On April 10, 2012, the Central Hockey League announced the Denver Cutthroats as the league's newest member. A little more than six months later, on October 19, the team played its first game ever—a 4–3 overtime loss to the Missouri Mavericks. Despite the outcome, the game marked the return of hockey to Denver Coliseum, which hadn't been skated professionally since the IHL's Denver Rangers' 1988-89 season. As an affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, the Cutthroats—a name chosen in honor of Denver's state fish, the Greenback cutthroat trout— immediately developed a connection with local hockey fans. Fans get to share their support directly with The Stream, a place right outside the home team's locker room covered with inspirational messages and lasagna recipes inscribed on paper fish by the Cutthroat faithful.
In July 2013, Scott and Heidi Moore achieved the title of godan, or fifth-degree black belt. Since they have over 50 years of experience combined and have acted as coaches and participants in countless competitions (including the Olympic trials and Paralympics), the belts were well-earned. At Denver Judo, they and a team of first-, second-, and third-degree black belts teach the art of judo to practitioners of all ages and abilities, including those who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. The martial art focuses on throws and grappling as opposed to punches and kicks.
Derby was reborn in the early 2000s as a ferociously fun sport. Nearly all modern leagues are composed of female, DIY-spirited bands of punky costumed, vicious-monikered rascals who shove each other on traditional quad roller skates. The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, Denver's original all-women flat-track roller derby league, is operated by the more than 40 skaters who makeup its six teams: home teams Red Ridin' Hoods, Sugar Kill Gang, Dooms Daisies, Kill Scouts, and traveling teams, Fight Club and the Contenders. These fearless athletes leave bouts with sprained shoulders, bruises, and hematomas, which is nothing compared to the competitors' pain (the ladies took home second place in the 2009 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association regional tournament and fourth in the national tournament).
Celebrating its 106th anniversary, the National Western Stock Show rouses rodeo enthusiasts with an evening full of action-packed rides and bone-rattling falls. As the culmination of a full day of competition, the finals pit a contingent of Colorado's top cowboys against an international team of riders, with both sides vying for glory and a hefty hunk of prize money. Watching from the round, guests buck from the edge of their seats as four-legged speedsters dash around the ring during rounds of barrel racing, steer wrestling, and bull riding, which showcases well-balanced jockeys as they attempt to shake up a carton of orange juice. Throughout the evening, up-and-coming equestrians will also be recognized, as the Westernaires dazzle onlookers with a series of riding tricks and rounds of mutton busting challenge young riders to remain steady atop sheep as they attempt to shave off their own wool.
LA Boxing’s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.