It's amazing how quickly a bear, a fireman or two and the NBA's Utah Jazz can make underprivileged children's faces light up with smiles.
Last Saturday, 250 children from the Salt Lake City area participated in the Bear Hugs for Kids Christmas shopping event. The day included breakfast, a trip to Walmart to pick up some presents and a chance to hand out with Bear, the Utah Jazz mascot.
Similar events are also planned in Spanish Fork and Lehi.
The annual event is organized through the Utah Jazz, Cyprus Credit Union, Firemen & Friends for Kids and Larry H. Miller Charities. The South Salt Lake Fire Department provided the escort, lights, sirens and all.
The kids provided the smiles.
It should be another impressive year for Utah gymnastics teams.
The University of Utah squad was picked to finish second to UCLA in the preseason Pac-12 Conference coaches poll. UCLA, ranked fourth in the national preseason poll, received one more point than Utah, picked to finish sixth nationally. UCLA edged Utah by five hundredths of a point for the 2012 trophy. All eight Pac-12 teams were ranked in the national preseason top 25.
Meanwhile Southern Utah, BYU and Utah State are picked 3-4-5 in the new Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championship preseason poll. Boise State and Denver finished ahead in the poll.
One task left
Utahn Tyson Apostol pocketed a cool $1 million as the "Sole Survivor" and took home $1 million as the winner of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water," filmed in Cagayan, Phillipines.
The 34-year-old Provo resident went through a wild competition, which included injuries, close calls, and having to see his girlfriend get eliminated.
In fact, life is good for Apostol, as soon as he makes it up to his girlfriend, Orem's Rachel Foulger.
The $1 million might help.
Southern Utah placekicker Colton Cook, a graduate student from Viewmont High, was named to the Sports Network's and the Associated Press' 2013 All-America teams as a third-team selection. ...
High-energy extreme sports fans can skip another trip to the mall and catch the 2013 Red Bull Rampage on NBC today, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The 2013 Rampage was staged in Virgin in mid-October, showcasing the world's best big-mountain freeriders. Kyle Strait became the only rider to have won Red Bull Rampage more than once. ...
With so many bowls on the horizon -- 35 between now and the BCS National Championship on Jan. 6 -- Hallmark Channel wants you to save some time for the first annual "Kitten Bowl." Folks like Regis Philbin, Rachel Ray, Yankees radio announce John Sterling and Kelly Rutherford will take part. ...
Utah State is 47-1 in Gossner Classic basketball games through the years at the Smith Spectrum. ...
Since 1947, when the NBA began playing on Christmas Day, the games have become a unique tradition. Lately, the league has been averaging 33 million viewers on that day alone. This year, the games will air in 215 countries, and in 47 languages. ...
A final rodeo note for 2013: Trevor Brazile, touted by the PRCA as the most dominant athlete of the 21st century in any individual sport, closed out the 55th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with his 11th all-around and 19th overall world championships -- both records, as was his eighth consecutive all-around title, leaving Las Vegas as the sport's first $5 million cowboy.
Contact sports editor Chris J. Miller at 801-625-4261, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @cjmsports. Friend him on Facebook at Standard-Examiner Sports.