The Florence Freedom, a professional team of baseballers in the Independent Frontier League, re-create the classic thrill of America’s third-most popular sport, after skeet shooting and spelunking, without all the food fights and explosive bat malfunctions that are all too common at major-league games. With today’s deal, fans get reserved-seat tickets for any home game (a $10 value) all month and enjoy a true gourmet meal consisting of a hot dog, chips, and a drink (a $7 value). Miniature novelty adults, meanwhile, can burn off excess energy with a pass to the KidsZone (a $5 value)—a multicolored playground set complete with a bounce house and other playsets—or spend five Freedom Bucks (a $5 value) as they see fit at the park's concession stands or gift shop, making it far more valuable currency than the one you created by taping your driver's license photo to old Monopoly money.
Members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls celebrate the independent spirit of women by hunting as a pack. During high-energy bouts, the team circles around a short track, pushing and shoving as the jammer attempts to score points by skating past the throng. Founded in 2006, the Rollergirls spent one and a half years recruiting and training before completing their first full season, today siccing two competitive teams on other leagues throughout the Midwest’s flat hardwood plains. Though the Rollergirls offer no mercy in the rink, they dedicate their time outside it to helping others within the community. The squad regularly volunteers for activities and events throughout northern Kentucky and help raise funds for local charities. To raise awareness for the sport, the team was also the focus of a 2009 documentary titled Black-n-Bluegrass, which chronicled the players’ regular lives and addressed misconceptions surrounding their beloved pastime.
With 10 national championships to their name and another 76 conference titles to boot, the Cincinnati Bearcats boast more than century of athletic tradition. Though the student athletes thrive in many different sports, the basketball program?which won back-to-back NCAA Championships in 1961 and 1962?is the school's crown jewel. Before embarking on a professional career that earned him a spot among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, The Big O cut his hard-court skills for the Bearcats, averaging a staggering 33.8 points per game in his three years at UC. In more recent years, the Bearcats football team has enjoyed its own run as a true contender, earning bowl berths in 2009, 2011, and 2012. In both 2011 and 2012, the squad pounced on their postseason opponents, taking home glittering trophies to use as tackling dummies in training camp.
Crossing the Ohio River on the north side of Louisville, it’s impossible not to notice the glassy façade of the KFC Yum! Center right on the river, a gleaming, $238 million cathedral to the University of Louisville’s flagship sport: basketball. Perennial powerhouses in both the men’s and women’s competition, Louisville showcases its fast-paced brand of basketball to one of the most loyal fanbases and student bodies in the country. While hoops may be king—the men’s basketball squad has won the school its two only NCAA Championships—the Cardinals take pride in a host of distinguished sports, including a football team that won both the Big East Conference and the Orange Bowl in 2006, leading the basketball team to briefly experiment with wearing helmets and cleats.
Baseball in Louisville dates back to 1876 when the Louisville Grays began playing as part of the National League. Soon after the turn of the 20th century, minor league baseball arrived in Derby City and for 70 years, the Louisville Colonels commanded it. Their departure in 1972, however, led to a period of inactivity, as well as a period of unemployed umpires roaming the city shouting "SAFE!" at landing birds. Ten years later, baseball returned with the arrival of the Louisville Redbirds, who eventually became the RiverBats in 1998, and simply the Bats in 2002. Over the years this franchise has spent time as the affiliate of three big league teams: the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, and its current affiliate, the Cincinnati Reds.
At the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs’ Downs After Dark events blend the thrill of championship horse racing with the allure of a night on the town. Much like a werewolf Cinderella, the expansive 147-acre facility will be painstakingly transformed for nocturnal communing by adding mood lighting that evokes the air of an upscale nightclub. Patrons partake in a deluge of drinks while cheering on the horse of their choice in any of the 11 scheduled races. Race seating will be located in Section 117 of the winner’s-circle area, offering premium views of each turn, gallop, and volley for position. The party continues after the contests, where racing fans shake their newly minted moneymakers to tunes spun by the Miami Heat's DJ Irie while celebrating the success of their winning horse or the jockey they raised from birth. Previous Downs After Dark events have featured gourmet fare and a synergy of sport and fraternization more memorable than singles'-league ping-pong or speed dating at a track meet. The evening's White Party theme invites guests to don their best cloud, snow, or milk-colored ensembles.