As the Advanced-A minor-league affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Visalia Rawhide caters to baseball buffs with professional bat-cracking action and advance screenings of future big-league stars. This year the team celebrates 65 years of play at the recently renovated Recreation Park, an intimate stadium of spherical slinging where fans sit so close to the field that they can call pitches and notice subtle interventions from celestial outfielders. When the players’ endless running, throwing, and sunflower noshing inspires spectators' stomachs to hunger, the park’s three concession stands offer satiation with a bevy of ballpark eats.
Cleaved between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of Santa Ynez Mountain, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is among the oldest polo facilities in the U.S. The Club was established in 1911 and quickly became a focal point of competition and social interaction. In fact, by the 1920s, spending Sunday at the club had already become a celebrated social event. Visitors would don the latest fashions and picnic at the fields, some even hiring helpers to assist with the noonday meal and deliver jokes during intermission.
Although some conventions have changed, the club retains its reputation as an elegant destination to enjoy the “Sport of Kings.” It features a trio of world-renowned polo fields, plus eight tennis courts, a fitness center, and a pool for recreational use. The club still draws some of society’s most noble figures, too—Prince William and Catherine visited during 2011, a trip that saw Prince William compete in a charitable match.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.
Led by head coach Marty Raymond, the 2009–2010 Pacific Division Champion Bakersfield Condors will fight to keep their place in the ice-hokey eco-system as they battle the Stockton Thunder, or out-of-town foes the Utah Grizzlies. Legally aged guests can take advantage of half-priced beers offered during the November 24th bout. Or, enter to win a $5,000 spa makeover package (which includes laser hair removal and an intense pulsed light facial) on December 10th. The hot dogs and sodas included with this Groupon ensure no one gets thirsty enough to try to catch melty hunks of ice slung off the rink during the intense action.
With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.