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.
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.
UMP Late Models, UMP modifieds, and three other racing models hurtle past spectators on laps around Belle-Clair Speedway's 1/5–mile dirt oval track during the two- or three-wide races held from mid-March to October. During a smattering of special events throughout the season, fans cheer on the diminutive POWRi Midgets, POWRi Micro Sprints, and pogo sticks hitched to Lamborghini engines as they whip around the track. Belle-Clair Speedway hosts promotional activities at every race, ranging from cash and T-shirt giveaways for adults to bike races for kids.
• For $35, you get one round of golf for two on the championship course with cart rental Monday-Friday (up to a $74 value). • For $45, you get one round of golf for two on the championship course with cart rental Saturday and Sunday (up to a $94 value).
Trophy fisherman Walter Krause, who has 15 years' experience on the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail and the Pro Musky Tournament Trail, takes up to two anglers aboard his private boat for a guided trip through two fish-filled Illinois lakes. Whether plumbing the depths of Cedar Lake for striper or pursuing Kinkaid Lake—one of the top trophy-muskie lakes in Illinois—for oversize bass, muskies, and walleyes, participants benefit from Walter’s 46 years of experience and on-board depth finders and GPS. During the course of each customized trip, visitors learn how to track fish movements, how to properly hold rods, and how to train a wall-mounted singing fish to bait other fish with its seductive crooning. Walter provides each angler with life jackets, bait, tackle, and rods, although participants must bring their own fishing licenses, lunches, and weather-appropriate clothing.
With a combined 82 lanes, the St. Clair and Bel-Air Bowling Centers send pins toppling through open bowling, leagues, and other events. St. Clair's pro shop, first opened in 1977, doles out high-quality equipment, service, and enforced timeouts for rebellious pins, and the Beer Frame Lounge allows bowlers to stop for a pint while gazing down at the lanes. Pizzas, adorned with unlimited toppings, sail from the oven onto the plates of waiting guests of St. Clair Bowl, and a homestyle soup bar fills bowls and bellies in Bel Air Bowl's restaurant.