By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – The competition and race for the 2020 World Championship is going to be electric inside AT&T Stadium on Nov. 12-15, but fans do not need to keep themselves entertained solely by the intense battle of man vs. beast.
The PBR has already announced its initial plans for a four-day Fan Zone that you will not want to miss, and there are more exciting entertainment options being worked on to ensure fans attending the 2020 PBR World Finals will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
PBR fans are no strangers to the bright lights and the entertainment options that Las Vegas always offers this time of year, but the city of Arlington, Texas, has plenty of entertainment – hello Texas Live! – outdoor activities, historical monuments and a slew of dining options for hungry PBR fans to check out throughout the four days of the PBR Finals.
In fact, Arlington used to be one of the largest gambling destinations in the country in the ‘30s and ‘40s. “Top O’ Hill Terrace” was an illegal casino drawing guests such as Al Capone and Bonnie & Clyde.
While we will have to wait to roll some dice and play cards at the MGM in Vegas for one more year, Arlington offers plenty of fun things to do.
Head on over to Lake Arlington, weather permitting, for some socially distanced fishing, hiking or paddle boarding. River Legacy Parks Paddling Trail also offers a journey of up to eight miles along the West Fork of the Trinity River.
We will miss the Big Apple Coaster at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, but Six Flags Over Texas has fierce rollercoasters, including El Diablo, the world’s tallest looping coaster at 100 feet tall, for our adventure seekers. (Note: Six Flags Over Texas is currently open, but advance reservations are required).
Are you hungry?
Once those hunger pains take over, or if you want to grab a bite to eat before the World Finals, there are a couple of restaurants to have been featured on TV. Sprouts Spring Roll & Pho Restaurant, located in the Lincoln Park Shopping Center, was featured on the popular television show “Man vs. Food.” TV host Adam Richman took Sprouts’ “Souper Bowl Challenge,” eating five pounds of Pho in just 8 ½ minutes. Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has featured several Arlington restaurants on their show – J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill and Taste of Europe among them.
We, of course, highly recommend Texas Live! and all of its offerings. Texas Live!, a $200 million mixed-use entertainment complex, right next door to AT&T Stadium is a great place to “pregame” before you watch 39 of the best bull riders in the world square off against the rankest bovines.
Texas Live! has 200,000 square feet of excellent restaurants, retail and entertainment venues.
Don’t forget once inside AT&T Stadium to grab an order of nachos when you are watching Jose Vitor Leme attempt to win his first World Championship. Ballpark nachos were actually invented in 1976 at the Arlington Stadium, the former home of the Texas Rangers.
1. AT&T Stadium houses the world’s two longest arches, the world’s largest sliding glass doors, and the world’s largest HDTV video board that stretches from 20 yard line to 20 yard line and consists of 30 million LED lights.
2. The cost to build the center-hung HDTV monitor at AT&T Stadium ($40+ million) was more than the entire construction cost of the old Texas Stadium.
3. Everything really is BIGGER IN TEXAS! The entire Statue of Liberty can fit inside AT&T Stadium with a few feet to spare. It is 320 feet from the blue star at midfield all the way up to the closure of the retractable roof. New York’s Statue of Liberty is only 305 feet in height.
4. The first event at AT&T Stadium (June 2009) was not a sporting event. The stadium kicked off with a concert featuring country music superstars George Strait and Reba McEntire, with opening acts Blake Shelton and Lee Ann Womack.
5. The City of Arlington was named after General Robert E. Lee’s hometown in Virginia.
6. Arlington, Texas, rests squarely on the divide of two distinct geological strata, a vast “grand prairie” called the ‘Eagle Ford,’ and an oaks-dominated woodland of gently rolling hills called the ‘Eastern Cross Timbers.’
7. Before Las Vegas, it was Arlington! Arlington was the largest gambling destination in the country in the ‘30s and ‘40s. An illegal casino drawing in guests such as Al Capone, Bonnie & Clyde, Clark Gable and Mae West was operated in Arlington as “Top O’ Hill Terrace.” It is now Arlington Baptist University. Tours are available by reservation.
8. Horse racing was a favorite pastime at Arlington Downs, which opened in 1929. Even though pari-mutuel wagering wasn’t legalized in Texas until 1933, pari-mutuel laws were repealed after the 1937 racing season, so the racetrack was retooled for rodeos and other events until it was razed in 1958. A Texas Historical Landmark marks the site of the old racetrack.
9. Within a 12-month time frame, the City of Arlington hosted NFL Super Bowl XLV, an NBA All-Star Game, and MLB World Series.
10. Ballpark nachos, now a favorite snack at stadiums around the country, were invented at the Arlington Stadium, former home of the Texas Rangers.
11. The “dot race” also originated at Arlington Stadium! Like the nachos, the dot race spread to other venues around the country, morphing into such races as the Hot Dog Race, the Sausage Race and the Brat Race.
12. Two-feet long and weighing over a pound, Texas Rangers fans at Rangers Ballpark will never go hungry thanks to the $26 “Boomstick”All-Beef Hot Dog. This massive meal can feed a family of 4.
13. About 105,121 fans attended the first Dallas Cowboys regular season game at AT&T Stadium (September 21, 2009 versus the NY Giants), setting an NFL record for the highest attendance at a regular season game.
14. When the Mexican National team hosted five-time world champion Brazil at AT&T Stadium in June 2012, the sold-out crowd set an all-time soccer attendance record for both Cowboys Stadium and the State of Texas with 84,516 people. The large crowd also broke a Guinness World Record for the “longest Mexican wave.”
15. The Texas SkyScreamer at Six Flags Over Texas is officially the World’s Tallest Swing Carousel ride, according to Guinness World Records.
16. 108,713 basketball fans attended the NBA All-Star Game on February, 2010 at AT&T Stadium. That’s an all-time record for the highest-attended basketball game in history, setting a new Guinness World Record.
17. AT&T Stadium hosted the Men’s Final Four “March Madness” NCAA Division I basketball tournament in 2014.
18. Manny Pacquiao, the boxing superstar from the Philippines, is 2-for-2 in matches at AT&T Stadium. He defeated Joshua Clottey in front of 50,994 boxing fans in March of 2010, and Antonio Margarito in November of 2010 (attendance 41,734).
19. The Mecca of international bowling? Arlington, Texas! With the relocation of the U.S. Bowling Congress, the Bowling Proprietors Association of America, the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame and the Bowling International Training & Research Center, Arlington is the world’s headquarters for one of the most popular participatory sports on the planet!
20. The Bowling ITRC (International Training & Research Center) is equipped with 14 dedicated training lanes, ITRC uses state-of-the-art robotics and engineering to improve your game, including biomechanical motion tracking, video analysis from robotic cameras, plus foot & grip pressure mapping.
21. As the only potential U.S. Olympic Bowling Training facility, a set of Olympic rings can be found on the International Bowling Hall of Fame campus in Arlington, TX.
22. Lake Arlington, a recreational destination for fishing and boating, was dubbed the “Miracle Lake” soon after its completion in 1957. Arlington’s fast growth in the 1950s created a demand for water supply. A dam was constructed on Village Creek and estimates were that it would take 2 years to fill the lake. Heavy rains filled the reservoir to capacity in an amazing 26 days!
23. Along the River Legacy Paddling Trail, you can enjoy a paddling trip of up to eight miles along the West Fork of the Trinity River. There’s also a paddling trail at Lake Arlington, which is 10.8 miles in length and was the first lake padding trail in the metroplex.
24. Six Flags Over Texas, the first regional theme park in the country, is named for the six different nations that have governed Texas including: Spain, France, Mexico, the Confederacy, the Republic of Texas and the United States. The park’s grand opening was August 1, 1961 and admission was $2.75. Over 550,000 visitors came to the park in its first season.
25. The first theme park to feature Broadway-style shows, Six Flags Over Texas started the career of many young and talented entertainers including Broadway star Betty Buckley and the first American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson.
26. John Denver, who lived a short time as a youth in Ft. Worth, also worked at Six Flags. Urban legend is that Denver was told by park entertainment that his sound didn’t fit the shows, so Denver worked the flume ride.
27. Hurricane Harbor boasts 3 million gallons of water and 47 acres of cool family fun. There are 23 rides, ranging from a gentle float down the Lazy River to the 70-foot free fall of Dive Bomber.
28. UTA’s College Park Center was named on Billboard.com’s Top 10 new or renovated venues of 2012. The center was designed by HKS, architect of the new home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, also in Arlington.
29. UTA’s alum include astronaut Kalpana Chalwa (1961-2003), the mission specialist on the space shuttle Columbia. U.S. Army General Tommy Franks is also a distinguished UTA alum. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips, famous for his portrayal of Ritchie Valens in La Bamba, received his Bachelor’s in Drama at UTA as well.
30. With a 60-ft diameter dome and state-of-the-art Digistar 4 DLP Projection System, the Planetarium at UT-Arlington is one of the largest & most sophisticated systems in the entire Southwest.
31. Sprouts Spring Roll & Pho Restaurant, located in the Lincoln Park Shopping Center, was featured on the popular television show “Man vs. Food.” TV host Adam Richman took Sprouts’ “Souper Bowl Challenge,” eating five pounds of Pho in just 8 ½ minutes.
33. The General Motors Assembly Plant opened in Arlington in 1954, producing the Pontiac Starchief, Buick Roadmaster and Oldsmobile. Wages were $1.78 per hour.
34. The GM plant produces Cadillac Escalades, GMC Yukons, and Chevy Suburbans and Tahoes. Approximately 1,140 vehicles are produced daily and GM pays $1 million in wages every day at the Arlington Assembly plant. The Arlington General Motors Plant is the only plant in the world making Surburbans, Tahoes, Escalades and Yukons.
35. The excavation of the Arlington Archosaur Site began in the spring of 2008 when a new land owner, the Huffines Group, granted land access to UTA. The excavation of the site continues and to date, more dinosaur fossils have been recovered from the Arlington Archosaur Sitethan from any other site in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.
36. Arlington is the headquarters of American Mensa, the largest and oldest “High IQ Society” in the world. To be a Mensa member, your intelligence score must be in the 98th percentile or higher.
37. Entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, was born and raised in Arlington. For every pair of TOMS bought, the company gives a pair of shoes to a child in need of shoes. TOMS has given more than 10 million pairs of new shoes to children in need through giving partners around the world.
38. The 1880 census shows a population of 275 people. Arlington consisted of eight general merchants, a hotel keeper, a saloon operator and two doctors. In 1960, Arlington’s population was 45,000. Arlington is now home to over 380,000, and is the 50th largest city in the United States by population.
39. Texas Live!, a $200 million mixed-use entertainment complex, is between home of the Dallas Cowboys – AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and future home of the Texas Rangers Globe Life Field. The development has 200,000 square feet of world-class restaurants, retail and entertainment venues and with the 100-foot HD LED screen in the main arena, you can watch a game with the perfect view.
40. Globe Life Field, the $1.1 billion new home for the Texas Rangers starting the 2020 season, will be the first of its kind in baseball. With portions made of a transparent material, Rangers fans will enjoy outdoor ambience in air-conditioned comfort.
41. The 14-acre mixed use Champions Park complex, located at the northeast corner of Interstate 30 and Collins St. in the Entertainment District, is finished and has over a dozen eateries and retail facilities.
42. The $150 million luxury hotel Live! by Loews – Arlington is right in the heart of the action. Sip and relax with a view of the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, from the outdoor lounge and bar. The 302-room full-service hotel has 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
43. The $233 million Interstate 30 and State Highway 360 Interchangeproject is underway in Arlington. Designed to reduce traffic congestion on both high-volume freeways and improve safety for the traveling public, the project currently underway is the largest Prop 1-funded project in the state.
44. D.R.Horton, the nation’s largest home builder, relocated its 500 employees into a $20 million 150,000 square-foot building, just east of the new Champions Park complex in Arlington.
45. Six Flags Over Texas welcomed its sinister new ride, El Diablo – the world’s tallest looping coaster at 100 feet tall. The fiery coaster propels riders head over heels through a series of 360° revolutions and changes direction midway, suspending riders upside down.
46. The brothers Vinnie Paul Abbott and Darrell Abbott are the two most notable musicians from Arlington who formed the metal group Pantera. Ever since Darrell died on December 8, 2004, friends, family, and the community participate in the Ride For Dime event every year on August 20, Darrell’s birthday.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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