Since 2009, the Kansas City Dirty Duo race has helped parlay mud into money for charity. Stretched across mostly flat terrain inside Kansas Speedway, the race sends teams of two biking and running around a course nearly six miles in length. Mystery obstacles add an extra challenge to each mile, and right before the finish line, there’s a massive 40-foot mud pit where teams can to play gloopy games of Marco Polo before completing the race. Kids as young as five years old can get in on the dirty dashing, too, by joining the one-mile Dirty Duo Jr. race. Once everyone has crossed their respective finish lines, the festivities continue with a post-race celebration featuring music, food, and cold refreshments.
Across Cork and Barrel’s shelves, cubbies, and barrels repurposed into tabletops sprawl bottles of all kinds. Labels hint at the European and American provenance of a huge selection of wines. Notes of red peppers, chocolate, or fruit wait to leap from adventurous small-batch craft brews, from saisons—light Belgian ales—to potently hopped double india pale ales. Beer-brewing classes introduce the art of combining barley, hops, water, and yeast, and guests in art classes sip wine while swirling blues and greens for landscapes or portraits of Gumby weeping.
Though the city's name would seem to suggest otherwise, Independence residents must still—by law—interact with each other occasionally. Luckily, Independence Events Center serves to bring the community together, hosting everything from national concert tours to youth hockey leagues within its walls. Such stars as Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage within the 5,800-seat arena, also home to local sports teams such as the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Missouri Comets. Additionally, a community rink lets residents and nonresidents alike hit the ice for programs ranging from open-skating sessions and lessons to private rentals for Civil War reenactments.
A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
Zipping at a faster pace and racking up higher scores than their grass-stained outdoor cousins, the iconic Missouri Comets streak through MISL play from the inner orbit of the new Independence Events Center. From their midfield seats, footsport fans can enjoy an unobstructed view as they brush up on their knowledge of indoor soccer, which features six players to a side, legal plays off of walled sidelines, and the frenzied neon lights of the multi-ball round. Visitors will get to cheer on the newly resurrected team led by former Danish soccer star Kim Roentved as they go head-to-head against the Chicago Riot or the Omaha Vipers—teams that weave Midwestern footwork narratives that rival the toe-typed tales of "Handless" Studs Terkel.