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Hoop Till You Droop

Market Street closed for ballin'

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The day we get a professional basketball team in St. Louis is the day Bob Costas performs at drag-queen night at Faces -- don't count on it. In case you hadn't heard (and actually cared), the semipro St. Louis Skyhawks won't be returning to the gym at the University of Missouri-St. Louis this summer, and the only thing left of the late, lamented St. Louis Swarm is a midcourt logo that the management of St. Charles' Family Arena has mysteriously allowed to remain. Thank God for Quin Snyder and Brad Soderberg, though -- if St. Louis could be called a four-sport city, it's their doing. The best warm-months hoop action in town is the annual NBA Hoop It Up (314-533-7700,, which divides Market Street into hundreds of half-courts in a three-on-three street-ball tournament for all ages and both sexes. Slam-dunk, around-the-world and other NBA All-Star Weekend-style contests are fun, too, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It's free to watch and $120-$185 per team to play. -- Byron Kerman

Crank Addicts

SUN 4/27

Outlaw cyclists are getting ready to coast from backyard sheds, city lofts and suburban back bedrooms, hell- and frame-bent for Forest Park's World's Fair Pavilion, the site of Tour de Fat, where folks on sprocket rockets and BMX bikes alike will gather for beer, live music and nonmotorized mayhem.

Don't think this thing's just gonna be a ride in the park, warns Cory "Big Air" Blackwood, mild-mannered bike salesman/insaniac muck-monger. "Last year, a bunch of us took our bigger jumping bikes out there and jumped off flights of stairs at the Pavilion," he says. "We got some funny looks, but hey, it was all in good fun." (That's the kind of thing that happens when Trailnet joins forces with the New Belgium Brewing Company.)

The sanctioned chain of events includes 14-, 28- and 37-mile road rides (9 a.m., $5 registration, 314-416-9930), a bike-path cruise and more down-to-earth events such as bike bowling and a "beer-in-hand keg slalom." -- Tom R. Arterburn

Darts for Fun and Profit

Put yourself on the outside of a couple pints at Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-0880), and dart-mentia takes over. The dart gallery beckons, seducing you into believing you have the eagle eye and sure hand of an inveterate English thrower. Easy there, Bull's-Eye. The folks entering this year's Blueberry Hill Dart Tournament can pick out the pips on a die at fifteen paces. Don't embarrass yourself. Have a couple more pints and leave the darts to the professionals. There's $12,000 at stake, and any one of the entrants has a better chance of winning it than you. Competition runs Thursday-Sunday, and there's no charge to watch. -- Paul Friswold

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