Owned by school teacher and experienced fishing guide Tee Clarkson, Virginia Fishing Adventures leads reelers to prime fishing locales on the James and Rappahannock Rivers. The guides draw upon their extensive knowledge of the Richmond waterways and canoe rush hours during their guided trips that pay visits to little-known spots where smallmouth bass, sunfish, and striped bass converge. Personal lessons on fly fishing and casting are also available for youngsters and adults, as well as summer camps, after-school fishing programs, and non-fish-related mountain-biking excursions.
From its 57-slip floating dock on the shores of the James River, Rocketts Watersports Company rents out pontoons, fishing boats, and kayaks to prospective mariners. The comfortable marina provides space for boat owners to refuel, recharge on 30- and 50-amp power hookups, and wash off clinging squids at the complimentary showers. Day-trippers can rent out a pontoon or fishing vessel for eight-hour adventures on the river. Sporty boaters rent Bic, Surftech, and Tahoe standup paddleboards and kayaks, working out core and arm muscles as they drink in gorgeous Virginia vistas from their perch on the river.
Elegantly lit and plushly upholstered, The Byrd Theatre looks much the same as it did on its opening day in 1928—and sounds much the same, too, thanks to its centerpiece, the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Every Saturday night, resident organist Bob Gulledge takes his seat at the orchestra-pit console and might preface the evening's second-run screening of a blockbuster film with selections from Phantom of the Opera or a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The antique pipes and bells—which occupy four rooms above the stage—roar back to life with a candy-colored sonority that triggers nostalgia and wakes up any vaudeville performers napping inside.
Since 2007, The Byrd Theatre Foundation has helped facilitate the restoration and preservation of the 1,300-seat auditorium and its organ, making sure it stays State and National Historic Landmark it is today. The Byrd Theatre supplements regular screenings with year-round events, ranging from film and comedy festivals to public-arts forums.
Steve Wendt brings nearly 40 years of experience soaring the skies to his lessons at Blue Sky Virginia Hang Gliding's flight park, where he instructs gliders of all experience levels in launch methods ranging from training-hill foot launches to towing. Through personalized instruction in classes certified by the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, he hones flyers’ skills in solo and tandem hang-gliding and in piloting trikes and paragliders against elite racing pigeons. Using aero-towing, park staff members can tow pilots to heights of more than 2,000 feet, or get them airborne with platform and scooter towing.
Staff also outfit certified pilots and enthusiasts with a fleet of gliders from brands such as Aeros, Icaro 2000, Moyes, and North Wing, each made from aircraft-grade aluminum and Dacron sailcloth. In the event of regular wear and tear or run-ins with jealous paper airplanes, they can also sew sails, repair harnesses, and bend frames back into shape in a repair facility.
Praised in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for designing a 60,000-square-foot facility that resembles a country club as much as a shooting range, the owners of Colonial Shooting Academy strive to "capitalize on the social aspects of recreational shooting." The multilevel shooting range's 32 glass-paneled booths turn target shooting into a community experience. The range also hosts classes for every experience level, from the NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation to a tactical-training program for law enforcement. At the academy’s gun shop, which resembles a high-end sporting-goods store, a gunsmith is on hand for repairs and a gun vault lets guests store their arms and their diaries. Facilities further extend to Mosaic Café Express, where chefs turn local, seasonal ingredients into dishes on their ever-changing menu.
For frequent guests, the academy offers membership options. The constitution membership, for example, grants privileges such as seven private shooting lanes and access to the lounge that sports leather couches, a pool table, and a fireplace below a flat-screen television that displays a digital fireplace.
Teachers and doctors. Moms and sisters. The River City Rollergirls don't really care who you are, as long as you're ready to hit someone—and foster an environment that values diversity and gender equity in the process.
The skater- and volunteer-operated league sprouted in early 2006 as Richmond's first all-women's flat-track roller-derby association. At the start, the league featured just two teams—Poe's Punishers and the Uncivil Warriors—but has since expanded to include new members, including the Carytown Cadets, the Hollywood Undertakers, and the Jackson Wardens. All teams take falls and crack skulls as part of the Eastern region of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. But off the track, players put away their growling game faces when participating in community-outreach programs.