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And no wonder: The park has various shapes and sizes of rails, ledges and stairs to give skaters a true street experience, as well as a large bowl with a pyramid and a cool vert wall and pool coping. A word of warning: Too bad Tempe didn't set up shade screens, because the place roasts in the summer. No pads are required here, and water and restrooms are available on site.
The SNL season runs from September through July on the second Saturday of each month, with a "sweeps" contest in the August slot. Practice starts at approximately 6:45 p.m., and live balls roll at 7. Each team has four members, and one must be female. The cost is $26 per person up-front to cover the first and last weeks, $13 for each month thereafter (not counting the cost of shoe rental and other incidentals).
The SNL atmosphere is loose and fun, with much more camaraderie and friendly competition than you'll find in a weekly league. And -- most important -- the beer's cold and cheap.
Music videos from such artists as Pink, and The Vines (but, oddly enough, not Bowling for Soup), and psychedelic light shows are projected onto two gigantic screens over the alleyways while punky skate bettys fling glowing balls alongside spiky-haired gym rats quaffing pitchers of Amber Bock, and clubwear-clad Scottsdale fembots smoking Parliament Lights.
Sure, you could save a few bucks by throwing gutter balls with Flo and Jethro out in Apache Junction, but why miss out on getting taunted by frat boys exclaiming, "Rolled a 239, bitch! Beat that!"?
For us, there's Speedway Raceway, where racing is so intelligently miniaturized it gives you a super-size thrill at a teeny-weeny price. At Speedway, you'll be driving 270cc Honda-powered Indy-style go-karts around a tightly hairpinned quarter-mile indoor track. In other words, you're six inches off the ground going 50 miles an hour through turns with only inches to spare. In still other words, your adrenal glands will be squirting like high-performance fuel injectors. All this for $20 for 16 laps. Or much less with the special discounts frequently offered by the raceway. Get racing.
These are just some of the sights you'll peep if you head up to Speedworld in Wittmann on most any Saturday night for the come-one, come-all drag-racing program. All vehicles are welcome, from that '67 Camaro with the big block, to your sister's Scion fresh off the lot.
For $20, you can pretend you're Darrell Waltrip, or Danica Patrick if you're chickalicious. And about once every other month or so, After 9 Events (www.after9events.com) sponsors a racing extravaganza out there that includes a bikini contest and foam party and lasts until 5 a.m. Think you got a car that can do that quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds? Then you better be there, buster.
For the return trip, take State Highway 69, a less technical road with sweeping curves. Still a lot of fun, and a chance to relax after spending the last hour carving canyons. The road meanders for 60 miles before linking up with Interstate 17 for a fast blast back to the big city. It's a 200-mile round trip, and as fine an afternoon in the saddle as you'll find in these parts.