polo tournament: Beer League Softball tournament, 2-3 Large Pizzas for your friends, a Magic: the Gathering Tournament, A flat billed hat, Getting a tooth knocked out while playing bike polo for no prizes, a tattoo, a paul duplex lever.

This is the only thing that I've read in this thread, and I'm 100% with Joe. Not scrolling up. Fuck prizes.

Thank you sir^, I did host this tournament Ghabe is talking about. We started in 2009 and it has always been our goal to provide the Most fun for the least $. We take positive criticism& attempt to improve our tournament each year. We've read the threads on prize allocations in the past & have learned if you give you get. Meaning, if you provide a competitive tournament and give more people a chance to win a big prize they might get excited about bike polo too. thanks Nick for offering to auction your frame/bike to only non polo players, maybe that will add one more player that's as excited as we are about this beautiful sport.

I've only talked to you briefly in person, but your club has the only respectable (and exceedingly awesome!) youth program and youth players in north america.

You, and other tournament organizers, shouldn't have to apologize for turning a profit. I have nothing but faith in the majority of our community to put that profit to good use in their clubs. This idea that anyone needs to justify how tournament fees were spent and prizes allocated is preposterous.

I would not trust a player who is concerned with getting prizes with my registration fee. I would, however, trust the dad from phoenix who selflessly promotes the game. End of story.

You're doing it right. All of the "evidence" that this guy assembled to bring into question the "divvying of prizes" is utter bullshit and shouldn't even be entertained with reasonable responses.

niga, learn to ue a keyboard.

*THIS* thread is what's wrong?

You're so defensive.

.... HA

you removed your bigoted afterthought. Kudos.

Here's my original post that he thinks he got me on:

*THIS* thread is what's wrong?

You're so defensive.

Lighten up, faggot.

Call me out more, homie.


so the question is: what do you think the outcome of my typing "faggot" is going to have?

you're so full of creative interpretations... i'm waiting with baited breath to see your reply, rule maker.

edit: and the funny thing is that you don't know how many people i've pleasured in my life. you automatically assume i'm a homophobe. maybe you're the square thinker in this equation, roustem. (quote me on all the edits)

if you're lookin to have an "ah-ha, GOTCHA" moment then your'e barkin up the wrong tree... there've been plenty of people before you that've tried to trump me on the language i use and you're probably not smarter than them.

...so what else you got?


  • Stephen-Colbert-Popcorn.gif

What does he need to say in response? You deleted it. You must have had a reason. If you're not worried about the language you use, you have a funny way of showing it. FWIW, I think it's good you elected on your own to edit your post. I hope it was out of some good conscience in you that knew it was a shitty thing to write.

Combination of choice: Smash + Bang

My original reason was that I was being flippant while addressing his severely hyperbolic post and I didn't feel like a bunch of squares would understand that, and it would lead to having to explain it--like I'm having to do now, not because I was trying to hide some deep seeded hate via the edit button.

My point is, what impact was that dude hoping to have by trying to tell on me for a post I changed two seconds after I made it?That's what I'm curious about. Obviously it was a post that was only live for seconds and probably only he saw... but yet he wanted to "get" me by editing his own post to tell me I'm a Bigfoot (sorry, auto corrected, too funny to change back).

hate hate hate

Ding ding!

My cup runeth over with blood and not wine

For Masters this year, participants have to bring prizes. You also have to pay to stay at my house, pay for the food, rent floor space, and a nominal fee for the wifi password. Probably a per beer fee on the free keg(s) I'm trying to line up. You'll love those free t shirts now.

Krista's cooking is easily restaurant-worthy. This is relevant :)

You also have to pay for the trophy when you win.

On a serious note, when I was way into tourney disc golf and winning plastic, by friends and I would sell the winnings or donate them to our tourneys to raise money for our club. Or give the discs away to people learning the game. The same can be done in polo, provided you aren't a selfish fuck.

Kids in VEGAS talking about random people throwing down money on raffle tickets; I.e gambling.; and winning. And here we are 2014.

Don't do it for the prizes, don't do it for the fun, don't do it for the money, do it ALL for the nookie.

stick it in your YA bub

All I wanted was a Pepsi.

In Sydney we made a decision many years ago not to chase down random sponsors or even polo related sponsors for prizes at our local tournaments. There were a few small companies supporting bike polo that weren't making much money themselves and we thought we were exploiting them, knowing that players probably weren't going to end up buying anything from them if they won it at tournaments. In the past, most of our tournaments have been free or $10 per player at the most. As people have said, of you are in it for the prizes, you are playing the wrong sport.

We are hosting the Australasian Championships in a few weeks time and we are charging $150 per team, the highest amount ever charged in our region and it is still less than half of what we need to rent the space and build the courts. This time we are seeking merchandise from sponsors and we intend to raffle most of this to try to come up with the rest of the money we need. I don't see anything wrong with this. As it is, some of our club members will still be out of pocket when it is all over.

People's expectations are definitely growing on what a top level tournament should be. You either need to be prepared to pay a lot more to get this (or accept that the donations from sponsors might be used to pay for what you aren't prepared to give)

do I see some materialists here?

El Vaquilla hubiese jugado Bike Polo.

If you are doing it for the prizes you are doing it wrong.

Do it to have fun. Do it to win. Do it for lots of good reasons. But not because you expect to win a prize.

And because I can't answer anything without going on and on:


In short: yes, you're being a brat.

Crusher in Chief

Eastsides this year are costing my club almost as much as the cheapest NEW car.
You might get prizes, you'll likely get a tshirt, and my club will without a doubt be in the black afterwards.
Podium finishers get a spot in NA's. That's a fucking prize.

I'd honestly suggest that OP take it upon himself to host a tournament this season, and then see if that adds some perspective to his post.

Shit ain't cheap, at all. Aside from $$, it takes an assload of help from your club and surrounding clubs to make it happen cleanly.

Paul Love Levers are $49 bucks on eBay. Less than team registration for most tourneys.
If you're more concerned about flashy parts, stop entering tournaments.

agile for my size.

Is it too late to jump on the group shaming bandwagon?

Just so long as you bring your own rotten vegetables to throw, you'll be alright.

Crusher in Chief


They made it too easy...Ghabe basically built their own stocks and locked themselves inside with their original, and all proceeding, posts. Public shaming ensues, I mean, it is the internet...

shotgun your bike!

Best thread in a LONG time.


Ghabe, I love you, but they're just prizes. I think your prize should be a personal, mental one; it was your first time on the podium. You've been to past DPI events; the AZ crew literally takes an empty parking lot, and creates two 130x50 courts over the space of two days. They take off of work, school, and get up at 4:30 in the morning, then work on the courts until sundown. As if that wasn't enough, they recruit local companies & supporters to feed the players (mostly with home made food), and bring out generators for the PA systems & Podium screen. AZBP isn't a huge club, number-wise, but they're dedicated as anything.

I will *never* be on the podium (because I forever suck), and 95% of the prizes I've gotten were for DFL. I don't care. And now I'm going to get philosophical:

When you're old & crusty someday, and you're physically or mentally unable to play anymore, do you think you'll still have that Paul brake lever at your bedside, holding it & reminiscing? No. You're going to remember the great time you had that weekend, that you played your best & got a podium finish out of it. Winning material things, in my opinion, shouldn't figure into the equation. It should be about the experience.

DPI has operated this way for years. I totally support them deciding how to divvy up sponsors donations as they see fit.

Organizing Ladies Army 5, we had sponsorship levels, we also received very generous sponsorships, a lot of it cash, which helped off-set the $10,000 budget (yes, it cost $10,000 to pull of that three day weekend). Registration money covered a good deal of the costs, but raffles and side events help off-set the rest. We ended up with more money than we expected and now have a healthy bank account and have invested wisely in infrastructure so we can successfully host a tournament in the future. The club put in the hard work and now the club gets to reap the benefits.

I encourage you to enjoy polo for the camaraderie and the competition; for the opportunity to bring home new skills and the drive and desire to do better, both on and off the court. This goal of playing for prizes instead of bragging rights, and the slippery slope of sponsorship, may become bike polo's cautionary tale.

I also want to add that AZ Bike Polo sponsored Ladies Army 5. Jeff Boyd, out of his own pocket (Jeff Boyd by the way is a great grandpa, and key organizer of DPI and could kick your ass for a number of reasons any day of the week - and this man KNOWS how to build and maintain community), made three mallets to give as the DFL prize. He even threw in three fabulous AZ beer coozies. Jeff Boyd understands what bike polo needs: give people the tools and encouragement (mallets) to get on the court, and don't take yourself so seriously - have a good time (the coozies).

Don't worry about it dude...

All your post did was ask a few questions in a fairly unabrasive way. You didn't call anyone names and you were looking for some respectful feedback. Then the hate bandwagon rolls through and people are writing blog posts--with the same threadbare angle as always--to drive traffic to their own site by calling you names and shit. Coincidently those are also the same type of people who will bemoan that other dude's site who talks shit on bike polo and calls people names.

They're also some of the same types of people who will say *you* need to be more respectful of people and their work, but have no problem calling you names for trying to engage in regular conversation that "community" has. Then you'll get a full on ear beating about how you need to be a better community member and not question the volunteers because they're, like, volunteers. Some people will say you've got an entitled attitude, but they fail to realize they're acting the same way--just because they volunteer for something, or drop a couple bucks doesn't entitle them to be free from answering peoples' questions. It goes both ways.

Some of the replies were nice (Lisa and Dus) and actually tried to explain it without cutting you down--that's the kind of thing that actually builds the community. Maybe you should try to host a tournament, I don't know, like someone else suggested it may give you some perspective. I'm not sure it's really necessary, though, as long as you can ask questions nicely and have them answered nicely there's really no reason to go through it unless you want to. We hosted a tournament a few years ago, we (Will from NO, actually) lost some money and almost none of us played in it so we could run it--and I do a lot of non-bike polo volunteer work on my own dime (just in case anyone wants to start telling me I need some perspective too)--so I feel like I'm not talking out of school when I tell you that you really weren't out of line with what you asked, so don't sweat it.

Ghabe. Did I just see a post that you got MVP at this tournament? If so, take the bragging rights and leave it at that.

remember that time we opted to sell bling saddles instead of giving them as prizes?
that was a good decision.

Yeah, absolutely that prizes are secondary to the issues that need attention. And seriously, if a club finds that they don't have enough cash to hold a tourney, but they can offset costs with all the schwag given to them by sponsors... goddamn! Sell it! Raffle it! Do whatever you can so your club doesn't go broke or in debt!
A club that can generate a substantial revenue after expenses from holding a tourney will be better equiped for the next tourney they choose to hold. Continuing a great cycle.

You want a prize? Acknowedgement for your hard earned playing? Balance and fairness for what gets raffled and what gets to be a prize? Then I fear that you may be toting the line that proffessional athletes deserve million dollar contracts while those who bring us the infrastructure to actually play are left bleeding and sweating for your own personal gain.

and in addition, yes it's good to bring this topic up.

Our recent 2V2 tourney, we tried an open table approach for the prizes and called up winners then positions like MVP, best kisser, most entertaining etc... those last had been voted by ballots handed out during the end of the competition. But I heard some grumbling about inconsistency, some big items didn't get had by the winners. And it was a bit of a scrum at the table. Next time, I'd opt to do that differently.
The point of this though, is that it was a non issue during the whole day, before and after. No one cared about prizes. What did happen was once the prizes where tangible, right there, then we tend to get a little (greedy) for lack of a better word.