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Original Issue

The Beat

The first thingthat Emmitt Smith did when he landed a gig on Dancing with the Stars was callJerry Rice, who was the runner-up on the ABC reality show last season. SaysRice, "I told him, 'Man, you better be sure you know what you are gettinginto, because I really didn't. It was a nightmare.' You had to be practicingfor that at every single moment, even in your sleep." Smith will join JoeyLawrence and Vivica A. Fox in the third season of Dancing, which begins onSept. 12. In the meantime he's practicing with partner Cheryl Burke, whocombined with singer Drew Lachey to win last season. "We're a match made inheaven," says Smith (right). "There's no tug of war, and she has a lotof give in her; I'm just hoping that I have something--anything--to giveback."

■ As for Rice,the legendary wideout will be in tiny Madden, Miss., on Aug. 22, the day MaddenNFL 07 is released (page 19). EA Sports and Xbox have declared it NationalMadden Day, and the town of 74 (about 100 miles from Rice's hometown ofCrawford) will host a pep rally that will include marching bands, cheerleadersand dunking booths. Says Rice, one of several former NFL stars who'll take partin the festivities, "I don't know anything about Madden, Mississippi,except that it will be hot in August. So I might be one of the guys in thedunking booth."

■ Did he ordidn't he? Floyd Landis is still maintaining he didn't cheat to win the Tour deFrance, despite much evidence to the contrary. Now, thanks to the AmazingKreskin, we might finally get an answer. The celebrity mentalist (and frequentDavid Letterman guest) offered to meet Landis and "take a leisurely walkand converse," then reveal his "impressions and feelings" regardingLandis's guilt or innocence. Kreskin made a similar offer to O.J. Simpson in1999. Like the Juice, Landis has yet to respond.

■ Most of the bignames who perform at Churchill Downs are three years old. That'll change nextmonth, though, when the Rolling Stones play a concert on the track's infield.The ageless rockers, who gave us Wild Horses and When the Whip Comes Down, willplay to a crowd of 50,000 on Sept. 29.... Minor league baseball certainly hasits share of wackiness. (Who can forget the Somerset Patriots' bringing out anantismoking mascot, Ciggy Butts, or when the Newark Bears hosted Britney SpearsBaby Safety Night?) Comedy Central and Jon Stewart's production company arehoping to capture some of that zaniness in Three Strikes, a sitcom pilot theyare developing.... Rap albums are so first-half-of-2006. The hot new sideproject for athletes is a soap-opera gig. Recently three NFLplayers--Cleveland's Braylon Edwards, Steven Jackson of the Rams and Giantsrookie Sinorice Moss--took an acting class in L.A. and then auditioned for thesame role on General Hospital. Moss won; he nailed his seven-line scene as abartender in just one take. Says the wideout, who has never acted before,"It's something I always wanted to do."

Approximately 40,000 people participate in fantasy fishing leagues.

They Said It
MICHELLE WIE, 16-year-old pro golfer, when asked, after being penalized twostrokes for a violation in the Women's British Open, if she would read theRules of Golf.

"Well, they're not actually great readingmaterial."


Who's got the maddest hops in northern Ohio? Hint: Itain't LeBron James. Try Bubblegum, the grand champion in the Valley City FrogJump Festival. The little green guy, entered by Tyler Frew, leaped 15' 81/2" on Sunday to win the 45th annual competition. Not all of thecontestants soared, though. Great One, entered by 14-year-old Seth Starman(above), proved to be, well, not so great. His best jump of 6'4" meant thatfor the first time in years, the Starman clan left the festival without atrophy.