Punching, kicking, knockouts and more! Today, top karate practitioners from near and far will gather in Denver for the annual Sabaki Challenge 2003: Extreme Knockdown Karate. "The action is going to be really intense," says Ed Voranski, the event's promoter. "There is a lot of technique and strategy involved, a lot of drama built into the matches."Male and female fighters of all martial arts styles, wearing absolutely no pads or gloves, will take to the ring in the single-round elimination tournament at the Ritchie Center's Hamilton Gymnasium on the University of Denver campus; prelims start at 3:30 p.m., with the main event kicking off -- ouch! -- at 7 p.m. "We've got fighters that come from all over the world for this event," says Voranski. "It's an always an amazing spectacle."
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (303-830-TIXS or www.ticketmaster.com) or at the Ritchie Center box office (303-871-2336). Prices are $25 for general admission, $50 for ringside and $10 for kids twelve and under -- and if you buy four tickets, they'll throw in one general-admission ticket free. -- Julie Dunn
Who let the dogs out? Find out today at the DenFIDOS Leash Free Zone, a temporary fenced enclosure in Denver's City Park, just southwest of the Museum of Nature & Science. "It's a really social outing for both dogs and owners," promises DenFIDOS president Tad Rogers.Get in the Zone from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; admission is $5 per dog. And don't forget your pooper scooper: Clean-up laws will still be in effect. -- Julie Dunn
Cheery Cherry Run
I like the Cherry Creek Sneak, but not because organizers boast that it's this country's "largest five-mile race." And having ten bands blatting away along the course, which essentially loops around the Cherry Creek mall, doesn't sway me. Nope. I just like the picture (repeated on this year's "coveted" T-shirt) of running cherries, an image that sets the tone for fun in my book. Choose one of six brackets -- from elite run or walk to half-mile kids' sneak -- and roll. The race starts at 8 this morning; entry fees range from $20 to $30. Call 303-394-RACE (7223) or visit www.cherrycreeksneak.com. -- Ernie Tucker
A Three-Hour Tour
Ninety years ago, Denver residents would hop in their Model T's and head for the hills. Their Sunday drive of choice was a spectacular five-mile stretch of hairpin turns winding up Lookout Mountain. Those turns are just as spectacular -- and not much speedier to navigate -- today, as the start of the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway, a forty-mile route that just earned official status. "One of the real sellers for the byway commission was how close it is," says Lariat Loop chairman Matt Carey. "Just thirty minutes outside of Denver, you get up into the foothills and see all this history." On top of Lookout Mountain alone, there's the circa-1917 Boettcher Mansion and Buffalo Bill's Museum and Grave. The loop then crosses I-70 and heads to Evergreen and another set of historic roadside attractions: Chief Hosa Lodge, Humphrey Memorial Park, Hiwan Homestead Museum, the Little Bear. Just kidding about the latter's historic status -- but what's a road trip without a refueling stop? -- Patricia Calhoun