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Best Of 2003

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Exploration of the Natural World

When the sandhill cranes come back to the San Luis Valley, it's time for naturalist workshops at the 100,000-acre Medano-Zapata Ranch, a Nature Conservancy preserve four hours southwest of Denver. Throughout the spring, summer and early fall, three-day weekend workshops explore everything from the geology of the nearby Great Sand Dunes to the birds of the San Luis Valley. There are also weekend getaways for families, nature photography, sketching and writing seminars, and two astronomy field trips far from urban light pollution in the company of a large telescope named Hagrid. With meals, lodging with private baths, and ranch-to-field transportation provided for $450 per person ($550 for special four-day sessions), these workshops are a bargain - and they fill up quickly.

Best Sports Quote

Homer Simpson's buffoonery, Bart's pre-pubescent anarchism and the precocious wisdom of his little sister Lisa have all ripened into beloved cultural institutions, but Matt Groening's wisecracking burlesque of American family life has its way with the world beyond Springfield, too. In the much-heralded 300th episode, broadcast in February, Fox viewers beheld a cartoon version of Frankenstein's monster, lunk-headed and zipper-necked, staggering down the length of a basketball court and trying without much success to stick the ball in the hoop. The big guy's explanation for his obvious incompetence rang a local bell. Said he: "Me made of Denver Nuggets corpses."


Best Sports Quote

Homer Simpson's buffoonery, Bart's pre-pubescent anarchism and the precocious wisdom of his little sister Lisa have all ripened into beloved cultural institutions, but Matt Groening's wisecracking burlesque of American family life has its way with the world beyond Springfield, too. In the much-heralded 300th episode, broadcast in February, Fox viewers beheld a cartoon version of Frankenstein's monster, lunk-headed and zipper-necked, staggering down the length of a basketball court and trying without much success to stick the ball in the hoop. The big guy's explanation for his obvious incompetence rang a local bell. Said he: "Me made of Denver Nuggets corpses."

Best Male Athlete You've Never Heard Of

It may not be everybody's idea of a sporting good time, but someone's got to be best in the world, and Evergreen's Dennis Hastings is going nowhere faster than anyone else his age. Last year, he successfully defended his title as the world's best indoor stationary rower, lightweight division, in the 50- to 59-year-old age group. In November, he was winner of his division in the British Indoor Rowing Championships.


Best Male Athlete You've Never Heard Of

It may not be everybody's idea of a sporting good time, but someone's got to be best in the world, and Evergreen's Dennis Hastings is going nowhere faster than anyone else his age. Last year, he successfully defended his title as the world's best indoor stationary rower, lightweight division, in the 50- to 59-year-old age group. In November, he was winner of his division in the British Indoor Rowing Championships.

Best Female Athlete You've Never Heard Of

We're a poorer state for it, but alas, Colorado isn't usually associated with the bikini sports. That's changing, thanks to the improbable emergence of Highlands Ranch native Emily Copeland, who, despite her landlocked upbringing, has become the country's best female wakeboarder. All of eighteen years old, Copeland has been competing nationally since she was fifteen. She started dominating the circuit in 2001, when she won the Vans Triple Crown Championship and ended the year ranked number one in the country. She finished first in the 2002 Gravity Games and Masters Tournament and won the gold medal in wakeboarding at the 2002 X Games before a late-season injury put her out of commission. Look for her to dominate again this summer.


Best Sporting Club You¹ve Never Heard OfHusband and wife snorkeler/stick-handlers Chris and Agnes DeBrunner of Conifer started DUH in 1993 after moving to Denver from Illinois, where Agnes's brother introduced her to the game. "It was a different game then," recalls Agnes. "More like a holding-your-breath contest." Today, thanks to modern gear like snorkels, fins and spatula-sized sticks, the game is played at the speed of, well, pushing around a weighted puck underwater. From above, a game can look like a group of very pale piranhas attacking a pancake. But, says Agnes, "It's good exercise -- I hate swimming laps -- and it's fun." The club, which boasts a mix of ice hockey and Ultimate Frisbee players, meets at the pool at Lakewood's Carmody Recreation Complex.


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Best Exploration of the Natural World: Nature Conservancy Naturalist Workshops
Medano-Zapata Ranch

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