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2011 Heartland Naturists Sun Run
10 a.m. Sunday, July 10
Location disclosed after registration.
If you're looking to try a different kind of summer sporting activity — of the naked kind — consider the Sun Run. Held at a secret location in or near McLouth, Kansas, the 5k "clothing optional" walk/run bills itself as a way to "celebrate wholesome family nudism/naturism." Leave your camera at home and take a drum of sunblock and food for the post-run potluck. See cirrus.kcsky.net/SunRun2011.html for information and to register.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Newcastle United
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20
LiveStrong Sporting Park
One Sporting Way, in Kansas City, Kansas
England's storied soccer clubs aren't shying away from Kansas City after Sporting beat Manchester United at Arrowhead last year. Newcastle United Football Club squares off against Sporting a little more than a month after its new LiveStrong Sporting Park digs open. The friendly match won't mean anything in the standings, but beating English Premier League teams in successive summers would be a hell of an accomplishment. See sportingkc.com for tickets.
Kansas City Command vs. Tulsa Talons
7 p.m. Saturday, July 23
The Arena Football League's Kansas City Brigade vanished after the 2008 season, only to re-emerge this year as the Command. And, well, it hasn't been a pretty season. But we're used to non-playoff teams in Kansas City. If you've never experienced the offensive tinderbox that is indoor football, watch the Command wrap up the regular season against the Tulsa Talons. See kccommand.com for the full schedule and tickets.
T-Bones vs. Lincoln Saltdogs:
Frank White Night
7:05 p.m. Friday, August 12
1800 Village West Parkway, in Kansas City, Kansas
Former Royals second baseman Frank White is enshrined in the team Hall of Fame, but the T-Bones don't think that's good enough. All season long, the team is collecting signatures for a petition to get White into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the club has declared August 12 Frank White Day. White throws out the first pitch when the T-Bones play the Lincoln Saltdogs, and each T-Bones player wears White's No. 20. See tbonesbaseball.com for tickets and more information.
Kansas City Roller Warriors All Stars vs. St. Louis
7 p.m. Saturday, August 13
301 West 13th Street
After Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore made a roller-derby movie a couple of years back, it seemed that the sport would fade out of popularity once the novelty wore off. But apparently not. The Kansas City Roller Warriors — and the 2,000 fans they attract to each event — prove that roller derby is still violent-chic. This bout pits the Roller Warriors' best against their cross-state rivals. See kcrollerwarriors.com.
Living It Up With Deadman Flats
Best heard in the summer sun or around a campfire, deep in the Flint Hills, is the music of Lawrence-based Deadman Flats. The group's record label, Mudstomp, promotes earthiness, simplicity, freedom and, above all, the kind of exuberant energy that encourages people to, well, stomp.
All hailing from the Sunflower State, the men of Deadman Flats prefer prairie pastimes over pool lounging when summer rolls around. "As a Kansan, summer means fishing, camping, shooting, backpacking, cookouts and bonfires," says upright-bass player Hank Osterhout.
The thrashabilly foursome keeps it simple. For guitarist Alex Law, it's the time for "superb bass fishing." For mandolin player Matt Stambaugh and Osterhout, summer means "epic vegetable gardening." Banjo man Pat Watt spends much of his downtime at a family apple orchard north of Emporia. They all agree that long bike rides, cottonwood trees "snowing" cotton, maple trees dropping helicopters, the return of the monarch butterflies, blue jays and cardinals, and fields of western Kansas sunflowers are the area's quintessential summer pleasures.