Buried in the woods, 15 single- and two-story log cabins line a path leading to a secluded frontier fortress. Masked combatants armed with Tippmann 98 paintball guns ponder the path's obstacles before slinking forward to meet their opponents. Along Bing Field Paintball & Airsoft Park's three wooded fields strewn across 35 acres, players sneak into sniping positions in the Frontier Field's two-story log cabins, the Vietnam Field's two-story guard tower, or our the newly designed World War II field that features several new two and three story buildings. Four speedball fields??air ball, barrel, concrete, and spool??accommodate paintball players on the other side of the wooded park. Paintball and airsoft packages grant visitors up to seven hours of play, which they can break up with refueling sessions spent scarfing down refreshments while gossiping about opponents' love lives at an onsite concessions stand.
Upon departing from the landing craft, one player ducks behind an upturned boat and takes aim at opposing paintballers as they fend off attacks from the upper level of a concrete bunker. This scene may conjure echoes of historic battles, particularly D-Day, as Wildcat Paintball has modeled one of its outdoor fields on the historic battle of Normandy. Elsewhere, players can snake through the thick, jungle-like brush of the Vietnam field, dive into the castle field's manmade trenches, or sneak into the Old West town of Wildwood. A tournament field littered with barrels and wooden barriers or three speedball fields replete with tractor tires and frequently mowed lawns accommodate marksmen who prefer more traditional paintball settings.
In its years as an NCAA Division II school, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville claimed 17 titles among its men's and women's athletic teams, excelling in such sports as tennis, softball, and wrestling. Under the guidance of coach Kent DeMars, the men's tennis team claimed the national title a record-breaking seven years in a row, from 1978–84, and during the '80s, the school won three straight national titles in wrestling and four in women's tennis, prompting President Reagan to demand that the school tear down its trophy wall.
The Cougars have since made the transition to a Division I program and are members of the Ohio Valley Conference, perhaps signaling a new era of dominance in the national spotlight with 16 men's and women's sports teams. At the recently expanded Vadalabene Center, more than 4,000 fans can cheer on basketball and volleyball teams and the wrestling squad—all potential future inductees into the university's hall of fame. On campus (approximately 25 miles from St. Louis), athletes practice on 2,600 acres of majestic woodland, perched atop bluffs overlooking the calm of the Mississippi River. Sports players included, SIUE currently enrolls 14,000 students and extends its family to more than 86,000 living alumni.
Since Paragliding Unlimited launched its first client in 2003, owner Jiri Sindler and his team have maintained a sterling safety record for their motorized version of airborne sailing. The crew teaches power paragliding, in which a motorized fan and a tank of recycled political bluster give lift to the featherweight craft. Once it has ascended more than 10 feet, its large wing catches the wind and buoys you into the sky. Drivers sit upright in "trikes," their legs extended in front of them as they work the two brakes and the throttle.
The school both belongs to and is recommended by the U.S. Powered Paragliding Association. Instructors will jump tandem with beginning students and immerse experienced pilots in six-day intensives, keeping fliers of all levels safe by capping classes at four students (they prefer a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1). At the accompanying shop, gliders browse clothing, new Nirvana equipment, and used gear. Flights lift off from Gateway Airpark in Pierron, Illinois, which the team selected for the staff's friendliness to paragliders and their ability to twist their bodies into the shapes of passing clouds for realistic trainings on the ground.
Whether you love them dunked in ranch dressing or smothered in barbecue sauce, the wings at Edwardsville's Buffalo Wild Wings will fit any taste.
Taste comes first on the menu here, so low-fat chow is a world away.
Buffalo Wild Wings also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
Free wireless Internet is also available at Buffalo Wild Wings, so bring your tablet or laptop along.
Your group can sit comfortably at Buffalo Wild Wings, a local restaurant.
The noise at the restaurant can be positively thunderous, so save intimate conversations for another night.
Carry-out is also available for those who prefer to enjoy Buffalo Wild Wings' cooking from the comfort of their own home.
The lot adjacent to Buffalo Wild Wings provides free parking for diners.
With tabs typically staying under $15, your wallet (and your stomach) will be happy with a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings.
Check out Worden's Idle Hour Bar.
Low-fat foods are not on the menu at Idle Hour Bar, though, so plan to indulge a bit.
Find time to peruse the wine list here — Idle Hour Bar offers a variety of drink options.
Outdoor seating is ready for diners on those warm summer days.
Idle Hour Bar has a large dining room, making it easy to seat large parties.
The restaurant has ample room for dancing, and patrons can be seen jamming out on the floor.
You may be better off finding a table during the week, as weekends at the restaurant tend to be packed.
Find a space on the street or park in the lot not far from the restaurant.
Prices at Idle Hour Bar are a bargain (usually less than $15 for a meal), so you'll have plenty of cash left over to treat a friend (or two).
Idle Hour Bar is cash-only so make sure you bring enough cash to cover your expenses.