Jun 26, 2019 12:17PM
● By Stephanie Wilson
Denver is a city of sports fans who go big. If you need evidence, just look for the aerial photograph of the crowd that turned the streets of Denver and Civic Center Park into a sea of orange to cheer on the Broncos and celebrate the team’s Super Bowl victory in 2016. Ah, the good ole days, when Peyton Manning led the team to victory on any given Sunday. The Broncos have been enduring the dreaded “rebuilding years” ever since his retirement, leaving Denver spots fans hungry for any kind of win. Maybe this year, kids. Maybe not. No matter: as this spring proved, there’s plenty of reason to cheer in the Mile High. Both the Denver Nuggets (the NBA team, noob) and the Avalanche (NHL, and call them the Avs) went far into their respective post-seasons, giving the city’s enthusiasts plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Even though neither team made it to the finals, they reminded us how great it feels to be a fan cheering for a hometown (or adopted-home town) team. During the summer months, you may think there’s only one way to get your pro spots fix: baseball. But you’d be wrong.
This month, fanatics can head out and support local professional teams such as the Colorado Rockies (baseball), Colorado Mammoth (Lacrosse), Colorado Rapids (Soccer), and the Denver Barbarians (Rugby), all of which are in season and hosting matches at the top-notch fields and facilities around the city.
The game to get most excited about: on July 15, the Rapids take on Arsenal, the legendary football team from London with more titles and championships than we’ve got space to list. Think of them like the Patriots of English football. (Don’t hate on my love for Tom Brady.) The “international friendly” match is the first time the teams square off, and it’s the first game in the Arsenal’s pre-season US tour. The game is expected to sell out so move fast if you want ’em.
The game is the result of an effort to further establish Denver as the sport’s mecca of the US.
“Denver is an outdoor city full of urban adventure, and that spirit is reflected in the city’s passion for sports professional, amateur, and recreational” reads the homepage for the Denver Sports Commission, an affiliate of Visit Denver.
The commission works with the city’s tourism board to identify, pursue, and attract new sporting opportunities for the region. And its hard work is paying off, with area sports fans, hotels, restaurants, venues, and more reaping the benefits. Just a quick recap of this year alone: In January, Denver hosted the first-ever UUIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Finals in North America. February: the USA Fencing Junior Olympics. April: The US Soccer Women’s National Team took on Australia at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park before heading to France for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Monster Energy Supercross made a stop at Mile High that month as well. In May, Metropolitan State University in Denver hosted the 2019 NCAA Division II softball championship, and the Colorado Convention Center welcomed the North American Gay Volleyball Championships. In June, Mile High Stadium hosted the CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the Mexican National Team taking on Canada, Martinique, and Cuba during a doubleheader. In late July, USA Rugby comes to town for round 1 of the Pacific Nations Cup, a match between USA and Canada. Rounding out the summer, the 2019 Colorado Classic professional women’s cycling race returns to the roads of Colorado.
But enough about teams coming here; let’s give three cheers for the ones from here. Get out there and support them this summer.
Take yourself out to a ballgame. It’s the American way. Ranked second in the National League West as of press time, the Rockies are showing some potential this season, and the games are always a good time regardless of the outcomes.
This month, there are just short of a dozen home games going down at Coors Field as the Rockies hosts teams from Houston, Cincinnati, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. If baseball doesn’t really get you going but Instagram likes do, put the July 2 game on your schedule. The Rockies take on Houston, but you don’t really care about that. You care that every fan gets a handheld USA flag to wave about, making for the perfect photo op to kick off the celebration of American freedom taking place in the days that follow. Following the game, the fireworks display lights up over downtown the first major display of the Independence Day celebrations lighting up skies in and around the city. If you can’t make it on the second, there are also fireworks marking the completion of the game on July 3.
vs. Houston Astros
July 2 // 6:10 p.m. // Tickets start at $35
July 3 // 6:10 p.m. // Tickets start at $75
vs. Cincinnati Reds
July 12 // 6:40 p.m. // Tickets start at $11
July 13 // 6:10 p.m. // Tickets start at $20
July 14 // 1:10 p.m. Tickets start at $10
vs. San Francisco Giants
July 15 // 12:10 p.m. // Tickets start at $6
July 16 // 6:40 p.m. // Tickets start at $8
July 17 // 1:10 p.m. // Tickets start at $8
vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
July 29 // 6:40 p.m. // Tickets start at $9
July 31 // 1:10 p.m. // Tickets start at $9
Lacrosse may not be as popular a professional sport as the ones we’ve already mentioned—not yet at least. Thanks to the Denver Outlaws and the Colorado Mammoth, lacrosse is gaining a fervent following in the Mile High. The Mammoth box lacrosse team is part of the growing National Lacrosse League and plays home games at the Pepsi Center, where they often attract crowds rivaling those of the Nuggets and Avalanche. The Mammoth took home the league championship in 2006. The season runs from December to April, but during the summer months, the Denver Outlaws pick up where the Mammoth left off.
The team, founded in 2006 and owned by Broncos titan Pat Bowlen (who passed away in June as this issue was going to press), plays on the field in Broncos Stadium at Mile High from May through August.
With three Major League Lacrosse Championships to their name, the Outlaws are the winningest franchise in MLL history, earning a playoff berth 12 of the team’s 13 seasons. The sports commission describes the current roster as young and hungry “a great introduction to this exciting sport.” Which is what the Outlaw’s official mission statement indicates is the goal: “The Denver Outlaws are an organization committed to not only winning MLL Championships but also to growing new lacrosse fans, making a positive impact on the community, and providing superior entertainment, value, and service.”
This month, you can catch the Outlaws during three home games: July 4 vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks; July 11 vs. Atlanta Braves; and July 21 vs. the Dallas Rattlers. The annual Fourth of July game is the one most likely to spark your interest in the sport; it brings nearly 30,000 fans to the stadium for the fireworks-capped game. The 2015 edition still holds the all-time attendance record for professional lacrosse.
Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids have a new home: the sprawling, high-tech Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which opened its doors in 2007. The Rapids are a force to be reckoned, with an international roster featuring players from Jamaica, England, Africa, Japan, and Argentina, not to mention plenty of homegrown talent. The season runs from March to October.
On July 4, the Colorado Rapids and Commerce City hosts the 24th Annual 4thFest celebration at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Celebrate Independence Day as the team takes on New England Revolution at 7 p.m. Along with the match, there’s a free community festival outside the park and what’s being billed as Colorado’s largest public fireworks show. Although that’s the same accolade the City of Denver is touting for the Independence Eve display, so you’ll have to check out both and be the judge. Let us know what you decide. Either way, ticketed fans are invited right onto the field to watch the spectacle above for the best view.
Don’t know Denver has a pro rugby club? Don’t call yourself a super fan of Mile High sports. It’s been around for more than 50 years, established in 1967. The Denver Barbarians Rugby Football Club (known as the Barbos) competes against 15 other club teams from all over the United States, the highest level of competitive rugby play in the country. The Barbos were undefeated during the 2018/2019 season, taking home the Challenge League championship in May.
The Denver rugby club also field the Barbos 7s side (instead of two teams with 15 players on the field, there’s seven on each side) consistently ranked one of the top 7s sides in the country. If you missed it in June, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park hosted the 52nd Annual Denver 7s Rugby Tournament. In July, the team heads to Utah for the Salt Lake City Rugby Tournament, and the 2019 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championship is scheduled for August 11–12, with a TBA location determined by the open qualifiers on June 29 and 30. There’s a good chance it’ll be happening in the Mile High, but this mag goes to press before it’s confirmed. If it’s here, you should be there to cheer on the homegrown team. Head to USACLUB7S.COM to find out. Go, team, go.