Bay area weekend sports events

click to enlarge Pre-race vision of the track at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, the previous event before the round in Tampa. - AMSOIL Arenacross / Josh Rud.
AMSOIL Arenacross / Josh Rud.
Pre-race vision of the track at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, the previous event before the round in Tampa.


This weekend begins a sports smorgasbord of sorts in the Tampa Bay area that includes baseball, golf, motorcycles, running and plenty of fun.

— The AMSOIL Arenacross event highlights the weekend in a unique form of off-road motorcycle racing on a dirt track inside the Amalie Arena — a dirt obstacle course that was constructed all day on Thursday using 170 truckloads of soil. The inaugural Tampa race is the sixth of 15 rounds in the 2015 campaign between the best professional and up-and-coming amateurs in the world, featuring Road to Supercross champion Ricky Carmichael and four-time Arenacross champion Tyler Bowers. Carmichael is a five-time Supercross champion and a native of Clearwater and Tallahassee. He has competed on several different motorcycle circuits, has won the MotoX at the X-Games three times, and has raced in a variety of motorsports competitions including the Truck Series and Nationwide Series. On Saturday, the pros race in the Arenacross event and the amateurs take the track on Sunday. A track party kicks off things at 5 p.m. on Saturday with the first race starting at 7 p.m. The track party allows attendees exclusive access to the track, the riders and the Monster Energy Girls, as well as live music from local DJs, photo opportunities, and chances to win prizes. The amateurs race at 12 noon on Sunday with doors opening at 8 a.m. Saturday’s reserved seating ticket prices range between $10 and $35 while Sunday’s tickets cost just $15 for general admission seating. To purchase tickets, visit the Amalie Arena Box Office, online at ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

— The 2015 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest takes over Tropicana Field for the 20th consecutive year this Saturday, February 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features activities that include “Reading with the Rays,” the Sagicor Coaches Clinic with former Major Leaguers and Rays broadcasters, Brian Anderson and Orestes Destrade, the All Children’s Hospital Interactive Zone, Kids Run the Bases, photos with Rays mascosts Raymond and DJ Kitty, a plethora of baseball activities, and appearances by Rays players and coaches at various stations throughout the day. Fans can call 888-FAN-RAYS or go online to raysbaseball.com/fanfest for more information about the 2015 Rays Fan Fest.

— Topgolf's “Suits and Boots” Party for Charity event happens Saturday, Feb. 21 from 8-11 p.m. to raise funds for Folds of Honor, an organization that has awarded more than 7,500 educational scholarships in all 50 states to meet an ongoing need in our country. The event has become one of the more entertaining ones at all the Topgolfs throughout the country, with clientele participating in swimsuits and winter boots, hats and scarves. It’s definitely a place to be seen and to sight see. For more info, visit topgolf.com/suits.

— The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend Events have already reached a record number of entries – 30,300, according to the organization’s website. This surpasses the 2014 number of 29,912. As a result, the 15K, 8K and Half Marathon are sold out. The 5K race still has 1,000 entries available for the run, walk and stroller roll versions. These entries will go on sale when the event’s 8 On Your Side Health & Fitness Expo opens Friday at 10 a.m. in the East Hall of the Tampa Convention Center. 5K late entry fees will be $40 and will only be available until 8 p.m. on Friday night. For more info, visit tampabayrun.com.

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