Hidden Hills Equestrian Center's owner and trainer, Stephanie Howard Gingles, shares her equine-related wisdom with casual and competitive riders during horse-riding lessons, which cover English-, hunter-, and jumper-style riding techniques and horse-care methods. Hidden Hills Equestrian Center's owner and trainer, Stephanie Howard Gingles, shares her equine-related wisdom with casual and competitive riders during horse-riding lessons, which cover English-, hunter-, and jumper-style riding techniques and horse-care methods. The facility’s lush, emerald expanses and white fences reserve a spacious area for advanced lessons in jumping and horse showing. Students can borrow one of Hidden Hills’ horses for riding lessons and fast-food runs, or can bring along their own steeds. Horse owners can also find adequate lodgings for their four-legged companions in Hidden Hills’ boarding stalls, which include grooming, feeding, and blanketing services.
Along Stepping Stone Farm's 130 acres of pastures and tree-studded hills, owner Courtney Huguley provides opportunities for students to hone horsemanship skills and connect with natural surroundings. During lessons, Courtney and assistant instructor Elizabeth Stevenson teach students the basics of saddleseat riding, a traditional English style from which many other methods have originated, including jousting with swimming noodles. Once students gain comfort and confidence during private lessons, the instructors introduce them to group lessons with up to four other riders to master walking, trotting, and synchronized neighing.
Weeklong summer camps are also available for younger riders. During these sessions, each camper is assigned to one specific horse, learning responsibility and companionship.
280 feet per second. That's the speed limit at Central Alabama Paintball. Although some paintball guns are capable of catapulting pellets at much higher speeds, staff here check each gun's speed to ensure a safe, fun, and comfortable experience for every player. They also require that everyone use the field's own paintballs, specially formatted to splatter at lower impacts—without staining clothes, which is especially helpful at paintball weddings.
Refs at Central Alabama Paintball are paid professionals who brief every player on rules and equipment operation. To ensure fair play, they also group paintballers by skill level. The staging area's sound system announces whether each game is for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players, and solo players can join a team matched to their ability level.
With safety firmly in place, the fun can begin. The round starts, and paintballs soar over one of five outdoor fields with obstacles such as wooden spools and giant inflatables, or the full mock-town field. It's common to see birthday parties, family reunions, and other celebrations darting around the field. In addition to amenities such as a large covered deck, a grill and fire pit, and setups for cornhole and horseshoes, the field boasts lower-impact guns suitable for players as young as age 6.
Debuting in spring 2013, the Xtreme South Football League features semi-professional teams from all across Dixie. Its 14 teams include representatives from Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and eight squads hailing from Alabama. As one of those eight teams, the Alabama Crusaders give Birmingham Metro, Jefferson, and Shelby County football fans with a home team to cheer for. The Crusaders' main goal is to develop local talent: they give players an alternative to going overseas or posing as a peewee team's tackling dummy just to stay in the game. Fans can watch those players display high-octane athleticism during home games, which take place atop the gridiron at Pelham High School.
Literature, music, and food come together at Taste of Pelham, an annual fundraising event that benefits Pelham Library Guild. Shelby's, Cozumel Grill, and more than two dozen other local restaurants will serve up samples that—according to Pelham Library Guild president Debbie Parrott—add up to the equivalent of a five-course meal for each guest. Lauded authors and celebrities such as MasterChef winner Whitney Miller will be in attendance, and a local jazz band sets the auditory ambiance. Pelham Library Guild plans to use the funds from the event to build a new library for the community.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.