Here at Night & Day Global Industries, no three words fire our brooding hearts with more passion than these: free shotgun shooting. That's only one of several free activities available at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Outdoor Adventures Expo, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the August A. Busch Conservation Area (2360 Highway D, St. Charles; 636-441-4554). The expo is an opportunity for avid outdoorsmen and -women, as well as those who can't ignite a fire without a Bic and a gallon of Everclear, to talk with local and national experts in camping, hunting, fishing, shooting, trapping, hiking, biking and numerous other fields. Does, say, birding rouse your latent woodsy soul? Pick up a brochure from the National Wild Turkey Federation, hiding any dismay that it's not that Wild Turkey. Browse displays of the latest gear, clothing and related products, watch free demonstrations and, if you're feeling adventurous -- and if you can pry the guns from our moisturized, well-manicured hands -- shoot shotguns, air rifles and assorted other weapons. Worried you might go home with a second-rate crossbow or a not-so-gently-used muskrat trap? Don't be. The Missouri Department of Conversation doesn't allow sales on its property, so there's no pressure to buy anything. -- Ian Froeb
Nitty Gritty Dirt Land
Mighty Mud Mania returns
The Mighty Mud Mania Festival has gotten bigger, better and more besoiled with each passing year, and the 21st annual filth fest is no exception. Kids ages five to fifteen can hit pay dirt on a 200-foot-long obstacle course set up in eighteen truckloads of terra firma, plus there are inflatable rides, treasure sand pits, face-painting and more from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at south county's Jefferson Barracks Park (533 Grant Road). Adults are admitted for free, while tickets are $6 in advance or $7 at the gate for each of your little Mississippi Mudsters. Click on "Mud Mania" at www.stlouisco.com/parks to download the liability waiver required for every child in attendance, or call 314-638-2100 for more information. -- Julie Seabaugh
Women's hockey wants you
Hockey may have suffered another black eye thanks to that work stoppage, but please note that it was baseball (and its kissing cousin softball), not hockey, dropped from the Olympic roster. Ooh, tough break, baseball. Guess hockey has a little more international appeal than we thought. In fact, hockey is popular enough that medals are awarded in both men's and women's divisions.
Which brings us to the St. Louis Surge. The women's ice hockey club needs new players. So if you're an athletic young lady, at least sixteen years old and looking for new challenges to conquer, why not give ice hockey a shot? The Surge team philosophy stresses positive reinforcement and player development, so if your skills aren't sharp enough to play competitively yet, you should still try out. Meet at the St. Peters Rec Plex (5200 Mexico Road; www.stlsurge.com or 314-313-2406) at 2:15 p.m. to fill out paperwork (bring a health insurance card). There is a $15 try-out fee, but goalies can try out for free. -- Paul Friswold
NASCAR pays tribute to brothers Rusty (pictured), Kenny and Mike Wallace the only way it knows how: with a 250-mile-long, high-speed left turn. The Wallace Family Tribute 250 Busch Series Race starts at 7 p.m. at Gateway International Raceway (700 International Raceway Boulevard, Madison, Illinois), and after the checkered flag drops, stick around. Immediately after the race there's a massive fireworks display, followed by a performance from country crooner Chris Cagle. Tickets are $45 to $65; www.gatewayraceway.com or call 1-866-357-7333 to purchase. -- Paul Friswold