Las Vegas: Battleground For Awesomeness
Have you ever wanted to witness giant monster trucks launch them selves twenty feet in the air? How about enjoying the world’s best cowboys riding massive bulls and bucking broncos? Has anyone ever asked you either of these crucial questions? If your response is ‘no’ then it’s time for me to take you into the wild world of Las Vegas sports. If you answer was ‘yes’ then I suggest you keep reading as well.
Las Vegas is a very special place in that there are many atypical types of entertainment and events not readily available anywhere else in the world. Sometimes I am forced to believe that Las Vegas has so much to offer at any given point in time that it’s own residents become overwhelmed. They become overwhelmed to the point that forget about all the world class experiences waiting for them in their own backyard.
What are all these ‘Wild’ sports that I speak of? Where and when do they take place? All will be revealed below.
Not So Mainstream Sports
- Monster Jam World Finals
This is as good as it gets. Monster Jam is an annual monster truck competition to determine who is the best in the world. The 3-day event is held at Sam Boyd Stadium every March.
Since 2014 the top 32 monster truck drivers face off in two separate competitions, the Racing Championship and the Freestyle Championship.
The Racing Championship race track is built for speed. Monster trucks will go as fast as 75 mph on straightaways and the track itself extends outside into the parking lot. The Freestyle Championship is full of jumps and obstacles. This event is a crowd favorite because of wild crashes that occur.
If you don’t make it to any other sporting event on this entire list, please make a concerted effort to experience Monster Jam. I promise that it is unlike anything you have ever seen. I go every year with the guy who trims my trees and does my landscaping. He actually introduced me to monster truck racing when I first moved out here. I haven’t met anyone more excited about this sport then Chris. If you have any questions about anything monster truck related then contact him at his Henderson Tree Service Company. He would be thrilled to talk to you. He’ll more than likely give you a killer deal on some of his tree services.
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Aliens & Baseball – Killer Combination
Spring is one damn beautiful season. New life can be seen everywhere. Flowers begin to bloom, steams begin to flow and baseball is here to stay for the next 6 months straight. I absolutely adore the beginning of every baseball season. The phenomenal weather, the aroma of freshly cut grass, the sound of baseball bats cracking after connecting with the ball and endless amounts seed shells being spit directly onto the ground. Then there is the game of baseball itself. The game is both methodical and strategic, slow but fast, and has an infinite number of ways to be played.
Well, if it isn’t clear yet let me just come out and write it plain as day. Baseball is fucking awesome, in the truest sense of the word. Unfortunately, lovely Las Vegas doesn’t have a major professional baseball team for its wonderful residents to support and watch. However, we have been graced with the next best thing in the Las Vegas Area 51s, a Triple-A (AAA) Minor League Baseball team.
If you have never had the opportunity to attend a game then this article is written specifically for you. I’m about to make you a Vegas 51s fan for life.
Area 51? You Mean Aliens?
The best place to start is always at the beginning. Most everybody has heard something regarding Area 51 and that it has something to do with aliens. Area 51 is actually a United States military facility located north of Las Vegas about 70 miles. There have been many rumors and much speculation regarding Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and extraterrestrial activity at Area 51 since the 1950s. Most everybody also has an interest in alien conspiracy theories. It was only natural that our Las Vegas AAA Baseball team change its name from the ‘Las Vegas Stars’ to the ‘Vegas 51s’ in 2001. Complete with an alien logo and an alien looking mascot named Cosmo.
Currently, the Vegas 51s are in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and affiliated with the Major League Baseball (MLB) team the New York Mets. The 51’s play their home games at Cashman Field located in Las Vegas at the intersection of N Las Vegas Boulevard and E Washington Avenue.
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It’s Time For The Big Dance!
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division 1 Basketball tournament is arguably the greatest tournament in the history of everything. The best part is that the 2016 tournament is right around the corner. This mystical event captures the attention of everyone, no matter their level of interest in college basketball. The wide spectrum includes the obvious die hard college basketball fanatics, middle-aged stay at home moms who have never picked up a basketball and even nihilists who believe in absolutely nothing.
The tournament promises nothing to no man. Yet, the very same tournament delivers the best comeback defeats, Cinderella stories, and non-stop action year after year. I ask myself every March “What did I do to deserve something so great and so beautiful? How could I live in a place and time where a person can experience so much joy?!” I am pumped for the 2016 tournament to begin and I wanted to pay tribute by writing about the history of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball playoff system. I will also highlight some of the greatest games, plays and moments during the 77 year history of the Big Dance.
So it all began back in 1908 in the great state of Illinois at the High School level. A state wide tournament was created to have the best 8 teams compete against one another. Peoria High School was the first champion with their 48-29 victory over Rock Island High School. As the tournament generated interest the number of teams increased to 16 and High School basketball games started selling out.
In 1939 the first national college championship game was played between Oregon and Ohio State University. Oregon pulled out the victory with a score 46 to 33. At that time only 8 teams were allowed into the playoff tournament. This continued for a while. It wasn’t until 2001 when the number of invitees reached 65 teams total. The tournament itself wasn’t even broadcasted on television until 1969. The tournament format has changed several times with the most recent change taking place in 2011 where a total of 68 teams are now selected to partake. The tournament has always been single elimination and remains that way. The stakes are high and the chance of the same team winning the tournament multiple times are highly improbable, regardless of how talented that team may be. With that being said, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has won the national championship title 11 times. 10 of these titles where under the same head coach John Wooden over a twelve year span.
There is an ongoing debate on who actually coined the phrase “March Madness.” The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) credits Henry Porter due to a paper he wrote about the tournament that he titled “March Madness” in 1939. Henry Porter also happened to be employed by IHSA, so take that for what it’s worth. However, one of the first places where the term was documented was in an article about unsuccessful animal experimentation back in 1907. To be honest, it doesn’t much matter to me. I’m just glad that it’s here to stay.
Continue reading March Is Madness!