Top 5 Summer Sporting Events


5 p.m. June 1

Hodges Stadium, University of North Florida, 1 UNF Dr., Southside

Tickets $8; kids younger than 12 free


Since 2006, the city’s semi-pro rugby league team has been entertaining fans of all ages with fearless (read: no helmets or pads) competitors in a fast-paced display of athleticism that’s almost as painful to watch as it is to play. So it’s a good thing that the games’ high-energy, party atmosphere distracts many fans from realizing they haven’t a clue what’s happening on the field. Full concessions, raffles and a post-game meet-and-greet with the players are also in the line-up.



6 p.m. June 7

Riverwalk (behind Yates YMCA), 221 Riverside Ave., Riverside

Fee: $20-$30 individuals, $50-$90 relay teams, $10-$20 kids’ run


Personal Running Solutions calls it “the sweetest 3-mile race of the year,” which is pretty accurate, since racers must eat a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts during the run. Following the St. Johns along the Riverwalk, the course is flat and scenic — with the exception of an occasional pile of doughnut vomitus. For participants who’d rather not consume the 2,400 calories alone, there’s a three-person relay option (a mere 800 calories per leg) and a no-doughnut option if runners make a $50 donation to One Fund Boston, the event’s beneficiary. Kids 15 and younger can run a 1-mile version with the doughnut-eating requirement determined by age.



5 p.m. June 9

Veterans Memorial Arena, 300 Randolph Blvd., Downtown

Tickets: $15-$95


John Cena’s catchphrase may be “you can’t see me,” but at 6-feet-1-inch and 250-plus pounds, the dude is kinda hard to miss. Wrestling fans can expect the reigning WWE champ to dole out plenty of monkey-flips, spine-busters and five-knuckle shuffles in the ring with equal amounts of smack talk. Oozing with blood, sweat and testosterone, the event also features fellow WWE Raw stars Sheamus, Ryback and Mark Henry performing — that is, <> — for your pleasure. Those of you with ringside seats may want to BYOBS (Bring Your Own Biohazard Suit).



7 p.m. July 27; register by June 15

Batt Family Fun Center, 1838 Cassat Ave., Westside

Tickets: $15


What sounds like a carnival game is actually an annual event to raise funds and awareness for rhino sanctuaries in Africa and Indonesia. Hosted by the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens’ chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers, BFR seeks to help endangered rhinos as well as their ecosystems. Tickets include three games of bowling and shoe rentals. Surprisingly, shoehorns are not available.



Aug. 29-Sept. 2

Bragan Field, Baseball Grounds, 301 Randolph Blvd., Downtown

Tickets: $7.50-$22.50


Depending on how the Suns finish out the season, this five-game homestand against the Mississippi Braves could be the last fans see of the team until 2014, but the ever-present possibility of players getting called up to the majors ensures they’ll go all out for the win. Appearances by beloved mascot Southpaw, kooky fan competitions, sing-alongs, fireworks and scrambling for Suns swag jettisoned into the stands make the games especially fun for kids. Adults, on the other hand, look to dollar beers and cocktail specials to enhance their trip to the ballpark.