Chosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best
There's nothing like March Madness! The whole world gets swept up with creating brackets predicting which NCAA basketball teams will advance through several rounds of single-elimination play. From a field of 64, the best of the best make the Sweet Sixteen, then the Final Four. Warren Buffet's billion dollar offer really amped up the fever this year.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos
Each April, the elite teams of the National Hockey League clash in ice hockey's biggest tournament, the Stanley Cup Finals. Things always get heated when the U.S. and Canada meet on the ice, and there's always some international action in the playoffs. While the Montreal Canadiens have won more than any other team, no Canada-based team has taken home the cup since 1993. Will this season end the reign of American hockey dominance?
Photo courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport
For baseball fans, the only time more exciting than April's season opener is October, when the top teams in Major League Baseball compete for the Commissioner's Trophy in the World Series. The "Fall Classic" pits the top teams in the American and National Leagues against each other in a best of seven series.
Photo courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport
7thCollege Football Championship
The days of the controversial BCS Championship Bowl have finally come to an end, and the excitement that surrounds crowning the best college football team is higher than ever. The 2014 season will end with a four-team playoff, known as the College Football Playoff, to crown a new national champion. This historic first year will make the much-anticipated Playoff games a bucket list event which was dreamed about for years, before it even existed.
Photo courtesy of Rhett Maxwell
6thWorld Cup Finals
Occurring only every four years, the FIFA World Cup Finals have become one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events on the planet, and arguably the most important tournament in soccer. Viewership often outranks even the Olympics, and this summer's installment in Brazil looks to be no different, as 31 nations (including the United States) will seek to dethrone Spain as the best in the world
Photo courtesy of Crystian Cruz
Each May, Louisville comes alive as crowds descend on Churchill Downs to watch the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports." Attending the prestigious Kentucky Derby means donning an elegant hat, sipping mint juleps and watching the most elite horses in thoroughbred racing compete for a garland of more than 500 red roses.
Photo courtesy of John Athayde
Epic parties across the nation are staged each winter in honor of a single game, the Super Bowl. The annual championship game of the National Football League attracts so much hype that it's often the most-watched American television broadcast of the year, and Super Bowl Sunday sees more American food consumption than any other day but Thanksgiving. But nothing compares to actually being there: that distinction affords attendees some serious bragging rights.
Photo courtesy of Anthony Quintano
The hardest sporting event ticket in the world to obtain: the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, where the only available tickets are won in a lottery. The first week of April brings the world's best golfers to the dazzling azalea-covered hills of Augusta National Golf Club. At this oh-so-private club, only an elite few (and the lucky lottery winners) get to watch one of golf's four major championships in person. While only one player goes home with the famous green jacket, any attendee can enjoy a legendary pimento cheese sandwich and some sweet tea.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Squire/Getty Images Sport
Whether in summer or winter, there's something magical about young athletes at the top of their sports, competing not only for their own glory, but for their countries. The Olympic Games bring together so many athletes of so many different sports that nearly any sports fan has an event to get excited about. Attending is one of the most patriotic things a citizen can do. and thrilling, too!
Photo courtesy of The U.S. Army
For over 100 years, the "Indy 500" has been held every year on the Sunday before Memorial Day, except during times of war. The oval two and a half mile circuit is relentless on the drivers’ equipment and skill, and with over 300,000+ people attending, the pressure is as intense as it gets. There’s nothing more exhilarating than watching thirty-three cars take the green flag in triple file as the “greatest spectacle in racing” kicks off at noon on that last Sunday in May.
Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Masters, Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby round out top 5
In a 10Best Readers' Choice contest with a surprise ending worthy of its sports-related category, the winner of our contest for Best Bucket List Sports Event won't surprise racing fans, but it may take a few other sports fans by surprise.
The venerable Indy 500 has taken the top spot with our readers in a contest which included 19 other legendary sporting events, from the Olympics and the Masters to the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby.
While some sport fanatics would have a clear favorite, die-hard sports enthusiasts likely hard a hard time choosing which of these enviable tickets they'd most like to own. In the end, gearheads and racing fans of all stripes put the pedal to the medal when it came to voting, and the Indy 500 saw the checkered flag while sitting in first.
The full list of winners in the 'Best Bucket List Sports Event' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice is as follows:
Congrats to all our winners! Now where do we sign up for the "dream package" . . . one of everything!
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