The endless restroom lines, the parking nightmares, the air horns and screams from beer-doused crowds -- and plane tickets, too? You couldn't pay us to travel to a college bowl game. Not when most fall on New Year's Day, quite possibly the biggest hangover day of the year. And not when we have the 2004 Ev1.net Houston Bowl. You don't have to travel far to see the University of Texas-El Paso Miners take on the University of Colorado Buffaloes at Reliant Stadium. You can watch potential NFL stars like Colorado's oft-hyped Bobby Purify. Also, the game promises to be a mini-homecoming, as Colorado players Brian Iwuh, Akarika Dawn and Lionel Harris return to Houston along with UTEP players Aaron Osborn, Michael White and Godwin Akinduro. So if you're a college sports fan or looking to meet a future pro athlete, this game's worth the admission. You'll save tons on airfare (to put toward beer, of course). And the best part: You can spend your New Year's hungover at home, like a real sports fan. 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 29. One Reliant Park. For tickets and information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ev1houstonbowl.net. $22 to $67. -- Steven Devadanam
New Year's Reprieve
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Sending your kids to camp over the holiday break is a win-win situation: They get to ride horses, kayak and play sports, and you get to get wasted and/or snuggle with your honey on New Year's Eve, interruption-free. YMCA's Camp Cullen, open for a special five-day session this winter, gets the video-game set moving. Kids ages eight to 15 can sing, huddle around campfires, shoot arrows and rifles, dangle from ropes and more. And don't feel bad about leaving them in the woods while you're living it up on December 31: Their party will involve a dance, a fireworks display and a cookout. Your vacation begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 28, and lasts through Saturday, January 1. 460 Cullen Loop (off FM 356) in Trinity. For information, prices and registration, call 713-758-9275 or visit www.campcullen.org. -- Julia Ramey