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Courtesy of San Antonio Spurs

After launching a delicious celebratory ice cream and exclusive merch with H-E-B last month, the San Antonio Spurs are keeping the 50th anniversary party going with even more collector's items. At special games throughout this season, the team will release exclusive bobblehead giveaways to the first 10,000 fans — as well as opportunities to meet former team legends in person.

The giveaways started on November 7, with George Gervin bobbleheads kicking off the collectible five-part series. This week, the team celebrates a special “1999 Championship Night” during the Friday, December 2 game against the New Orleans Pelicans. The night will honor San Antonio’s first-ever championship with a David Robinson bobblehead and a pre-game meet-and-greet with 1999 Champion Sean Elliott.

A two-time NBA Champion with the Spurs (1999 and 2003), Robinson was a 10-time NBA All-Star and the league’s 1995 MVP. The Spurs retired his No. 50 jersey in the rafters of the AT&T Center after his 14-year career, all of which he played with the Spurs. Elliott's jersey is also retired, and he likewise helped the Spurs capture the 1999 Championship, perhaps most notably with his game-winning three-pointer dubbed the “Memorial Day Miracle” in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The five-part series will ultimately come together as one unit to form a Spurs river barge, made popular during the team’s championship celebrations. This week's David Robinson giveaway will be available to early-arriving attendees, and the chance to meet Elliott will take place on the main concourse at 6 pm.

To get ready to party like it's 1999, fans can watch the pilot episode of the Spurs 50th anniversary The Ring of the Rowel docuseries titled “99 Championship”. A full list of remaining River Barge Bobblehead nights is below:

  • 1999 Championship Night – December 2 vs. New Orleans: David Robinson Bobblehead, presented by Frost
  • 2003 Championship Night – December 12 vs. Cleveland: Tim Duncan Bobblehead, presented by H-E-B
  • 2005 Championship Night – February 1, 2023, vs. Sacramento: Manu Ginobili Bobblehead, presented by Self Financial
  • 2007 Championship Night – March 2, 2023, vs. Indiana: Tony Parker Bobblehead, presented by SWBC

Single game tickets for all games at the AT&T Center for the 50th anniversary season are available for purchase at Spurs.com and on Ticketmaster.

San Antonio's minor league baseball team scores new owners, including Texas sports legends

A hometown home run

San Antonio's very own minor league baseball team is back to being locally owned. Designated Bidders LLC has purchased the San Antonio Missions from longtime franchise owner David Elmore of the Elmore Group.

Designated Bidders LLC consists of a group of of San Antonio business executives, with notable members including David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, and Henry Cisneros, among others. Ryan Sanders Baseball, an organization founded by MLB Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Reid Ryan (who is Ryan Sanders Baseball CEO), and Don Sanders will also join Designated Bidders as owners/operators of the San Antonio Missions, according to a press release.

Ryan Sanders Baseball has 25 years of experience in the sports industry at the minor and major league levels in baseball. "Our team's dedication to excellence and the fan experience is in great alignment with the Designated Bidders group of investors, their vision and energy. This partnership will ensure the future of professional baseball in San Antonio for generations to come and we couldn't be happier to be on board for the journey," said Reid Ryan in a statement.

Designated Bidders founders Bruce Hill, Randy Smith, Bob Cohen, Peter J. Holt, and Graham Weston all come to the table with a strong track record of investing in past projects with great returns. The San Antonio Spurs, for example, won five championships during Holt's tenure as chairman of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, while Weston's development firm, Weston Urban, has also helped with the development of iconic San Antonio landmarks like Legacy Park and 300 Main.

In other words, the San Antonio Missions are in capable hands moving forward.

The release also notes that the new owners of the San Antonio Missions are well aware that Nelson Wolff Stadium must be renovated in order to meet the MLB's standards for professional development league stadiums. Randy Smith, CEO and co-founder of Weston Urban, has high hopes for the future of Nelson Wolff Stadium.

"We believe our city needs a vibrant stadium where pedestrian-friendly business, recreation, public spaces, art and culture attract the talent of today and tomorrow," Smith said in the release. "An approachable, family-friendly venue is a key component of continuing to build the city our kids will call home."

Photo by Nik Newman

75-year-old San Antonio native prepares to run his 75th marathon

75 Marathons

While serving as a surgeon during the Vietnam War, 27-year-old Air Force Major Richard Newman found one effective method to cope with the stress: running. After the war, his daily habit evolved into a lifelong love for running marathons, but he had no way of knowing that his passion wouldn’t keep him completely immune from a heart attack decades later.

“There was a perception that if you can run a marathon, you’ll be spared cardiac disease," Newman tells CultureMap. "My parents had no history of [heart attacks]. I violated this notion."

The first marathon Newman ever ran was the San Antonio Marathon in 1978, which he remembers as "an incredible experience and accomplishment for me" and "the beginning of my enthusiasm for the event."

37 years later, as Newman prepared for the 2015 New York City Marathon, he went on one last run with his wife, Julie. But disaster struck:

“I collapsed with no heartbeat. Thankfully, Julie started hands-only CPR for the next 13 minutes. Apparently, many startled bystanders watched. No one seemed to know CPR. Fortunately, one person called 911 from Julie’s phone and placed the phone next to her on speaker to Emergency Services. EMS arrived and shocked me with their defibrillator which started my heartbeat. I woke up in a local hospital with no knowledge of what happened and a painful chest wall from broken ribs from her life-saving CPR.”

Julie Newman is a PhD professor at the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, and Newman credits his survival to her CPR.

“It would be great if everyone understood the importance of hands-only CPR in saving lives. It is imperative to begin CPR as soon as someone is found without a heartbeat because oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the heart and brain during CPR. If there is more than a few minutes delay with not resuscitation, waiting for EMS to arrive, there’s a much higher incidence of irreparable heart and brain damage or death. Successful resuscitation requires, more often than not, breaking the ribs at the breastbone attachment.”

Thanks to Julie’s life-saving CPR, Newman had no muscle damage to his heart or neurological problems. He eventually had to have an internal pacemaker/defibrillator placed, but that didn’t stop Newman from resuming his marathon habit. He was determined to get back to his marathons as safely as he could, and the husband-wife duo ran the New York City Marathon in 2016.

Now 75 years old, Newman plans to mark the occasion with an impressive marathon milestone: the 2022 New York City Marathon on November 6 will be his 75th.

“My routine through the year is jogging 25-30 miles per week," he says. "I try to do a 20-miler a month before the event and taper long runs following."

The San Antonio native’s favorite restaurant is La Fonda on Main, but since he'll be running in New York City, the pair will likely celebrate at his favorite NYC restaurant, Carmine’s.

What advice would Newman give to those who might want to give marathons a try?

“Exercise is important. Running seems to be my passion. As a surgeon, it works to transfer the day’s stress to asphalt. My motivation started with the death of my father in 1977, running in his honor, as do many participants in this event. My brother’s death in 2010 was another major stimulus. Over the years, my goal was to stay sub-four hours and thankfully I was able to qualify for Boston on one occasion. Now, after having a cardiac arrest, I feel blessed to run ahead of the street sweepers and match my age in marathon events. Some advice for early runners looking toward their first marathon would include having good shoes, starting slowly, staying hydrated with electrolytes, and most of all, run for the finish and not for the clock.”

Courtesy of Business Wire

WWE’s Royal Rumble to enter the Alamodome ring in San Antonio next January

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Royalty is coming to San Antonio next year. But not the kind you might think.

WWE is bringing its Royal Rumble professional wrestling event to the Alamodome on January 28, 2023. WWE, the Alamodome, and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced the event in a September 7 news release.

This will mark Royal Rumble’s fourth time in San Antonio and third time in San Antonio. The last Royal Rumble in San Antonio took place in 2017. According to ProWrestling.net, attendance at that event totaled 52,020. The Alamodome’s capacity is 72,000.

San Antonio’s Royal Rumble will stream live on the Peacock network and the WWE Network.

The event will be headlined by two 30-men and 30-women Royal Rumble matches. Winners will get the opportunity to compete at WrestleMania.

Tickets for Royal Rumble will go on sale September 30 at 10 am local time via Ticketmaster.

“We are thrilled to bring back one of WWE’s most exciting events of the year to San Antonio,” Nirenberg says in a news release. “Royal Rumble will bring tens of thousands of WWE fans from around the world to the Alamodome, bringing both an incredible economic boost to our beautiful city and community outreach events that will give back in a multitude of ways.”

The Alamodome celebrates its 30th anniversary next year. The venue opened in May 1993.

Photo courtesy of the San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs take home games on the road to Austin and Mexico this season

Home Away From Home

Most Spurs get pretty rusty after 50 years, but the NBA team is going strong and keeping things fresh by making a push for more fan engagement at "home." For the 2022-23 season, the San Antonio Spurs have announced four special home games, two of which will be held at Austin’s new state-of-the-art venue, the Moody Center.

The team will also play a home game at Arena CDMX in Mexico City on December 17, further strengthening its international fanbase. And on January 13, a 50th anniversary celebration will bring the team home to San Antonio, but this time to the iconic Alamodome.

The dome holds more than 65,000 spectators, which means the game may break records for the NBA regular season. That’s about 50,000 more than The Spurs’ 2021-2022 average, which was 15,014 guests per game.

The Austin games are scheduled for April 6 and 8, 2023. So far, the Moody Center mostly hosts large music events. The only other sports events on the docket as of August are three days of Professional Bull Riding (PBR).

“We are honored to host the San Antonio Spurs for two games in Austin and help the organization celebrate their 50th anniversary season,” said senior vice president Jeff Nickler of the Moody Center and its investor, Oak View Group, in a press release. “Events like these not only generate significant economic impact for our community, but also further elevate Austin’s reputation as a world-class destination for sports and live events.”

The Spurs represent an especially wide region for an NBA team, reaching up to Austin and all the way down into Mexico, the edges of what the release calls a “mega-region.” The team is getting creative with outreach, and just made the first NBA partnership with hiring platform Indeed. But the fans still come first.

“Hosting these four games is part of our vision to purposefully engage and celebrate our entire Spurs following from Mexico to Austin, while fostering the next generation of fans,” said Spurs sports and entertainment CEO RC Buford. “Playing in front of our Austin fans for the first time ever during the regular season, returning to Mexico City, and the Alamodome will each be historic and special moments for our entire organization. We are grateful for our loyal supporters throughout our entire region and are thrilled for the opportunity to play in front of them as part of our 50th anniversary season.”

General tickets for the Moody Center games will be available September 28 via nba.com and the Spurs App. Subscribers to various Spurs and Moody Center memberships will receive first access to presales starting September 21.

Photo courtesy of Leander Chamber of Commerce

Eat, drink, or boutique in the Hill Country's Leander

On the Road

Just 30 miles north of downtown Austin, historic Leander is a go-to destination that’s part of the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

The charming Old Town district boasts a unique collection of shops along with local flavor in the form of dining destinations, distilleries, and more. You can even ride the rails when you’re in town — or you may even stumble across a hometown event or festival.

Here’s your short list of things to do.

Get in on these freebies
Leander is filled with free fun and adventures to explore, including Lakewood Park, the newest green space in town that boasts a skate park, kayak launch and rentals, basketball courts, a huge playground for all ages, fishing spots, and an extensive trail system.

The 16-acre Robin Bledsoe Park is another good place to get outside with outdoor activities, including a swimming pool, lighted sports courts, playscape, splash pad, and a walking trail.

Go on a scavenger hunt to spot all 13 painted cabooses that make up the Trail of Trains, including an iconic Whataburger one — in front of an actual Whataburger restaurant, naturally — with orange and white stripes, the “Just Like You Like It” slogan, and branding that mimics the look of the original Corpus Christi location.

The Leander Library has an impressive roster of daily activities for all ages, from their teen book club to adult workshops, LEGOs in the library, and more.

Leander also makes a great base camp for the Texas Hill Country Passport, if you want to explore more of the area. You can pick up your passport and your first stamp at the Leander Visitors Center, and then collect a stamp at every visitors center you go to in the Hill Country and mail your “passport” in for a prize.

Shop local
Leander has cool shops you can’t find anywhere else, including Wildfire Artisans in a vintage Airstream. It’s an uncommon gathering place to talk, hang, and browse everything from bohemian-eclectic to ’70s pop items for decor and dress.

The coolest outdoor market comes by way of Smooth Village, which pops up every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm and features a range of unique vendors and a farmers market. On Saturday evenings, you can often catch karaoke, live music, and other entertainment at the village, too.

For bridal and other formal wear, Lace & Grace Bridal Boutique has luxury looks at affordable price points along with all the veils, sashes, jewelry, and accessories to match.

Ride the rails
Sit back for a relaxing journey into the passenger railroad's glorious past onboard the Austin Steam Train Association’s Bertram Flyer. The vintage train cars are from the golden era of rail travel, built in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, and all fully restored.

The 44-mile journey spans the South San Gabriel River and stops for a 15-minute layover at the historic 1912 Bertram Depot. You’ll see views of Short Creek Canyon, the 300-foot-long wooden trestle bridge over the South San Gabriel, and the Duffy-Shamrock communications mast — one of the tallest structures in the world!

Dine well
Find your perfect table among local restaurants, starting with Guaco Taco where they serve up frozen margs and fresh, homemade Mexican fare (and they have an outdoor patio, too).

For southern faves with Cajun flare, Mouton’s is your place. The “pit is lit” at Smokey Mo’s barbecue joint, and Blue Corn Harvest is a farm-to-table restaurant with a Southwestern spin and lots of delicious, creative cocktails.

Have dessert after (or before) your meal at The Sweet Cupfe, where they bake up endless sweet flavors and even have a top-shelf list, too — think red wine chocolate cupcakes, a Jack Daniel’s-infused chocolate creation, a vanilla Tennessee honey cake, and more.

Grab a drink
From Leander’s very own distillery — Leanderthal Distilling, makers of Leanderthal Vodka and more — to local bars and breweries, your favorite drink is waiting for you.

Make sure to swing by for a craft beer during Whitestone Brewery’s weekday happy hours; they also bring in live music almost every Saturday. Wine aficionados will also love the tasting room at Bent Oak Winery.

Cheer on the local teams
From Texas Stars hockey to the Leander Wolfpack on the football field and the Austin Spurs on the basketball court, catch a game when you’re in town.

Discover more ways to love Leander here.

The weekly Smooth Village outdoor market often includes live entertainment, too.

Photo courtesy of Leander Chamber of Commerce
The weekly Smooth Village outdoor market often includes live entertainment, too.
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Legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers heat up San Antonio with 2023 tour stop

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most legendary acts is headed to San Antonio on their highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play the Alamodome on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Kicking off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29, RHCP will also stop in Houston's Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25 to close out the North American leg of the tour before heading to Europe. Effortlessly hip modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers on both Texas stops, along with talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale at 10 am Friday, December 9 online. Other supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red-hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park

Texas-based 3D printing company tapped by NASA to build on the moon

To infinity and beyond

An Austin-based builder of 3D-printed homes, ICON, is making one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind by signing a $57 million contract with NASA to build on the moon.

According to a release from ICON, the Texas company will soon venture into a new frontier of space dimensions. The contract, announced on November 29, was awarded to the company under NASA's Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program allows ICON to use the $57 million award to build their Olympus system, which adds to previous construction done by both NASA and the Department of Defense for exploration of the moon and beyond.

"ICON’s Olympus system is intended to be a multi-purpose construction system primarily using local lunar and Martian resources as building materials to further the efforts of NASA as well as commercial organizations to establish a sustained lunar presence," the release stated.

The project will work in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program, which launched its first rocket in 50 years on November 15. ICON will work with the program to:

  • Use lunar regolith samples brought back from Apollo missions, in addition to other regolith simulants, to see their mechanical behavior in lunar gravity.
  • Bring advanced hardware and software into space through a lunar gravity simulation flight.
  • Create results to inform future lunar construction approaches for the space community.
  • Establish critical infrastructure necessary for a sustainable lunar economy and habitation.

“The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world, and that is going to be a pretty special achievement," said Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO.

"It's a construction system we call Olympus system that will allow us to use the local materials of the moon to build all the elements of infrastructure necessary for a lunar outpost and ultimately a moon base ... launch and landing pads, roadways, habitats, you name it, all the things on the moon," said Ballard.

He added that they hope to start building on the moon by 2026, starting with a launch and landing pad.

In addition to the grant, ICON was awarded a subcontract in 2021 to support NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate to create the world's first and only simulated 3D-printed Mars surface habitat. Called Mars Dune Alpha, it is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center and is assisting in long-duration science missions.

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Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: New beer garden quietly opens

New You Can Eat

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

The owners of Gold Feather have unofficially untapped a new venture, LadyBird Beer Garden. Although official channels are keeping details mum, a Facebook page run by landlords VLA Real Estate spilled the beans on the November 25 opening. In addition to serving craft beer, the concept at 447 W. Hildebrand Ave has a full kitchen, bar, and a small patio for enjoying the mild December weather.

Months after coyly announcing a second location, Elotitos Corn Bar sprouted a new Government Hill location on December 3. The snack shop is well known for its aguas frescas and elotes flights, offering the street food staple in various flavors. The new outpost is open Monday through Saturday, 3-9 pm.

Following the recent San Antonio expansion of Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee, another out-of-towner is gaining some local buzz. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Arkansas franchise 7 Brew Coffee is brewing its first Alamo City location at 4825 Walzem Rd. Barring delays, the project will be completed in May 2023.

Pop-up concept Rose Hip Coffee has found a permanent home at 116 W. Olmos Dr. in Olmos Park. The broadened Rose Hip Market combines caffeine with boutique retail, offering everything from kid's clothes to ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads. The playful equestrian wallpaper might make it a can't-miss selfie spot.

Other news and notes

A new cocktail conference will lift San Antonio's spirits in January. The Culinaria-hosted Third Coast Cocktail Summit will feature seminars, tastings, dinners, and tipsy soirées during its five-day run from January 10-14. All-access passes are now available for $250 for industry and $500 for general admission at the nonprofit's website.

In other booze news, Kinsman's Brandy Alexander Tour is back in full swing for the holiday season. Dorćol Distilling's annual celebration of the famous desert cocktail has drafted 14 spots to offer the renowned desert cocktail this year, including several newcomers like Allora, Bar Loretta, Double Standard, Ladino, and Sojourn Trading Co. A full list of participants can be found here.