Burnt-orange legend Vince Young, who led the University of Texas Longhorns football team to a national championship with his play in the 2006 Rose Bowl, will visit Waco on Jan. 10 to help launch the opening of Crunch Fitness in Westview Village.

Young starred in what some have called the greatest college football game ever played, UT’s 41-38 win over two-time defending national champion, the University of Southern California, which boasted stars including Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, both winners of the Heisman Trophy.

Cable subscribers who may have never seen the game — there may be a handful out there — should tune to The Longhorn Network. The broadcast includes play-by-play from the late Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for decades, and commentary from Dan Fouts, a former NFL quarterback.

Anyway, Young, who himself played six years in the pros, is scheduled to star in a meet-and-greet the evening of Jan. 10 at Waco’s new Crunch, at Waco Valley Mills drives. The event for members will last from 5 to 8 p.m., according to publicity material provided by Crunch Greater Austin.

Young is scheduled to engage in “an exclusive workout in our functional turf training area” during his visit, Crunch spokeswoman Amber Givens said.

Crunch was founded in 1989 in the basement of a building in New York City’s East Village. It has muscled up to 175 locations, including 30 with the Crunch Signature label. It has spread to six Texas cities, with clubs in Waco, Abilene and Midland appearing on its list of coming attractions.

Crunch already is splashing a lot of color in the aging Westview Village retail center, home to Pep Boys, Michaels and Ocean Buffet, among others. Its eye-catching orange and blue signs are popping up all over that busy corner, advertising monthly rates starting at $9.95.

A peek through the freshly cleaned glass storefront on Saturday revealed row upon row of strength and cardio equipment. A Crunchmobile, a sign-up vehicle welcoming prospective members, said the club would open in three days, just in time to sweat off holiday-related poundage.

Walburn in Pasadena

In yet another Central Texas connection to Pasadena, California, and the Rose Bowl spectacle, liver transplant recipient Jeff Walburn will ride on the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

Locals may recall that Walburn, 53, from Justin, recently competed in Waco’s half Ironman triathlon. He volunteers in North Texas to spread the word about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation, according to a press release from Sandra Sanchez, a media contact for the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance. Sandra and her husband, Carlos, live in Austin but once called Waco home, with Carlos serving as editor of the Tribune-Herald.

Walburn will catch a ride on the “Rhythm of the Heart” float, which features an African musical theme portrayed with drums from Senegal and the Congo, 44 floral portraits, a Senufo mask from the Ivory Coast, a giant marimba from Ghana, elaborate headdresses from Mali, and 26 donors or transplant recipients, including Walburn, according to the press release.

Walburn joined 3,000 athletes from 45 states who competed in Ironman 70.3 Waco in late October. He finished the race in 6 hours and 15 minutes while wearing a jersey with the words “Second Chance Johnny” to honor his donor.

Sanchez said 114,000 people nationwide await transplants each day.


Again, Waco has made AT&T’s 5G mobile network list.

The communications giant, whose testing sites included Magnolia Market at the Silos, has rolled out its 5G mmWave service, accessible with mobile hotspots, in a dozen U.S. cities. Population-wise, Waco is the smallest on the list. But it is there, along with Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh and San Antonio, according to information provided by the Dallas-based company.

AT&T’s launch came Dec. 21. It “isn’t quite open to the public but will instead be offered to a select group of early adopters,” according to a feature on arstechnica.com.

AT&T will make its product available to everyone next spring, according to arstechnica. The Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot hardware AT&T has chosen is priced at $499. A data plan, or subscription service, is priced at $70 a month for 15 gigabytes of data.

For the technology challenged, myself included, the arstechnica website reminds that 5G and mmWave produce higher wireless speeds and fewer pauses in the delivery of data. Drawbacks include “worse penetration, smaller range and more susceptibility to weather when compared to LTE,” or long-term evolution, a standard for wireless communication, according to arstechnica.

Texas Bourbon Shootout

Waco-based Balcones Distilling will have product entered in the Texas Bourbon Shootout, scheduled Feb. 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Longview.

A limited number of tickets are available to hear whiskey taster Jim Murray discuss the finer points of Texas products, and “to taste 10 bourbon entries with him as he talks through the complex flavor profiles created by our unique Texas landscape,” according to promotional material.

For more information, go to texasbourbonshootout.com.

Gas prices

Gas prices continue to plunge, with the Sam’s Club on Bellmead Drive charging members $1.74 a gallon for regular unleaded Saturday.

The Waco-area average stood at $1.89 a gallon at midmorning, 4 cents less than a week earlier, 20 cents less than a month earlier, and 28 cents less than last December, according to GasBuddy.com.

Statewide, AAA Texas reported the average slipped less than $2 a gallon, to $1.97, for the first time in two years. Its newsletter came out Thursday.

The national average Thursday had dipped to $2.30, a 6-cent weekly decline.

“But all eyes will be on whether the OPEC cuts will impact prices in 2019,” according to the AAA report. “Many are waiting to see if they stick to their promise to cut crude production by 1.2 million barrels per day and if the proposed cuts will be enough to restore balance to the market.”

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