As the AHL affiliate of their big-league Dallas namesake, the Texas Stars spared no time claiming their birthright. In its very first season—2009–10—the team conquered the Western Conference, hoisting the Robert W. Clarke Trophy and earning a place in the Calder Cup finals. Since every faceoff was past the newborn Stars’ bedtime, they ultimately fell short of the league championship, but they continue to entertain crowds of up to 6,800 at the Cedar Park Center.
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run is a unique and challenging event, pairing an obstacle-heavy running course and an attempt at breaking the record for the world?s longest mud pit with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes.
Formerly located in Tulsa, the Talons relocated their roost to San Antonio’s Alamodome for the 2012 season and soon commanded the skies, placing first in the AFL’s National Conference during their first regular season in Texas. As the players tackle opponents and lob passes on the 50-yard field, the Talons’ mascot, Swoop, pumps up fans while anxiously hoping they don’t crack the eggs incubating under their seats.
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.
Just like professional athletes, kids need to stay active during the off season. Enter Coach Celester Collier, head coach for Bowie High School. Working alongside his son, Coach Collier lends his expertise to young athletes during week-long day camps at SoccerZone South Austin's 35,000 sq. ft. indoor sports facility.
Here, the coach takes campers through the fundamentals of basketball. He instructs and drills them on dribbling, passing, shooting, and rebounding. As a reward for their efforts, Coach Collier sends campers home with their own T-shirts and basketballs, which will one day hatch into team mascots.