The year was 1976, and Joe Markham was working on his VW Bus. His German shepherd, Fritz, was chewing on rocks. The two had no idea that they were about to irrevocably alter the dog chew-toy world. But the moment Markham threw a chunk of the transmission to distract his dog from grinding his teeth to nubs, Fritz gave up rocks forever to chew on the dense rubber cone, which was soon dubbed Kong. More than a quarter-century later, the Golden-based Kong Company has cranked out millions of the toys, which are essentially the same VW part Fritz enjoyed in 1976. And while canines are still attracted to old-fashioned novelties such as rope bones, rawhide chews and tennis balls, Kong has found a home in the grip of Fidos and Fifis across the county.


The 14,000-year history of the boomerang begins Down Under and continues today in Aurora with these space-age, Day-Glo toys. Handcrafted from airplane-grade birch plywood from Finland, they're the Ferraris of the boomerang industry, with style and performance that keep coming back. Boomerang fanatic/bank examiner Richard Pollock-Nelson collected 'rangs and competed in U.S. Boomerang Association-sanctioned events prior to buying Colorado Boomerangs from its Gunnison owners in 1998. Now the company, which takes the science behind the homing crescents (i.e., Newton's Third Law of Motion and Bernoulli's Law) very seriously, is the largest domestic manufacturer of high-end boomerangs in the world.
The 14,000-year history of the boomerang begins Down Under and continues today in Aurora with these space-age, Day-Glo toys. Handcrafted from airplane-grade birch plywood from Finland, they're the Ferraris of the boomerang industry, with style and performance that keep coming back. Boomerang fanatic/bank examiner Richard Pollock-Nelson collected 'rangs and competed in U.S. Boomerang Association-sanctioned events prior to buying Colorado Boomerangs from its Gunnison owners in 1998. Now the company, which takes the science behind the homing crescents (i.e., Newton's Third Law of Motion and Bernoulli's Law) very seriously, is the largest domestic manufacturer of high-end boomerangs in the world.


The superbly outfitted arcade inside Margarita Mama's is so massive - and the place so dead on most weeknights -- that we never have to wait in line to play Hot Flash and Fast Track, the venue's two air hockey tables. Hot Flash is a fun little black-light model, with the usual purple lamps, glow-in-the-dark orange plastic puck and plastic playing surface. Fast Track's playing surface, though, is polished steel. The puck is metal, too, and the goals are cut extremely tight. Be warned: Fast Track pucks have a tendency to fly off the table like tiny metal discs of destruction. At forty tokens for ten bucks, these games are a bargain -- right up there with the $2 Coronas available during Mama's happy hour.
The superbly outfitted arcade inside Margarita Mama's is so massive - and the place so dead on most weeknights -- that we never have to wait in line to play Hot Flash and Fast Track, the venue's two air hockey tables. Hot Flash is a fun little black-light model, with the usual purple lamps, glow-in-the-dark orange plastic puck and plastic playing surface. Fast Track's playing surface, though, is polished steel. The puck is metal, too, and the goals are cut extremely tight. Be warned: Fast Track pucks have a tendency to fly off the table like tiny metal discs of destruction. At forty tokens for ten bucks, these games are a bargain -- right up there with the $2 Coronas available during Mama's happy hour.
Numbers are few, and it ain't the triathlon, but air hockey is a real sport. If you don't believe it, head to Broomfield Bowl on select Thursday nights and watch the area's best players (some of whom are also among the country's best) slam it out on the sole tournament-sized air hockey table that sits just off to one side of the bar. Games, which are played with kneepads, plenty of athletic tape and carefully customized mallets, usually start up around 7 p.m. and last well into the evening. Watch and learn, Grasshopper: No matter what you did in your basement as a kid, don't expect to show up and win.
Numbers are few, and it ain't the triathlon, but air hockey is a real sport. If you don't believe it, head to Broomfield Bowl on select Thursday nights and watch the area's best players (some of whom are also among the country's best) slam it out on the sole tournament-sized air hockey table that sits just off to one side of the bar. Games, which are played with kneepads, plenty of athletic tape and carefully customized mallets, usually start up around 7 p.m. and last well into the evening. Watch and learn, Grasshopper: No matter what you did in your basement as a kid, don't expect to show up and win.


You got your brewpubs and mega-arcades with a few tables on the side, your harshly lit hustlers' dens full of smoke and reverse English, your suburban bar tables reeking of cheap beer and patchouli. For our money, though, the best and least pretentious pool-hall ambience in town still resides at this friendly, busy institution, where serious billiards stickmen brush up against casual 8-ball enthusiasts, and nobody refers to 9-Ball as a "bangers' game." Added bonus: two snooker tables, for those who believe size -- of table, at least -- matters.
You got your brewpubs and mega-arcades with a few tables on the side, your harshly lit hustlers' dens full of smoke and reverse English, your suburban bar tables reeking of cheap beer and patchouli. For our money, though, the best and least pretentious pool-hall ambience in town still resides at this friendly, busy institution, where serious billiards stickmen brush up against casual 8-ball enthusiasts, and nobody refers to 9-Ball as a "bangers' game." Added bonus: two snooker tables, for those who believe size -- of table, at least -- matters.


Emerald Isle
When Irish guys are smiling, it's probably because the weather is good enough for a pool party. No, not the kind where you get wet -- although true competitors can work up quite a sweat covering all the angles in a tough game of pool. Come spring, Emerald Isle sets up pool tables on its covered deck, where a real sport can take on a fresh opponent and fresh air at the same time. Nine ball in the side pocket!

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