It's the State Fair's most gripping entertainment -- hands-down. On Saturday, October 25, "the Super Bowl of Arm Wrestling" -- i.e. Armwrestling USA's United States Championships -- pits competitors from across the country against feisty fairgoers wanting to elbow their way into the action. The culmination of a series of matches held across the U.S., the competition is open to local ladies and gents -- free of charge -- with national rankings awarded to all participants. Five weight divisions ensure that the boys pick on someone their own size, while the women compete in lightweight (144 pounds and less) or open divisions (145 pounds and up). Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Budweiser Plaza at the fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell; the competition kicks off at 1 p.m. Call 602-252-6771 or see www.azstate fair.com for more information.- Jill Koch
Free course puts beginners on track
Novice mountain bikers can get their trail fix at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, where a free three-part course covers basic mountain bike maneuvering. At 1 p.m. this Saturday, October 25, session one addresses responsible riding, skill-building, and fitness and health benefits, followed by a one-hour ride. The series continues November 1, with tips on basic bike operation and repair, and wraps up November 8, with a look at trail maps and other rider resources; both sessions end with a moderate two-hour ride.
Participants meet at the parking lot south of Thunderbird on the west side of Seventh Street. Helmets and advance registration are required; call 602-495-0222.- Jill Koch
A two wheel tour of Tempe
Cool your jets, Lance Armstrong. Yes, it's time for the eighth annual Tour de Tempe, but, no, you won't be adding any notches to your championship belt. The Tour -- which takes place at 8 a.m. this Sunday, October 26, at Tempe's Kiwanis Park, All-America Way north of Guadalupe Road -- isn't a competitive race, just a chance to leisurely pedal 12 miles through historic Tempe neighborhoods, downtown Tempe, the Town Lake area and other city sites. Show up at 7 a.m. to register (it's free). All riders get a free breakfast, and the first 750 receive artist-designed tee shirts. Helmets are required and can be purchased at the event. Call 480-350-2775 for more information. - Brendan Joel Kelley