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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best canoe trips

While the rest of us toil and sweat to pay off the mortgage, the folks at Swallow Hill Music Hall came up with a better idea: make it fun. So, this summer they organized a pair of leisurely floats down the Gunnison River, with gourmet camp vittles and music to match: The first, which embarked last weekend, featured zen cowboy and songwriter extraordinaire Chuck Pyle at the entertainment helm; the second, scheduled for August, features poetic cowpoke-type Roz Brown. Proceeds go into Swallow Hill's mortgage kitty. What a great way to stay afloat.

Best gift for the sports fan/architect

Who cares about what's in a name. What really matters is what's inside. Which is why the blueprints for the Denver Broncos' new, still-under-construction stadium make the perfect, if slightly pricey, gift. But then, who's counting? Certainly not the Metro Football Stadium District, which is selling two kinds of numbered, limited-edition blueprints. The larger framed version (32 inches by 42 inches) shows the stadium's south and west sides and includes a conceptual color photo of the stadium at night, for only $299.95. The smaller framed version (17 inches by 21 inches) shows the same things, along with a color photo of the actual stadium model, for $199.95. Proceeds go toward the MFSD's public art and education programs. Oh, and the right to name the stadium is still for sale as well. It'll cost you a little more, though.

Best gift for the sports fan/architect

Who cares about what's in a name. What really matters is what's inside. Which is why the blueprints for the Denver Broncos' new, still-under-construction stadium make the perfect, if slightly pricey, gift. But then, who's counting? Certainly not the Metro Football Stadium District, which is selling two kinds of numbered, limited-edition blueprints. The larger framed version (32 inches by 42 inches) shows the stadium's south and west sides and includes a conceptual color photo of the stadium at night, for only $299.95. The smaller framed version (17 inches by 21 inches) shows the same things, along with a color photo of the actual stadium model, for $199.95. Proceeds go toward the MFSD's public art and education programs. Oh, and the right to name the stadium is still for sale as well. It'll cost you a little more, though.

Best new sports venue

That drafty old barn where the University of Denver Pioneers pounded the puck for half a century has been replaced by beautiful Magness Arena in the new Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, a $70 million Italianate vision in Hansen sandstone, limestone and copper. Seating 6,200 for hockey, 7,200 for hoops and up to 8,000 for concerts, lighting and high style, thanks to architect Cab Childress of Denver's Davis Partnership. The hallmark of the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, which also houses a second ice arena, a practice gym, a fitness center and a natatorium, is, of course, the soaring Carl B. Williams spire, finished in gold leaf.

Best new sports venue

That drafty old barn where the University of Denver Pioneers pounded the puck for half a century has been replaced by beautiful Magness Arena in the new Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, a $70 million Italianate vision in Hansen sandstone, limestone and copper. Seating 6,200 for hockey, 7,200 for hoops and up to 8,000 for concerts, lighting and high style, thanks to architect Cab Childress of Denver's Davis Partnership. The hallmark of the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, which also houses a second ice arena, a practice gym, a fitness center and a natatorium, is, of course, the soaring Carl B. Williams spire, finished in gold leaf.

Best use of parking spaces

You haven't really seen softball until you've seen it played by athletes in wheelchairs -- it's a whole new ballgame demanding ample space and smooth ground for all the sharp turns and attendant maneuvers required. But the Colorado Rockies Wheelchair Softball League is covered: The Colorado Rockies baseball organization not only provides monetary support, it's also opened up the north parking lot at Coors Field for league practices, games and clinics. Meanwhile the League, sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America Mountain States Chapter, has grown from three members to 500 in only five years, making it the largest such organization in the country.

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Best canoe trips: Swallow Hill canoe trips

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