Check out one of Western Slope’s big sporting events

The JUCO Baseball World Series at Suplizio Field.



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The JUCO Baseball World Series at Suplizio Field.

The largest annual tennis tournament on the Western Slope is July 23-29.  It has divisions for all ages and abilities from junior 10-under to adults 50-older and beginners to open. The deadline to enter is July 10.



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The largest annual tennis tournament on the Western Slope is July 23-29.  It has divisions for all ages and abilities from junior 10-under to adults 50-older and beginners to open. The deadline to enter is July 10.

Rodeo at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.



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Rodeo at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.

QUICKREAD

EXPERT PICK

JUCO committee member Paul Nelson loves to take in many of the sporting and outdoor activities available the Grand Valley, but “I like to mountain bike,” he said.

So if Nelson had visitors from out of town to entertain, “I would rent a mountain bike and take that person out early in the morning and take them to the Rustler’s Loop trail in Loma. There’s eagles and other mountain bikers. Every time I go out there and there are people from all over the place. It’s a fairly easy trail and you’re out in God’s country.

“Enjoy the red rocks, exercise and you would have some day left to do something else,” he said.



The Grand Junction Rockies have added another layer to the summertime fun to be had while watching or participating in the various sporting events on the Western Slope.

The Colorado Rockies Rookie-affiliate team will play 38 home games during its first season at Suplizio Field beginning in June.

But before the Rockies take the field, the annual Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, JUCO, will get things started for baseball fans.

JUCO

The best junior college baseball teams in the country come to Grand Junction each year to play for a national title.

JUCO is May 26 through June 2 at Suplizio Field.

“No. 1, it is the World Series for the 10 college teams that get to come here,” JUCO committee member Paul Nelson said. “It is the World Championship. It turns (the intensity) up several notches. The second thing I’d say is the young folks that play are playing for the love of the game. It’s our national past time. As a result, they put their heart into playing and you can sense that. The biggest crowd they play in is a couple hundred people.

“GJ been called the baseball capitol of Colorado. I think that’s a well deserved reputation we’ve earned. As a result of that, the baseball fans here are very knowledgeable. If you get a close game, the fans watching know what’s at stake and what’s going on. Nobody has to tell them.”

General admission tournament passes are on sale at outlets throughout town. Passes are $35 for adults, $25 for students (ages 6–21) and senior citizens (65-older) and are good for all 19 games.

General admission seating is throughout the main grandstands from the home plate area down the left-field line, in the outfield bleachers and right-field bleachers. The new stadium seating along first base is reserved seating only.

Reserved seating throughout the ballpark is available and are $145 each in first-base section, $75 all others.

Reserved tickets are sold through Monumental Events only (http://www.MonumentalEvents.com, 2470 Patterson Rd., Unit 1B, 877-434-8497).

Tournament officials said more than 6,000 general admission seats will be available during the tournament. Those holding general admission tickets may not “save” seats by taping down blankets, etc.

Ticket outlets are Alpine Bank locations, the JUCO office in the Home Loan Building at Fourth Street and Rood Avenue, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, City Market stores, B&H Sports or through Monumental Events.

The tournament begins with a pre-tournament banquet at 6 p.m. May 25 at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Tickets are $40 each and include a social hour and dinner. Tickets are available at Home Loan.

The keynote speaker for the banquet is Don Meyer, the second most-winning men’s basketball coach in NCAA history behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. Meyer survived a head-on car wreck that resulted in the amputation of part of his left leg and revealed inoperable cancer.

Following JUCO, the Grand Junction Rockies’ season begins and other area sporting events will draw plenty of athletes and fans.

GRAND JUNCTION ROCKIES

The Colorado Rockies Rookie-affiliate team’s home opener is at 7 p.m. June 23 at Suplizio Field. Many of the games will include promotions.

Grand Junction will have home games June 23–27, July 3–9, July 19–25, July 31–Aug. 5, Aug. 13–19 and Sept. 1–6.

Games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The July 4 game will start at 6:30 p.m. and the July 25 game will start at 2:05 p.m.

Single game tickets are on sale at most City Market locations on the Western Slope and online at http://www.gjrockies.com and Facebook. Tickets are $10 and $8 farther down the left-field and right-field lines.

For Rockies information, go to http://www.milb.com and search for Grand Junction.

TACO BELL WESTERN SLOPE OPEN

The largest annual tennis tournament on the Western Slope is July 23–29. It has divisions for all ages and abilities from junior 10-under to adults 50-older and beginners to open. The deadline to enter is July 10. The entry fee is $25 for one event, $20 for the second event and $15 for three events.

The tournament takes place at courts throughout Grand Junction, but is based at Colorado Mesa University’s Elliott Tennis Center.

USA CYCLING PRO CHALLENGE

Some of the best cyclists in the world are coming to Colorado for the second annual challenge Aug. 20–26. Catch up with them along one of the race’s seven stages, or meet them on each day’s finish lines.

The race begins in Durango and heads west on U.S. Highway 160 to Dolores. From there, the riders start a gradual canyon climb for more than 30 miles topping out over Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 feet. It’s downhill from there to Telluride.

The second of the seven stages starts in Montrose and heads east to Gunnison then north through Crested Butte.

The popular “Queen Stage” from Gunnison to Aspen is back with two of the highest climbs in professional racing. After reaching Crested Butte for the second consecutive day, the course will ascend to 12,126 feet to the highest point of the week at Cottonwood Pass on a gravel road. A twisting descent will take the peloton into Buena Vista before heading north on U.S. Highway 24 to Twin Lakes. From there, riders will climb Independence Pass (12,095 feet) and ride on to Aspen.

The fourth stage is mostly above 9,000 feet in elevation and will pass through Leadville, which at 10,152 feet is the highest incorporated city in the United State. It includes a climb over the Continental Divide at Tennessee Pass (10,424 feet) before descending into Minturn, then finishing with a climb to Beaver Creek.

Riders will begin the fifth stage with yet more climbing, 10 miles up Hoosier Pass (11,500 feet). The summit is followed with a fast descent into Fairplay. The stage continues through Woodland Park into downtown Colorado Springs, where the Challenge started in 2011.

The sixth stage will include several circuit laps around downtown in front of the largest crowds in the 2011 race, then will head north on Colorado Highway 93 to Boulder. Upon arrival, the sprinters will have an opportunity to earn valuable points with a sprint line to the Pearl Street Mall.

The final stage will be an individual time trial in downtown Denver.

For information, go to http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.

PRO RODEO STATE FINALS

The 37th annual Colorado Pro Rodeo Finals & Parade is Sept. 14–16 at Mesa County Fairgrounds.

The parade is at 10 a.m. Sept. 15 in downtown Grand Junction.

The rodeo is at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday — gates open an hour earlier — with events including steer wrestling, bull and bronc riding and plenty of prize money to be won.

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