Any competition that features wickets, mallets and balls, we are so there. The 2004 Texas Classic Tournament, sponsored by the Dallas Croquet Association, is one of two tournaments we know of that uses these three items. It's also the only one that you can discuss in a family newspaper. It takes place Thursday through Sunday on the DCA's home court at the Verandah Club at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel. Perhaps you've wondered why men dressed in white shorts and shirts were lying down, their face next to two croquet balls as they play a round of American 6 wicket croquet. Perhaps you'll want to watch the Waterford Doubles play on Thursday. Could be your fave is the single block matches that will take place Friday and Saturday. And if you have no idea what any of that means, go out anyway--the players will be glad to explain the nuances of the game. Call 817-999-1029. --Eric Celeste
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Our dog indubitably has a butterfly spirit. Every winter, she attempts to migrate from the cold wasteland of the back yard to a friendlier climate. But unlike monarch butterflies, which often travel thousands of miles to Mexico seeking warmth, the dog usually makes it a block before she goes in search of a snuggly bed. We coordinate an effort to keep the dog from losing her collar; University of Kansas' Monarch Watch coordinates an effort to tag migrating butterflies with a tiny plastic disc to track their progress and flight patterns. To see monarch tagging demonstrated, visit Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., daily at 2:30 p.m. from September 24 through October 17 in conjunction with Take Flight: Largest Live Butterfly Exhibit in North Texas. The event is included in State Fair admission. Call 214-428-7476. --Michelle Martinez
In our book, people who dress up their pets rank right up there with that woman who takes pictures of babies in flowerpots. For some reason, though, a swimsuit competition for dogs doesn't bother us too much. Maybe all the years of watching women exploited in such a way has numbed us to the idea. But this contest, part of Carrollton's Pooch Pool Party on Saturday, isn't about exploitation. There will be no sucked-in guts, no Vaseline-teeth smiles, no pets looking plastic and shellacked. And there will be other competitions as well, including Best Tail Wag and Best Trick, among others. All events will take place between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., followed by an open swim for the dogs and their humans from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. The pool party is at the Rosemeade Swimming Complex at 1334 Rosemeade Parkway. Admission is $4 per dog. Call 972-466-9833 for rules and regulations. --Rhonda Reinhart