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MAY-JUN 2017

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Page 28 of 51 29 M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 Participants also go behind the scenes in the stadium with chanc- es to stand in the Sky Box, the Cowboys' locker rooms and Jones' private man cave. Some tours even allow groups to throw the ball around the field. "I would say one of the most popular group tours in Dallas is at the AT&T Stadium," said Larry Kelly, marketing and communications director of the Dallas Sports Commission. "It's not just the football facilities, but there is a lot of artwork that the Jones family has in the stadium. The artwork is one of the things that makes the stadium so unique." Art and sports rarely both find themselves at the same attraction, but the AT&T Stadium displays enough museum-quality contempo- rary art that the stadium also offers specialized art tours. Guides for these tours offer in-depth information on the collection, the artists and how the artwork ended up hanging in a football stadium. TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY Watch the world blur by during a 160-mile-per-hour, four-lap pas- senger ride at the Texas Motor Speedway. With the comfort of know- ing your professional driver has previously circled the 1.5-mile track hundreds of times, you can enjoy the thrill of racing maneuvers like drafting, passing and side-by-side racing. This exciting experience, in partnership with the Team Texas High Performance Driving School, highlights a tour of the Texas Mo- tor Speedway, one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. "The speedway's tours take you down to Pit Road and Victory Lane," said Kelly. "They include laps around the speedway at the end of the tour with a professional driver." The colossal facility can fit four AT&T Stadiums inside for an es- timated seating capacity of 191,000. The tour includes information about how one of the country's largest sports facilities comes to life to host the NASCAR Sprint Cup, among other racing events. The Team Texas High Performance Driving School also offers the 10-Lap Driving School experience for the higher-level adrenaline seeker. After a 30-minute classroom training session and on-track training in a van, participants can race around the track 10 times themselves with an instructor seated shotgun. MESQUITE CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO Watch practiced cowboys hang on to giant bucking bulls with all their might at the exciting Mesquite Championship Rodeo. Since 1946, cowboys have entertained spectators with saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, team roping, bull riding and more. "It's approximately a two-hour rodeo," said Kelly. "They will have various rodeo events depending on what cowboys have signed up to participate." Performances run every Saturday night from June through Sep- tember in the air-conditioned Mesquite Arena. Though events vary, visitors can count on watching daredevil clowns, fast horses, massive bulls and the brave cowboys that compete. Located 15 minutes from Dallas in Mesquite, the action-packed show draws about 200,000 people each season. To complete the Western experience, groups can dine at Eddie Deen's BBQ Pavilion for Texas fare such as slow-smoked beef brisket and hickory-smoked ribs. TEXAS HORSE PARK Though horses once proved almost essential to survival for early Texas settlers, the animals are now celebrated as pets and champi- ons at the Texas Horse Park. To experience the sport of horseback riding, groups of all experience levels can arrange for an hourlong, guided beginner trail ride through the 500-acre park. The park provides miles of preserved riding trails for the public. Groups can not only feel the excitement of guiding a powerful horse, but also absorb the sights and sounds of serene lush meadows and tree-lined trails during their ride. The park opened in 2015 with a visitors center, horse barns and a 105,000-square-foot indoor covered arena that hosts equestrian events and other group functions. "They have a really cool facility there that can host group events," said Kelly. "It has floor-to-ceiling windows, and its design is very rus- tic. It's located about 10 miles from downtown, so it's very accessible to groups if they are staying downtown." Groups can continue their break from city life at the adjacent 6,000-acre old growth Great Trinity Forest, which features an aerial adventure park with a series of zip lines, cargo nets and swinging bridges. AT&T Stadium Mesquite Championship Rodeo

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