You can't help groaning when considering the Ford Gorge Games, scheduled for July 13-21 at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. After all, affixing a gas-guzzling automotive company to nine days of outdoor, environmentally friendly athletic activity seems disingenuous at best. Yes, corporate sponsorships have become a fact of life, but this event's improbable title stretches the bounds of good taste. Society's growing tolerance for such outrageous oxymorons is worrisome. Look for construction on the James Watt Center for Forest Preservation to begin soon.
Nonetheless, if you can get past the naming issue, the nine days of FGG should be an exciting experience. More than 1,500 athletes from around the world and 40,000 spectators are expected to attend the event. Top competitors include Renee Hanks and Corey Roesler in kiteboarding, Web Pedrick and Nathan Mershon in windsurfing, Steve Fisher and Tao Berman in kayaking, Tori Allen and Chris Sharma in climbing, plus Tinker Juarez and Cristina Begy in the 24-hour mountain bike race. Meanwhile, the nearby Adventure Village will house films, educational clinics, and exhibitions for the entire family. See www.gorgegames.com for complete details.
On the other hand, if you want to save some drive time (and fossil fuel!), then wait for the adventure sports to come to you. A touring outdoor festival sponsored in part by REI kicked off in Chicago on July 10 and will eventually arrive at the Gorge Amphitheatre on August 3. "A musical celebration of the outside active lifestyle," the event includes climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking as well as top-name bands such as Sheryl Crow and Ziggy Marley. The name of this extravaganza? The Jeep World Outside Festival. Sometimes you just can't win.
Don't let summer pass you by without attending the cultural time warp that is rodeo. Enumclaw hosts the King County Fair Rodeo on July 19-20. But, for even more of the small-town feel, try out the Lewis County Rodeo in Chehalis this weekend. Call 360-330-2088 for more info. . . . "Tiviloi/Viking Days" invades the Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 N.W. 67th, on Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14. Activities include Scandinavian foods, crafts, and storytelling. Details at 789-5707. . . . Have you ever dreamed of scoring the winning touchdown at Husky Stadium? This weekend's "Flag Football Frenzy" is probably your best shot at such glory. Hurry, entry deadline is July 10 at 5 p.m. Details are available at www.kjram.com. . . . If you don't mind getting a lot of dirt under your nails, be a part of the Brooks Muddy Buddy Ride & Run Series on July 14 at Des Moines Creek Park. For this event, two person teams tackle a 10-kilometer course littered with a variety of obstacles, ranging from river crossings to hay bales to the always-messy mud pit. See www.muddybuddy.com for registration info. . . . Finally, the Maryhill Museum of Art seems an unlikely location for an extreme downhill skateboarding and luge event. Then again, who knows what passes for performance art these days? The competition occurs this weekend in Goldendale, on Hwy. 97 southwest of Yakima.