‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

After turning 21, I’ve found that birthday celebrations usually consist of a bar crawl, or meeting up at a bar, or a dinner-followed up by a night out at the bar. Well personally, it’s a bit “been there, done that” for my taste and that’s why this year, for my 26th ( insert shocked face emoji here) we decided to get out of our comfort zone and check out Treeumph located in Bradenton. I had been hearing about this magical place high above the ground that combines an obstacle course with ziplines for months now from friends. We thought it would be the perfect place to celebrate my birthday weekend while actually getting some physical activity.

Sunday morning we drove the short 15 minutes from our campground at Lake Manatee State Park to Treeumph! located right off State Road 70. We had checked out the website and talked to friends about the “adventure course”prior to our visit but we really had no idea what to expect until we got there. Right when you pull into the parking lot you are able to see people up in the trees working their way through the course. You see the 10-year-old boys overhead and think, “I got this- no problem.” Let me tell you, this place is NO JOKE. Let’s begin our journey shall we…

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Before heading to Treeumph be sure to make a reservation. We suggest going on a weekday morning to avoid the crowds and the heat, but we didn’t find that we had to wait too long as they make sure to space out the groups throughout the day. They do request you arrive 30 minutes before your reservation and once you’ve checked in an experienced guide will get you set up in your harness. For an extra $3 you can get unlimited water and gloves. This is something we definitely suggest. This is physical activity, and you will need to keep yourself hydrated! Before they let you loose to roam the sky like some kind of flying squirrel its movie time. I know what you’re thinking, movie time = nap time circa 9th grade health class. False! You will need to pay attention- this is your life in their hands you fools. They go over important safety procedures such as always staying hooked up to the course, keeping your fingers away from the zipline apparatus, and much more. After the video its pop quiz time as we headed over to the harness course.

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Once you’re all geared up, you’ve watched the video and passed the harness courses it’s off to the races. There are 5 different courses in the park, and each one gets higher and more difficult. We crossed bridges, climbed through tubes, scaled cargo nets, and ziplined high above the ground as we made our way through the park. Our favorite aspects of the park included the rock climbing wall, rope swings and the skateboard portion where we Silver Surfer styled it from one platform to another. Portions of the course we could have lived without include the toad stool ladder and the rings.

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While the boys breezed through this section with all the ease of a spider monkey, Steph decided to cut her journey short while I unfortunately had to bow out with only 4 sections left. (I’ll be back!) One thing I was super impressed with was their system for “rescuing” the climbers (yes, I had to be rescued- Damsel in distress style, complete with 2 princes coming to my rescue on a John Deere Gator) But that’s neither here nor there. If you’re having difficulty, just yell “Guide Guide Guide” and someone will be there to help you shortly. I was very impressed with their system and their owner Kathy even sat with me to make sure I was okay.

The pièce de résistance is the Triumph zipline, a 650 ft. zipline 60 ft. in the air. And while I was unable to participate, I dutifully played videographer for the other’s rides back down to earth. After the day was over it was safe to say we were exhausted. It took us around 3 hours to go through our training and the courses and we had a blast the entire time. I was certainly not let down by the hype our friends had given to Treeumph and am looking forward to making my return and completing the course in its entirety!


Thanks to the whole Treeumph team for being such awesome hosts! – Allison

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Check out more videos on our Youtube Channel!

Muay Thai 101

Last night we took a trip into the unknown at Tampa Muay Thai’s Bangkok Bash. Going into the event we knew very little about the sport so we were eager to see what all the hoopla was about. We had been hearing about the event for weeks but last night our wait was over as we headed to Tampa Muay Thai on N. Howard Ave.

This event was the unveil of their new gym and let me tell you, they did it up big. We walked into a huge gym and were greeted by the Tampa Muay Thai girls. We checked in, grabbed tickets for food and drinks and walked past the step and repeat.  We decided to grab some food before the fights started and headed over towards the “concession area”. They had authentic Thai food from The Star Thai and Sushi in Sarasota that included chicken and basil with rice or chicken panang with rice. I opted for the chicken and basil while Rob had a little bit of both.  I’ve only had Thai food one other time but this was delicious. Definitely somewhere to try when in Sarasota.

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Around 6pm it was time for the fights to start. An announcer jumped in the middle of the ring to introduce the Bangkok Bash event and thank the sponsors. some of which included TUFMED and Irish 31. After that was over it was time to begin. Muay Thai is a very traditional sport that includes traditional Thai music while the fight is happening, but each fighter has their own walk out song just as any other sport. It was a great way to keep the audience upbeat and dancing in their seats. Seats that were totally full might I add. At the start of the fights it was standing room only. Each fight was comprised of three rounds, each three minutes long. The night included 7 Muay Thai fights, a pro exhibition, and a boxing match.

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In the middle of the first fight Ryan and Nicholas joined us as we all took in the event. Luckily for us, we had some friends in attendance as well, friends that knew a bit more about Muay Thai than us (not that it took much) They informed us that the sport is scored depending on the strikes each fighter has on their opponent. Punches are apparently the least amount of points. So if one fighter pummels the other with punches, yet gets struck by a knee or kick a few times, they could potentially lose. We also learned a few differences between amateur and professional fights. In an amateur fight fighters are required to wear head gear, professionals are not. As far as the fighting is concerned, amateurs are not allowed to kick or knee to the head while pros can. Check out some amateur action below:

At the end of the first fight we grabbed a Singha Beer (the original Thai beer) and walked around. I took the time to stop by the Rugaz Rescue table where I met Chloe. I was informed that a portion of the proceeds from last night’s event went towards their organization. Their mission is to rescue pitbulls and place them into loving families. Last night they had 2 pitbulls, the adorable Lilly and Justice available for adoption. What a great cause!

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The next few fights brought some great action and the crowd was really getting into it. In the beginning it was explained to us that Muay Thai is a very crowd involved sport. It was encouraged to yell Awayee (spellling?) when one opponent had a good strike against the other. We joined right in and were having a great time. In the middle of the fights we were treated to a demo by pro fighters Alex Berrios and Ben Mars. They were dressed in traditional Muay Thai garments including a “mongkol” which is a sort of headdress that is believed to keep the fighter safe and free from danger.

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Before the final two fights, which were said to be the co-main events, they did a few raffles. One of which included a free year to the Muay Thai gym. After the winners were announced it was time to wrap up the fights. The first one ended fine but the final event ended in a no contest. Since we had no idea what that meant, we asked our friend who let us know that the move the fighter did was illegal. After it was all said and done it was time to leave as the crowd was moving to Irish 31 for the official after party. For coming in with little to no knowledge of the sport we definitely left way more informed. We were told that Tampa Muay Thai is aiming to put at least 3 or 4 fight nights on each year and we strongly encourage you to come out for the next one, we had a blast!

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The NHIE crew with one of the winners of the night

Allison

Red Bull Wake Open- Recap

A few weeks ago we told you about the Red Bull Wake Open taking place during the 4th of July weekend. Well now that the fireworks are gone, the grills have cooled off and you’ve put away your American flag pants until next year… let’s recap.

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While most hardworking Americans were off on Friday July 5th… I, unfortunately was not. However the weather must have been on my side and decided to delay the start of the Big Air competition. Ryan, Nick and I headed down to the Convention Center to check out the scene with a sprinkle of rain remaining. We grabbed a drink at the Sail Pavilion and headed back into the rain for some exploration. We headed past the McCormicks Waterski Wakeboard and Cable Park, the Bass Egg, some food trucks, and the wakeboards that were designed for the Wake Art Project. While checking out the boards we had a chance to meet Chad Cardoza from Kick Start my Art, who combined with Red Bull, created the Wake Art Project. He showed us his board which was essentially a life-size Pez dispenser, complete with a head that lifting to reveal real packs of Pez. Very cool- no wonder he went on to be one of the winners.

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Once the competition began, we cruised across the bridge to Jackson’s to get a better view. After winding through all the people dining at Jackson’s we made our way down to the edge of the water. Here we were able to stand right behind the area all the athletes were located. Some of them were even walking around amongst the spectators and you’d never know they were there if their long crazy hair didn’t give them away. After taking in a few more rounds of the competition it was time to call it a day.

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Day 2 began at noon and lucky for us there was no weather delay. In fact, it was gorgeous out. Gorgeous and HOT, and crowded. We made our way through the crowd towards the Red Bull DJ Truck to check it out. Since it had been raining the day before they had the truck all closed up but this was seriously cool. Not only did it have a DJ booth in the truck, but also TVs and you could play video games off the back of the truck. Very cool. We grabbed some water and Red Bulls from the Media room (ya, we know people) and headed back out towards the dock to get a better view of the wake park competition.

We were especially excited about the fact that the event was so social media friendly. Being the social media enthusiasts that we are, we took full advantage. They would show Instagram photos that included the hashtag #wakeopen on a giant screen, then you could print those photos out right at the event. Finally, you were able to grab your friends, take a photo in their on site photo booth and upload it right to your social media accounts. #wedonthateit

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At the end of the competition, it was Aaron Rathy who took the overall competition, but truthfully… I think it was the city of Tampa who won.

- Allison

Red Bull Wake Open

Seems our timing is perfect (as it often times isn’t) to follow-up our WAVZ post with this sure to be loved post about this weekend’s Red Bull Wake Open.

2012 Red Bull Wake Open Champions

2012 Red Bull Wake Open Champions

As I’m sure most of you know, and if you don’t-where have you been? -this 4th of July weekend Tampa will be hosting one of the hottest events to hit the water. Athletes will soar, flip and sometimes flop over obstacles, ramps and whatever else they can grind on for their chance to become a champion. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I can see the area where it’s going to be taking place from my office, and while this would be an amazing view with air conditioning and the comfort of my cushy office chair, I want to be in the action.

Last year the Red Bull Wake Open caused around 25,000 people to swarm areas like Bayshore Blvd., Jackson’s Bistro, Sail Pavilion, Tampa Convention Center, Knight’s Point at Harbour Island and wherever else they could fit for a chance to check out these athletes. The event takes place on Friday and Saturday so pick a day and make the trip to downtown (we suggest both days, but that’s just us) Parking might be a bit of a hassle so here is our list of alternative modes of transportation: walking, boating, biking, rollerblading, segway-ing?, swimming, kayaking, skateboarding, base jumping, (this is a Red Bull event after all) any way you can get there, get there!

Photo Cred: WFLA

Photo Cred: WFLA

And bring the family! This is a fun and FREE event. Who can argue with free? With the weather being so iffy lately, save the trip to the beach and swing downtown for a chance to checkout the scene.

Can’t make it downtown or want to just be a miserable hermit and stay inside even though you live in Tampa and you might be better suited for Idaho? That’s fine (we guess) You can watch it on TV you little couch potato you! Feel free to crack open a brew in the comfort of your own home by yourself or with a few buddies, then tune into NBC on Saturday, July 6 at 4pm.

If you’re thinking, nah I went last year- what’s the point?… the point is- they’ve added a new feature to the competition: a ramp to ramp park. This will provide an even more exciting aspect to the big air portion of the competition. Red Bull athlete, JD Webb (current record holder for biggest ramp to ramp jump) will compete against 15 year old (ya we said 15) Daniel Grant and others for top ranking.

JD Webb

JD Webb

The competitors will receive awards in 3 categories: wake park, big air & boat. And these aint no regular awards. During the competition wake boards designed by artists as part of the Wake Art Project, a collaboration between Red Bull and Kick Start My Art will be on display. Spectators are encouraged to vote on their favorite wake boards, and the top 4 (one for overall champion) will be awarded to the winners as their trophies. So much better than some cheesy plastic trophy with a wakeboarder on top that will definitely break off in 3 to 5 weeks. To check them out, click here! 

My favorite!

My favorite!

No matter if you stay the whole day or just swing by to see what all the hoopla is about make sure you check it out. The Red Bull Wake Open is just another reason why we love living in Tampa, and if you don’t participate, neither will the events. So if you love living in Tampa as much as we think you do… join in!

Click here for more information

See ya out there! – Allison

Giveaway!

giveawayNow that we’ve told you about the awesome time we’ve had at the Rowdies’ game, we want to give you a chance to get in on the fun. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for your chance to win 4 tickets to an upcoming game!!

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