FBR Me ASAP
Sell out? It's impossible at the Phoenix -- ahem -- FBR Open golf tournament at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale, where, every Super Bowl weekend, massive hordes of golf junkies crowd the galleries and booze it up for seven days straight. But when FBR -- a Washington, D.C., investment firm -- bought the Open's naming rights, "sellout" was the only word local fans could slur in between cocktails and scorecards. So to calm the purists, nothing (except the name) has really changed at the FBR Open, which begins with morning practice rounds Monday, January 26, and runs until the final round Sunday, February 1. Nothing, at least, that fans will notice. "The purse has increased [from $4 million to $5.2 million], the charities have increased," says FBR Open spokesman Ron Myers. "But other than that, there isn't a whole lot different." Which means the 16th hole will be as rowdy as ever, and a formerly no-name pro -- like Steve Jones and Chris DeMarco in years past -- will rise from obscurity and try to snatch the $936,000 prize from defending champ Vijay Singh (pictured). If chip shots and 50-foot birdies still aren't enough, the Bird's Nest at WestWorld hosts Wednesday through Saturday's nighttime parties, headlined by Jimmy Eat World, Fountains of Wayne, and Cheap Trick.
Good things come to those who skate
Teens who live and die by the board can pursue their passion this Saturday, January 24, when Skatefest 2004 spins into Reed Park's Skate Court, 1601 East Broadway in Mesa. From noon to 5 p.m., reps from local skate shops will wheel and deal as skater boys and girls rock (to the tunes of Four Bill Stall and Cold Fusion) and roll (in the skate contest -- free to watch, $15 to enter). Participants must be at least 13 years old and complete a registration form, available at Axis Sports, 1828 East University in Tempe. Call 480-644-4926 for more information.
For Heat's Sake
Burning rubber at PIR
The NASCAR Southwest Series (one of the four series that make up the Auto Zone Elite Division) opens its 19th season this weekend with its traditional "Winter Heat" 100-lap event at Phoenix International Raceway, 7602 South 115th Avenue in Avondale. Defending champion Auggie Vidovich Jr. will race 2002 champion Eddy McKean and 2001 champion Craig Raudman. Practice and qualifying rounds occur on Saturday, January 24, with the finals on Sunday, January 25. Admission is $10 Saturday (children under 12 admitted free) and $29 Sunday ($5 for kids); a two-day infield pass is $40. Call 602-252-2227. - Quetta Carpenter
New roller derby team puckers up
Arizona Roller Derby is about to introduce a third team to its ranks. Named after the classic heavy-metal band known for its taste in cosmetics, the French Kiss Army will hit the rink at the February bout. The new team was formed by "Mayhemily," who currently plays for the Smash Squad. The scrappy "jammer" (scoring player) reports that her reasons for the move are to help expand the league and to bring some of her close friends into the game. While the Smash Squad will be sorry to see Mayhemily leave, they reportedly are taking the news in stride. "Everyone understands that it's for the benefit of the league," says Mayhemily. In the meantime, it's bloodshed as usual for the Smash Squad and the Bruisers, who play their next bout at Surfside Skateland, 1625 East Weber in Tempe, at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 24. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. See www.azrollerderby.com. - Justin Guleserian
Monster trucks tear-up Bank One
This weekend, Grave Digger, Bounty Hunter, Samson, Skelator and Kaptain Insano are rolling into Phoenix for a bash-'em-up battle. No, we're not talkin' pro wrestling, we're talkin' 9,000-pound monster trucks, here to smash their way through the U.S. Hot Rod Association Monster Jam at Bank One Ballpark on Saturday, January 24. The drivers will face off in two types of competitions, side-by-side racing and freestyle, where they'll individually show off their skills for the crowd. To fans, though, the competition is probably far less interesting than the sheer thrill of watching cars get smashed by the behemoth machines; the USHRA says more than 3,000 cars a year are crushed by monster trucks and their 66-inch-high tires and 12-foot-wide frames. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $18 ($8 for kids). For tickets call 480-784-4444. - Brendan Joel Kelley
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