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.
Antonio Daniels studied elementary education at Bowling Green State University. But rather than making a career of reading Newbery Award–winning books or conducting science experiments over bunsen burners, he entered the 1997 NBA Draft and was chosen as the fourth overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies. However, once he recognized the hollowness of a baller's lifestyle––whose only rewards were a 1999 NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs and the perk of wearing shorts to work––Antonio atoned by establishing his annual youth summer basketball camp.
For all five days of the camp, Antonio prowls the sidelines, giving kids pointers and boosting their confidence in the game he has now played professionally for 13 years. Coaches from the middle-school through college ranks join him in running the aspiring dunk machines through drills, skill training, and competitive games. At the end of the camp, children will not only have sharpened their hooping tool set, but they will also leave with two of the best souvenirs Antonio can offer other than plaster casts of his hands and feet: a T-shirt and an autographed photo.
On Wednesday, September 14, 2011, the Missions began what would turn out to be the longest postseason game in Texas League history. Playing against the Arkansas Travelers in the league's championship series, the Missions battled to a 5–4 victory that took 20 innings—and a spillover into Thursday—to settle. The win propelled the Missions to a series sweep, earning the franchise its 12th championship since the Texas League was founded in 1888.
Throughout those 113 years, the Texas League underwent many changes, but San Antonio stood firm—the only one of the league's six original teams to play in three different centuries. As the San Diego Padres' Double-A affiliate, the Missions continue their legacy at their home field, Wolff Stadium, a 6,200-seat facility complete with a grass berm in left field where fans can sprawl out to watch the innings and where umpires sunbathe between games.