Immortalized in countless books, songs, and movies, Route 66 is a timeless icon of American culture. Until now, however, no guide to this historic byway has focused on another beloved part of American culture: sports. That all changes with A Sports Fan’s Guide to Route 66. In this groundbreaking new book, sports writer and lifelong sports fan Ron Clements goes beyond nostalgic buildings and classic cars to highlight historic sports venues, storied sports professionals, and current sports events along the Mother Road.
State by state
Rolling 301 miles through Illinois, Route 66 is dotted with small towns that embrace their Mother Road heritage. In addition to NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams, you’ll find auto and horse racing tracks. And don’t forget the magnificent lineup of high school and collegiate sports programs to check out along the way.
The Missouri stretch of Route 66 has a little bit of everything for sports fans. Professional teams, a pair of NCAA Division I universities, multiple D-II schools, elite high school teams, and a handful of golf courses are just the beginning.
Take a trip back in time on the 13-mile non-Interstate stretch of Route 66 through the small towns of Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs. All three towns inspired characters and settings in the 2006 Disney Pixar film Cars. They also have high schools with competitive teams, especially on the diamond.
Oklahoma is home to many sports legends who have roots on Route 66. Towns along the Mother Road boast baseball hall of famers, football stars, Olympic medalists, and one superstar who won the most enduring foot race of all time. Oklahoma is also home to an NBA team, a Triple-A baseball club, and–perhaps surprisingly–thriving rugby and rowing scenes.
We all know the movies and television shows about Texas high school football. Route 66 travelers can experience it for themselves while traveling from Shamrock to Adrian. Discover high-scoring six-man football and a unique golf course with sand greens in McLean. Amarillo has successful minor league baseball and hockey teams in addition to a thriving high school sports scene. And check out one of the nation’s biggest rodeos!
Rodeo is an especially big deal in the Land of Enchantment. Soccer and basketball are two other extremely popular sports in New Mexico, where you’ll also find an iconic college basketball venue and one of America’s best sports bars.
The Arizona segment of Route 66 begins and ends in the desert, but between Holbrook and Oatman, you’ll discover pine-covered mountains, an NCAA Division I university, multiple rodeo venues, an elite ski resort, and dynastic high school cross-country, wrestling, and football programs.
On your way to the edge of the continent, roll through towns and cities that boast teams in each of the major four professional sports leagues. You’ll also find major league soccer clubs, minor league baseball teams, iconic venues like the Rose Bowl and Dodger Stadium, famed horse racing, numerous golf courses, and elite high school and college sports programs.
A Sports Fan’s Guide to Route 66 will be in bookstores and online on August 3, 2021.
Updates from the publisher can be found on the Scenic Side Trips series home site here.
About the Author
Ron Clements is a Wisconsin native and Green Bay Packers fan who married a Chicago Bears fan from Peoria, Illinois. Despite the rivalry, Ron and Patti make it work and have been living fulltime in an RV since March 2018. They travel the country in search of new adventures and love attending baseball games and exploring national parks. They visited all 30 MLB stadiums in 2018 and have taken their RV to each of the Lower 48 states. A Sports Fan’s Guide to Route 66 is for anyone who has ever driven past a high school, college, or professional stadium, and thought, “I wonder what it’s like to see a game there.” A Sports Fan’s Guide to Route 66 will be in bookstores and online everywhere on August 3, 2021. Due to COVID-19 Gathering Restrictions, and in the interests of protecting the health of our community, the August 3rd launch party MAY be a virtual LIVE event broadcast from several locations. More information about this very special launch party will be available soon.