A Triple-A affiliate of the 2010 and 2011 American League Champion Texas Rangers, Round Rock Express players bat, slide, steal, and knock spherical things out of The Dell Diamond. Managed by former Rangers' outfielder Bobby Jones, the team receives its silent hand signals and coaching from former major-league player Spike Owen, pitching coach Terry Clark, and star of Major League: Back to the Minors Scott Bakula. Watch this squad of dynamos take on their bat-swinging foes, and catch air-conditioned respites in the chic, WiFi-enabled Intel Club during slow innings, rain delays, or catastrophic nacho spills.
As members of the NBA Development League, the Toros serve as the minor-league affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, fostering the NBA's future stars from the moment they hatch from their locker-room cocoons. In 2012, the franchise won its first-ever D-League championship, spurred by the home crowd's raucous celebrations, which are led by the Capital City Dance Team and mascot Da Bull. As an extension of their commitment to developing young talent, the Toros also host youth development camps, providing players in grades 4–9 with the opportunity to develop their potential before high-school physics class teaches them that slam dunks are impossible.
Terrain changes fast in Hill Country. The landscapes on Texas Paintball’s 40 acres, for example, transform from flat, open fields to foothills to wooded valleys. This dynamic terrain naturally lends itself to a variety of playing scenarios, which the owners capitalize on with nine fields such as requisite air-ball and hyperball fields and custom-designed wooded grounds with names such as Normandy and Trenches. Texas Paintball also has more fields in the works, including an upcoming saw-mill field where players can stalk stacks of timber while battling to control a two-story mill.
On these fields, crews divide up players according to experience level for a variety of games, from classics such as Capture the Flag to creative scenarios such as Protect the President, where one team escorts an unarmed player to a safe zone while the other attacks and yells false Gallup Poll numbers. Props, including a Huey helicopter, 1920's ambulance, deuce and a half, cars, trucks, and various boats, scatter themselves across a 10,000-sq.-ft. turf field. The knowledgeable staff also caters to players’ ability levels by renting an array of markers, from the basic Tippmann Pro-Lite to the A-5 Flatline, one of the farthest-shooting models on the market.
Off the fields, Texas Paintball encompasses amenities including dressing rooms, a concession stand, a picnic area with two barbecue pits for players who bring their own food, and a pro shop.
Jeff Hunt probably understood the trajectory of his career path in a way most people don't. With an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin and experience working with Tracor Aerospace after college, he is very familiar with how things move forward. Though most aerospace engineers are focused on building spaceships and watering blooming stars, Hunt chose to focus on hang-gliders. Over the past 20 years, he has competed in cross-country hang-gliding competitions and become a USHGA-certified advanced tandem instructor. At Fly Texas and Fly Mexico, he shares his passion with students during half-day and daylong hang-gliding classes or shuttles more experienced gliders on flights.
Stretching across more than 6 miles, Lady Bird Lake's tranquil waters reflect the Austin skyline, the cliffs at Red Bud Isle, and the Congress Avenue Bridge, home to the largest urban bat population in the world. Throughout the year, Rowing Dock’s instructors take visitors into this manmade lake and teach them to paddle in kayaks or row within stand-up paddleboards. For customers who feel comfortable with their paddling prowess, the staffers rent everything from one-, two- and three-person kayaks, paddleboats and paddleboards, and canoes. As these human-powered vessels float across the lake, passengers can view the area's many native birds or canoodle with their oars at sunset.
Led by veteran United States Marine Eric Hulin, Texas Self Defense's team of instructors draws upon firsthand firearm knowledge to ensure students understand the responsibility of gun ownership. Divided into 50-minute segments and 10-minute breaks, Eric's one-day, 10-hour concealed handgun course entertainingly covers Texas's gun laws and gun safety. He also imbues first-time shooters with the basics of safely loading, aiming, and discharging a firearm. After the instructional classroom portion and a written test, the course breaks for lunch and then resumes at a local gun range, where students complete the shooting portion of the class.
Along with his main course, Eric teaches a four- and 10-hour renewal class and on-location sessions for groups of three or more. Once they complete Eric's course, eligible students can follow the remaining steps for obtaining their concealed handgun license.
Though big cities tend to offer a lot of activities for residents, the sheer volume of options can sometimes make it overwhelming to find something fitting. For residents of Austin, the Austin Clan of Everything Social (ACES) makes it easy to find a good time no matter your speed, with social leagues at watering holes and bowling alleys throughout town. On any given night, participants might gather to blow away their highest ping-pong score or grab a mic during a karaoke battle to show off their high note that only dogs can hear. Over the course of a season, members make new friends, bolstering the ACES community while battling for glory with their teammates.