Ripken can sit on top of fire hydrants, walk backwards up stairs, and do a handstand. | Photo provided by Melissa O’Donnell
A 6-year-old American Labrador retriever has made quite the doggone splash in the local sports industry. Ripkenis the official bat dog for the Durham Bullsand the tee retriever for NC State Football.
Raleighites Michael and Melissa O’Donnell welcomed Ripken to their growing family when he was a puppy. Michael, the General Manager of Sit Means Sit Dog Training, started training Ripken at 10 weeks old. What began with fetching small novelty bats in the backyard quickly turned into retrieving Michael’s old college wooden bats.
After one season with the Salamanders, the Durham Bulls drafted Ripken as theirofficial bat dog. The Bulls made sense for Ripken and his family: from Michael and Melissa’s first date to a proposal on the mound, they have a lot of history at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Ripken quickly rose to fame and started landing interviews. Recently, singer and TV personality Kelly Clarkson was so impressed with Ripken’s smooth fetching skills, that she Zoomed them in to The Kelly Clarkson Show on Thursday, Nov. 10 as part of her #WhatI’mLiking segment.
After becoming a bat dog pro, Ripken expanded his expertise beyond baseball to football, when he landed a gig with NC State’s football team in 2021.
During Ripken’s first college football game, Carter-Finley Stadium was packed with distractions like rowdy fans and celebratory fireworks. But Michael knew that Ripken would do what he came to do (though he admittedly was much more nervous than his pooch).
Draped in a red jersey and blinged-out gold chain, Ripken successfully returned his first teelike the good boy he is.
Micheal believes that Ripken adds good energy and helps with moraleon the sidelines. “One of the coaches [Joey Carnes] who we call Ripken’s personal hype man, jumps around the sideline yelling ‘Get amped like Ripken, get amped like Ripken!’ to fire his team up,” Michael told RALtoday.
Click on the link below to learn about Ripken’s 8-month-old brother, Rivers, and what’s next for the duo.
Roshambo Holiday Bazaar | Saturday, Nov. 19 | 12-4 p.m. | Transfer Co. Food Hall, 500 E. Davie St., Raleigh | Free | Grab lunch and a festive cocktail to peruse local makers, artists, and vendors.
Night of Lights 5K | Saturday, Nov. 19 | 6:30 p.m. | Dix Park, 1030 Richardson Dr., Raleigh | $15-$120 | Race through a holiday light show and don’t miss the after party at Trophy Brewing.
Sunday, Nov. 20
Omar Apollo - The Prototype Tour | Sunday, Nov. 20 | 6:45 p.m. | The Ritz, 2820 Industrial Dr., Raleigh | $60 | Watch this American singer-songwriter perform songs like “Evergreen.”
Tuesday, Nov. 29
WCPSS Magnet Elementary Mini Fair | Tuesday, Nov. 29 | 9:30-11 a.m. | Conn Magnet Elementary School, 1220 Brookside Dr., Raleigh | Free | Prospective students + parents are invited to explore Wake County magnet elementary program options, visit with school representatives, and learn about the application process.*
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
On Wednesday, the Wake County school board unanimously approved a plan to ease overcrowding at some schools and fill underutilized schools for the 2023-2024 school year. Families who are affected will be contacted by the school system. Learn more. (The News & Observer)
The Waiting Room, a cocktail and small plates concept, is opening in Durham this winter. Tucked into the oldest commercial building in downtown at 300 Blackwell St., the bar will feature 100+ selections of liquor and will have a speakeasy vibe. A grand opening is slated for December. 🥃
Calling all Squishmallow fanatics. The official Squish Tour is visiting Pullen Parkthis Saturday, Nov. 19. The mobile pop up will feature mascots, games, and chances to win collectible prizes.
Garden & Gun released its annual Made in the South Awards and three Durham companies made the list. Elijah Leed Studio’sWarren Cabinet earned first place overall and in the Home category. Bright Black, a candle company, was the runner-up for Crafts andtextile company Cicilwon theSustainability category. 🏆
42Floors, a commercial listing company, ranked Raleigh No. 5 on its list of the Best U.S. Metros to Start a Business, based on cost and opportunity. Some contributing factors were office space affordability and networking opportunities.
We’re all about staying warm throughout the colder months, which means we’re leveling up our typical outerwear to something a little toastier. Enter: heated jackets. We love this one for its three different heat levels and this slim fit option with 5,000+ five star reviews.*
This sleep apnea treatment could change the way you experience a night’s sleep.|Photo provided by Inspire
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Today’s issue was written by Cat.
Editor’s pick: My grandma (Mama) has been craving fried seafood. So for lunch today, I’m taking my grandparents to the NC Seafood Restaurant at the State Farmers Market. I plan on ordering a calabash plate with shrimp, hushpuppies, cole slaw, and home fries.
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