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The Sporting Life

In Oklahoma City, packed bleachers line vibrant riverbanks, tens of thousands of fans roar for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and championships take place everywhere from baseball diamonds to archery ranges. Whether you prefer to be in the stands or on the field, Oklahoma City is a sports lover's paradise. From rowing to running and Frisbee golf to softball, Oklahoma City will keep you moving! And, with a full slate of college championship games in baseball, softball and basketball, there's always something to cheer about!

BIG LEAGUE CITY
The Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA has transformed the downtown Chesapeake Energy Arena into one of the toughest places to play in professional sports. A crowd known for being loud, a .648 winning percentage over the last five seasons and more than 250 straight sellouts (and counting) combine with high-flying dunks and hot shooting to make a Thunder gameday experience unlike any other in the league.

You can also see the future stars of baseball at one of the top minor league ballparks in the country at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Oklahoma City Dodgers, the triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, finished the 2015 regular season with the best record in the Pacific Coast League at 86-58, establishing a new team record for most wins in one season during the modern era. Oklahoma City advanced to the playoffs for the second time in the last three years and for the eighth time since rejoining the PCL in 1998. The team routinely features some of the best young talent in baseball.

Time to go green! With the launch of OKC Energy FC (Football Club) in 2014, professional soccer has arrived in Oklahoma City with great enthusiasm. Playing in the United Soccer League, the Energy's home pitch is historic Taft Stadium, 2801 NW 27th. With an international roster including head coach Jimmy Nielsen, Energy matches are a great place to see some winning soccer.

If that's not enough, the new-to-the-scene Rayo OKC squad of the North American Soccer League has begun playing matches at Yukon High School's Miller Stadium. An affiliate of Spanish side Rayo Vallecano, Rayo OKC also features an international roster to go with an "international" league (the team plays sides from Canada, as well as Puerto Rico).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
We take our football seriously in Oklahoma. From national championships to Heisman winners, you can catch some of the best in college football just a short drive from Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Sooners are one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the history of college football. Located in Norman, just 22 miles from downtown Oklahoma City, the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, with a capacity of 82,112, has been home to seven national championship teams and five Heisman trophy winners. You won't be in Oklahoma long before hearing the chants of "Boomer Sooner." Outside of football, Oklahoma University has won 19 national championships in sports such as baseball, gymnastics, softball, wrestling and golf, and has made multiple Final Fours recently in men's and women's basketball.

Located an hour north of the heart of downtown Oklahoma City in Stillwater are the Oklahoma State Cowboys. In 2009, Boone Pickens Stadium was reopened after more than $200 million in renovations. The home of the Cowboys is now one of the premier college stadiums in the country and holds 60,000 fans. The Cowboys have played in bowl games seven of the last eight years. Outside of football, Oklahoma State has won 49 national championships, the fourth-most by any university in the country. Oklahoma State has won national titles in men's basketball, golf, wrestling, baseball and cross country.

The closest college-football action can be found at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. An NCAA Division II school, the Bronchos play at Wantland Stadium, which recently underwent $16 million in renovations that increased seating capacity to 10,000.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
The Oklahoma River is fast becoming one of the world's premier venues for rowing and canoe/kayak. The river's Boathouse District includes the Chesapeake Boathouse, home to RIVERSPORT community classes, programs and rentals; the Devon Boathouse - home of Oklahoma City University Rowing & Kayaking teams as well as the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center; and opening in the summer of 2011, the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower. Each year the river is the site of numerous regattas and is now a US Olympic & Paralympic Training Site for the sports of rowing and canoe/kayak. 2011 events include the USRowing Masters National Championships, Aug. 11-14 and the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, Sept. 29 - Oct. 2, which includes the blu VIP Party, the OGE Corporate Night Sprints, USA Dragon Boat National Championships, USA Rowing World Challenge and the OCU Head of the Oklahoma Regatta, plus family-friendly activities each day and fireworks each night. RIVERSPORT Adventures feature climbing, ropes courses, zip lines, extreme jumping, high-speed slides, and more!

Recently, the voters of Oklahoma City approved $60 million in improvements to the Oklahoma River. This includes a $25 million public whitewater facility for kayaking and rafting, RIVERSPORT Rapids.

Looking for more water sports? With more than 30 lakes within an hour's drive, Oklahoma City has you covered.

  • Lake Hefner: features 2,500 surface acres, heated fishing docks, boat ramps, 9.1 miles of biking and jogging trails and is famous for sailboats and windsurfers. Hefner is also home to the Oklahoma City Boat Club.
  • Lake Draper: features 2,900 surface acres, four covered fishing piers, boat ramps, tending docks, handicap facilities and fish attractors. Picnicking, fishing, jetskiing, boating and sailing are all permitted. Skiing is allowed in open waters.
  • Lake Overholser: features 1,500 surface acres, covered fishing pier, boat ramps, tending docks, handicap facilities and fish attractors. Picnicking, fishing, sailing, boating and jetskiing are permitted.
  • Arcadia Lake: features 1,820 surface acres, picnicking, camping, swimming, water skiing, boating, hiking, disc golf and an equestrian trail. A heated, covered dock is provided for year-round fishing.

RUNNING / CYCLING

In addition to a comprehensive and growing citywide trails system (including 50 new miles of trails thanks to the MAPS 3 initiative), Oklahoma City is also home to some of the most prestigious running and cycling races in the country.

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Listed by Runner's World as one of 12 "must run" races in the world, this annual marathon raises money for the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Red Bud Classic: For a quarter of a century the annual Red Bud Classic has provided the community with fitness, fun and philanthropy. Named one of the top 75 running events in the country by Runner's World, the event has attracted more than 85,000 runners since its inception.

Cycling is also a popular activity. With numerous races, clubs and shops, cycling enthusiasts should have no problem finding a home in Oklahoma City.

GOLF
With more than 3,000 hours of sunlight each year and 33 public and private courses, Golf is a favorite pastime in Oklahoma City.

Oak Tree Golf and Country Club: Home to seven PGA and Champions Tour players, Oak Tree is one of the premier golf courses in the country. This 7,412-yard course has hosted three major tournaments including the 1988 PGA Championship. The club will also host the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.

Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club: Designed by Perry Maxwell and opened in 1920, this 6,947-yard course is located in the heart of Nichols Hills.

Gallardia Country Club: Opened in 1998, Gaillardia has become a nationally recognized private country club and residential community. The expansive links course, designed by architect Arthur Hills and later renovated by famed player Tom Kite, can play from 5,100 yards to well over 7,300. The manicured course features generous fairways but requires precision iron play which challenges every level of skill from the astute to the beginner. The clubhouse is world renowned and has many recreational amenities including tennis, pool, fitness center, and an indoor golf learning facility.

Rose Creek: Players of every skill level will enjoy Arthur Hills' links style layout and immense practice facility. The fairways stretch through naturally rolling terrain, tree-lined creeks, and native grasses. More than 50 strategically placed bunkers add extra beauty and challenge, while water comes into play on 12 holes.

Fairfax: Sporting a unique clubhouse that was originally the home of Harper Oil Company Ranch, Fairfax Golf Club is surrounded by tall trees, rolling hills, lakes, ponds and deep water creeks and makes for one of Oklahoma's most beautiful and unique golf courses.

Westbury Country Club: Westbury features a challenging layout on a Don January-designed course that winds its way along wooded creeks.

Two of the best college golf courses in America are also located just outside of Oklahoma City. At Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Karsten Creek was named Best New Course by Golf Digest in 1998. It was also awarded a five-star rating by the same publication, one of only ten courses in the country to earn that distinction. The University of Oklahoma makes their home at Jimmie Austin Golf Course in Norman. Golfweek named it "One of the Best Courses You Can Play" in both 2009 and 2010.

The city of Oklahoma City also runs five top-flight public courses that offer golf year-round. Earlywine, Lake Hefner, Lincoln Park, Trosper and James E. Stewart all offer unique challenges and layouts at affordable prices.

Other private courses in OKC include Quail Creek, Willow Creek and The Greens.

AMATEUR SPORTS CAPITAL
When it comes to watching amateur sports, few cities can compete with Oklahoma City's diversity and frequency of hosting top-flight collegiate action. 

The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, the headquarters of the governing body of U.S. softball, is located in Oklahoma City and the adjoining ASA Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field hosts the annual NCAA and Big 12 Softball Championships. Located in the heart of the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma City routinely plays host to the conference's baseball, men's and women's basketball and softball tournaments. The NCAA also holds several of its championships in Oklahoma City. The softball championships are held every year.

Other amateur sports that the city has hosted include numerous men's and women's basketball NCAA tournament games, baseball regionals and wrestling championships. Oklahoma City in December also will host the 2014 NCAA Volleyball Championships. Oklahoma City also hosts the world's oldest basketball tournament still played. The All-College Basketball tournament was started in 1935 and outdates the NCAA, NIT, NBA and NAIA tournaments. The classic, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2010, has featured some of the games' greatest coaches and players over the years. Legends like Bill Russell, Pete Maravich, Eddie Sutton, Henry Iba and Wayman Tisdale have participated in the All-College.

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