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An extreme dose of fun awaits teens this summer

A beach jam, mud wars, cool sports and pool parties provide excuses to get off the couch.

By JON WILSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Hey, believe it: The biggest mud bash ever to hit St. Petersburg is on its way.

It's one in a series of Summer Extreme 2000 events, possibly a bit zany but designed to appeal to teenagers looking for something to do.

The city-sponsored summer program features happenings similar to what might be seen on such television programs as American Gladiators and MTV Spring Break. All the events are free.

They target youngsters who have completed sixth through 12th grades, offering activity during the out-of-school days.

"We'll be jamming here in a little bit," said Mike Johansen, who is in charge of special events for TASCO, a broad recreation program that stands for Teen Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities.

Entering its fourth year, the Summer Extreme program has proven popular. Up to 400 youngsters are expected to participate, Johansen said. An additional 800 already are taking part in summer camps at 10 community centers.

Openings may remain in the camps, Johansen said. Call 893-7441 for information.

Besides the extreme games and the camps, TASCO participants also take part in sports leagues, publish a teen-oriented magazine and produce videos for the same age group.

The first extreme event is June 29. It's the Extreme Arena of Games, featuring boxing with giant, blow-up gloves, a disc jockey and arcade games. It's free, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N.

Other free events, all from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., include:

July 20, Extreme Summer Jam, Treasure Island Municipal Beach, 11260 Gulf Blvd. Includes the MTV Spring Break games, with a gyro wheel, beach olympics and a joust pit.

Aug. 3, Extreme Mud Wars, Spa Beach at The Pier approach, 335 Second Ave. NE.

Aug. 10, Extreme Sports, rock climbing, BMX, in-line skating and inflatable games, Bayfront Center arena, 400 First St. S.

TASCO also puts on activities other than the games:

Extreme Dances will be held July 1 and July 29 at locations to be announced. The dances are from 8 p.m. until midnight and admission is $5.

Extreme Basketball started June 19 and continues through Aug. 12, offering league play for both boys and girls at three community centers. Cost is $15 per person.

Extreme Pool Parties are July 15 and Aug. 12 from 8 until 11 p.m. at North Shore Pool, 901 North Shore Drive. Admission is $4.

For information, call TASCO at 892-5060.

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