As the AHL affiliate of their big-league Dallas namesake, the Texas Stars spared no time claiming their birthright. In its very first season—2009–10—the team conquered the Western Conference, hoisting the Robert W. Clarke Trophy and earning a place in the Calder Cup finals. Since every faceoff was past the newborn Stars’ bedtime, they ultimately fell short of the league championship, but they continue to entertain crowds of up to 6,800 at the Cedar Park Center.
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run is a unique and challenging event, pairing an obstacle-heavy running course and an attempt at breaking the record for the world?s longest mud pit with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes.
Formerly located in Tulsa, the Talons relocated their roost to San Antonio’s Alamodome for the 2012 season and soon commanded the skies, placing first in the AFL’s National Conference during their first regular season in Texas. As the players tackle opponents and lob passes on the 50-yard field, the Talons’ mascot, Swoop, pumps up fans while anxiously hoping they don’t crack the eggs incubating under their seats.
Under the new management of Tom Lawless, the 2011 Hooks—the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros—look to proclaim bat-swinging dominance in the Texas League. Baseball supporters can claim seats at Whataburger Field, which is built to reflect the feel of a classic ballpark and can hold about 7,000 Hooks fans and three times as many foam fingers. Two wristbands adorn arms and grant access to extracurricular excursions in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Kids Zone, featuring a rock-climbing wall and a chimp-free jungle gym. Along with being able to see the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium from inside the park, fans can enjoy breath-robbing views of the Harbor Bridge and mascots removing their comically oversize heads to observe the National Anthem. After the game, fans can trade their baseball caps for 10-gallon hats as they take in a concert by Tejano rockers Texas Tornados or Green River Ordinance, a quintet of aspiring environmental attorneys moonlighting as talented musicians.
Pro Performance Training Center's all-indoor facilities let athletes train regardless of the weather. The gym's large, open expanse of astroturf offers plenty of room to do baseball, softball, or volleyball drills, and there's also a room full of treadmills, weightlifting machines, and free weights for individual exercise. In addition to working one-on-one with students, the personal trainers on staff also lead small group fitness classes with intense names such as Hurricane Fitness or M.E.L.T., which stands for More Exercise, Less Time and not for the kind of sandwiches you get after class.