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What’s happening in Tampa Bay sports: Lightning launch, goat yoga, USF rally

The Bolts kick off the preseason with three days of fun.
Harrison Lipinoga, of Westchase, gets his face painted during the 2018 Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Harrison Lipinoga, of Westchase, gets his face painted during the 2018 Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 11, 2019


The Tampa Bay Lightning drop the puck on preseason play next week, so what better way to get ready than with three days of fan events? The Lightning Launch includes a free Family Fun Night at 6 p.m. Friday at Sparkman Wharf, with music, contests, bubble hockey tournaments and prizes. A free public skate from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Amalie Arena will be held in five 45-minute sessions and limited to 200 people for each. Fans can claim their time and mobile ticket by visiting The weekend culminates with the team’s annual free Fan Fest at 11 a.m. Sunday. Fans get their first chance to see and interact with the 2019-20 club through autograph and photo stations. The fest will include a merchandise sale, a kids zone and more. Fans must obtain a mobile ticket by visiting the launch weekend link above. The Bolts take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Ticket prices vary. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6500.


The University of South Florida Bulls (0-2) are off to a rough start this season, so show the home team some love when their second Horns Up Rally hits Pinellas County. The rallies, a new effort to connect Bulls football to Tampa Bay area fans, take place before each home game. (This week, the opponent is lesser-division South Carolina State, so maybe we’ll see the Bulls’ first win?) Expect Rocky the Bull, the USF Spirit Squads, the Herd of Thunder Marching Band, DJ music, interactive games, a kids zone, giveaways and more. Free. 5 p.m. Friday. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater. (813) 974-4086. USF takes on South Carolina State at 6 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices vary. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.


Still smarting over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-17 opening loss? Take heart. You won’t have to wait a week to see if the team can bounce back as the Tampa Bay travels to Carolina for a prime-time game on Thursday. 8:20 p.m. TV/radio: NFL Network; 97.9-FM. And if you still need a Bucs weekend fix, there is one exhibition that won’t feature a Jameis Winston pick-six. As part of the Smithsonian’s “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” traveling exhibit, there will be a Bucs Experience. It will include the Street Team RV, a Madden gaming station, quarterback challenge inflatable, Bucs swag and the chance to win a football autographed by Jason Pierre-Paul. Free. Noon Saturday. Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center, 1101 E River Cove St., Tampa. (813) 935-9402.


Want to be part of a possible world record? Bring your yoga mat and join an attempt to set a Guinness record for largest-ever goat-yoga session. It’s an opportunity that can’t be bleat, er, beat. Benefits the Grady Goat Foundation for children facing adversity. $35 tickets have sold out on but there is a waiting list. 9 a.m. Saturday. 12551 Franklin Road, Thonotosassa. (813) 752-9100.

People practice goat yoga at Thonotosassa's Hat Trick Farm in 2017. [LENORA LAKE | Special to the Times]


  1. With the net empty for the Tampa Bay Lightning, defenseman Victor Hedman (77) look on as the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates their fifth goal of the game, scored by left wing Dominik Kubalik (8) who celebrates with left wing Brandon Saad (20) as Kubalik gets a hat trick during a third period five goal rally at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 in Tampa. The Blackhawks scored five unanswered goals and beat the Lightning with a final score of 5-2. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  2. Victor Hedman poses with his new Lightning gear, personally designed by him with creators at the '47 brand. He dedicated his new look to his French bulldog, Harry. [KINSEY JANKE, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING  |  Kinsey Janke, Tampa Bay Lightning]
  3. Corky Rogers, coach of The Bolles School in Jacksonville, walks across the field as his team celebrates after beating Miami Booker T. Washington in the Class 4A state championship game on Dec. 10, 2011, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Rogers, who won more state titles than any coach in Florida high school football history, died Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 76. [WILL DICKEY  |  AP]
  4. USF tight end Mitch Wilcox took a hard spiral to the face during the "gauntlet drill" at the NFL scouting combine Thursday in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) [CHARLIE NEIBERGALL  |  AP]
  5. South Carolina guard LeLe Grissett (24) shoots while defended by Florida forward Zada Williams (12), left, and Lavender Briggs (3) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough) [GARY MCCULLOUGH  |  AP]
  6. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, shown earlier in camp, has been working on tweaking his delivery. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  7. Tampa Catholic's Xavier Floyd, left, and goalkeeper Charlie Gembarowski are in the foreground as Fort Lauderdale University players celebrate their Class 3A championship at Spec Martin Stadium in Deland. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  8. Wander Franco throws to first during the spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Tampa Bay Rays]
  9. Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer for the WWE, speaks at a luncheon at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday, 36 days before WrestleMania 36 in Tampa. [JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  10. Ohio State defensive lineman Chase Young listens during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. [AJ MAST  |  AP]