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Not Your Average Sport

The Junior Devil Southwest Region Junior Roller Derby Tournament

4 to 10 p.m., Saturday, March 16; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 17

Tucson Roller Derby Wreckhouse, 1145 E. Valencia Road

tucsonderbybrats.com

"It kind of takes you over after you start," Tenacity Remington says of the lure of roller derby.

Remington has been working with fellow skater and tournament co-coordinator Sydney Filler-Staton to put together the first annual Junior Devil—Southwest Region Junior Roller Tournament presented by the Tucson Derby Brats.

The Tucson Derby Brats was the first junior league to be formed in the United States, in 2006. The skaters range in age from 8 to 17.

To Remington, the Tucson Derby Brats is all about "empowering young girls and allowing them to have a supportive outlet for stuff because there really isn't a sport that gives girls the supportive environment ... looking to not only make them feel good about themselves, but also teach them a way to be healthy and active."

"It's kind of like a party with exercise," Filler-Staton about the Tucson Derby Brats.

Both Remington and Filler-Staton agree that one of the best parts about being involved is getting to spend time with their teammates and giving girls a chance to be involved in the sport.

"We're just about teamwork," Filler-Staton said. "We love being around each other, we love hanging out, and the fact that we get to play a sport and do that makes it really fun."

Remington hopes that those who attend "will realize that its hugely positive and it has had such a great effect on so many girls in Tucson."

Single-day general admission tickets are $7, or $10 for both days. Tickets are available at the door or at juniordevil.brownpapertickets.com

—M.M.


Tennis for a Cause

Eighth Annual Gootter Grand Slam

9:30 a.m., Saturday, March 16; 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 17

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, 6200 N. Clubhouse Lane

318-9445; stevenmgooterfoundation.org

Some of the world's best tennis players will be in Tucson on Saturday and Sunday to play in a tournament with a cause.

The eighth annual Gootter Grand Slam aims to raise awareness about sudden cardiac death as well as money for the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. The event and foundation were created in honor of Steven Gootter, a Tucsonan who died of sudden cardiac death in 2005. The idea of a tennis tournament is meant to reflect Gootter's athleticism and love for the sport, said Claudine Messing, Gootter's sister.

"The tennis idea came about because of Steve's ... athletic ability, but from there we kind of have really been embraced by the support of the community," Messing said. "That's kind of been a key to the success."

The event begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Lodge at Ventana Canyon with a doubles round-robin tournament. At 6:30 p.m. the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa will host the gala dinner, featuring live music and silent and live auctions. The next day, activities at the Lodge at Ventana Canyon will include demonstrations by various local tennis and athletic groups.

The event has grown every year since its inception, Messing said, adding that this is the first year the tournament will feature current tennis pros, including the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan as well as Murphy Jensen and Mikael Pernfors.

While the event revolves around a tennis tournament featuring some of the sport's best players, the overall goal is community awareness and education.

"The foundation was created out of this tremendous tragedy and loss of my brother, and we wanted to make something positive out of it and ultimately save another family from what we've experienced," Messing said.

—K.M.


A Showcase of Mexican Cinema

Tucson Cine Mexico Film Festival

Harkins Theatres Tucson Spectrum 18, 5455 S. Calle Santa CruzThursday, March 14 - Sunday, March 24.

Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.

626-9825; tucsoncinemexico.org

For the past eight years, the Tucson Cine Mexico Film Festival has showcased the best cinematography to come out of Mexico the previous year. The program is a signature event of the UA's Hanson Film Institute, said Vicky Westover, the institute's director. It also was the first film festival held outside Mexico that focused on that country's contemporary cinema.

"We've really developed a reputation now for being a world-class event that's done with very high standards, with top-of-the-line programming," she said.

The festival will feature a dozen films and documentaries and will host a number of filmmakers whose works are being screened. One focus of this year's festival is Mexico's indigenous people, and a panel will discuss the representation of indigenous people in Mexican films.

Westover noted there was a wide selection of films available for this year's festival. "This year we had more films than ever before to pick from—there was a real outpouring of work coming from Mexico this past year."

Films are selected by a committee whose members are experts in Mexican cinema. Members include Carlos Gutierrez, the co-founder and executive director of Cinema Tropical, a New York City-based organization that presents Latin American cinema in the U.S. Other members are from the UA faculty.

While the focus is on Mexican cinema, the event is by no means geared only toward Latin film fans, Westover said. The audience at last year's festival was balanced, with about 60 percent Latin attendees.

"We like knowing that we have such a diverse audience," Westover said. "Our target audience really is everybody." Visit the Festival website for a complete schedule.

—K.M.


All Aboard!

Silver Spike Railroad Festival, 133rd Anniversary of the Railroad in Tucson

9 to 10:30 a.m., Sunday, March 17

Historic Railroad Depot, 414 N. Toole Ave.

623-2223; tucsonhistoricdepot.org

This Sunday marks the 133rd anniversary of the arrival of the first train in Tucson. To celebrate, the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum will host a re-enactment of the event under the direction of Sheldon Metz.

Since the museum opened in 2005, it has held an event every year to honor this milestone in Tucson's history, but this year's event has a special twist. 

"We now, for the first time, will have two great-great-grandsons next to each other just like their great-great-grandfathers stood on that platform," said Kenneth Karrels, chairman of the event. 

Esteban Ochoa was chosen by townspeople 133 years ago to present a silver spike in appreciation of the railroad being built. His great-great-grandson, Peter Ochoa, will be there to represent his ancestor at this year's event.

Pinckney Randolph Tully was another Tucsonan who was also present for the arrival of the first train. Dr. Phillip Tully, Pinckney's great-great-grandson, will also be present this year.

Three new Silver Spike awards will presented at the event to acknowledge the work of people connected with the railroad. The railroader of the year award will go to Tucson's first female yardmaster, Robbie Carpenter. Bruce Beach, CEO of BeachFleischman, is benefactor of the year. Rail passenger advocate Anthony Haswell will be honored as volunteer of the year.

Karrels said his favorite part of each year's event has been "to see the joy, smile, and the pride in receiving the Silver Spike" and looks forward to more joy this year.

Admission and parking are free.

—M.M.

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