Sports & Recreation
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Marco LaNave   
Monday, 23 June 2014 14:15
Race to Home 5K presented by Palmer Chiropractic Clinics is Saturday, April 11; home opener Sunday, April 12
DAVENPORT, Iowa. (June 23, 2014) – The Quad Cities River Bandits announced on Monday their 140-game schedule for the 2015 Midwest League season, including the six-time Midwest League Champions' home opener on Sunday, April 12, against the Clinton LumberKings to begin a schedule of 70 home games at Modern Woodmen Park.
Opening Weekend kicks off at Modern Woodmen Park Saturday, April 11, with the annual Bandits Race to Home 5K and Kids Fun Run presented by Palmer Chiropractic Clinics to benefit the Bandit Scholars Program.
After playing their first three games of the 2015 season in Peoria, the River Bandits will return to Modern Woodmen Park for their home opener, the first game of a three-game series against Clinton April 12-14. Sunday, April 12, will mark the first of 14 weekends the Midwest League club will have a home game at the ballpark voted the Best Minor League Ballpark in a nationwide vote at and USA TODAY.
The River Bandits will have home games on five holiday weekends in 2015. Quad Cities will host Wisconsin on Mother's Day Weekend Thursday, May 7, through Saturday, May 9. On Memorial Day Weekend, the River Bandits play a four-game home series with Peoria Friday, May 22, through Memorial Day Monday, May 25. The team will also be home for three Father's Day Weekend games Friday, June 19, through Sunday, June 21. On Fourth of July Weekend, the River Bandits will host Peoria Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3. The River Bandits will play their regular season home finale against Kane County at the start of Labor Day Weekend on Friday, Sept. 4.
The River Bandits have three different homestands of seven games or more, including a season-long nine-game, 10-day home stand Friday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 9. The team's longest road stretch is 10 games in 11 days Friday, May 29, through Monday, June 8.
Quad Cities will host four Eastern Division opponents making their first regular season visits to Modern Woodmen Park since 2012. The River Bandits will host the Lansing Lugnuts (June 10-12), Great Lakes Loons (June 13-15), Bowling Green Hot Rods (Aug. 4-6) and Dayton Dragons (Aug. 7-9). Every Western Division team will play at least six games at Modern Woodmen Park in 2015.
A full schedule of home and road games for 2015 is available at Game times will be announced at a later date.
UP NEXT: Back-to-back fireworks nights kick of the Fourth of July weekend at Modern Woodmen Park. The ballpark will open Thursday, July 3, for the annual Red, White and Boom Fireworks, and the River Bandits will have Fourth of July Fireworks presented by Smart Toyota of the Quad Cities, WLLR and WQAD following the 7 p.m. game on Friday, July 4. Game tickets are available at To order any of the River Bandits 2014 ticket plans - with new lower prices - call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership recently made one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 105 feet over the playing field, opened May 24, and Space Camp opened June 20. Soon to come is another new ride, this one called a "Drop and Twist." In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. Last season, the team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.

News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Marco LaNave   
Monday, 23 June 2014 09:37

Editor's Note: Sunday's game was rained out. No word yet from the River Bandits as to when, or if, Anthony Bass will make his rehab start with the team.

Right-handed reliever will be second major leaguer in as many seasons to pitch rehab with River Bandits

DAVENPORT, Iowa. (June 21, 2014) – For a second consecutive season, the Houston Astros are sending a major league pitcher for a rehab assignment in the Quad Cities. Right-hander Anthony Bass is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with the River Bandits at Modern Woodmen Park Sunday.

Bass's rehab appearance is the first by a major leaguer for the River Bandits since Astros right-hander Josh Fields pitched a pair of two-inning scoreless outings May 10 and May 13 at Modern Woodmen Park during the 2013 season.

"Bringing major league rehabs to the Quad Cities has been a long time goal of the Bandits, and we are delighted to be getting our second MLB rehab in the past 14 months," said team owner Dave Heller. "Quad Cities fans deserve to be seeing major league talent in our beautiful ballpark, and we will continue to work to bring more major league players to this great community."

Bass, 26, is 1-0 with two saves and a 4.50 ERA in 15 appearances, totaling 18 innings, for Houston this season. When he was placed on the disabled list May 14 (backdated to May 11) with a right intercostal strain, Bass led the Astros with four holds, and he had allowed just a .239 opponent's batting average. Bass has made 90 career Major League appearances with San Diego (2011-13) and Houston (2014). He was acquired by the Astros from the Padres along with cash considerations for a player to be named later (left-hander Patrick Schuster) on Dec. 11, 2013.

Bass was born in Dearborn, Mich., and grew up in Trenton, Mich. He attended Wayne State University from 2006 to 2008, and San Diego drafted him in the fifth round of the June 2008 draft. He pitched in the Midwest League for the Fort Wayne TinCaps in 2009, when he was a mid-season All-Star and two-time league Pitcher of the Week before being called up to Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore July 17 of that season. He made his major league debut June 13, 2011, with San Diego. In three seasons with the Padres, Bass was 4-8 with one save and a 4.08 ERA in 75 games, including 18 starts. He also struck out 135 batters in 187 1/3 total innings.

Rock Island's Madison Keys Wins the Aegon International Tennis Tournament PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Rick Martin   
Monday, 23 June 2014 09:09

EASTBOURNE, England - Madison Keys, the 19 year-old tennis professional from Rock Island, Illinois, yesterday won her first career Women's Tennis Association title at the Aegon International Tennis Tournament in England.

Keys, who was unseeded in this tournament, was playing in her first final. She became the youngest American to win a singles title since Vania King did so in October 2006.

Keys now turns her attention to the Wimbledon Championships, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, which begin today at the All England Club in London.

July 1 Marks Deadline for State Fair Competitions, Parade Entries PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Lori Chappell   
Friday, 20 June 2014 11:48

DES MOINES, IA (06/20/2014)(readMedia)-- July 1 is the deadline to enter the Iowa State Fair parade and many of the Fair's competitive events. "Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair, August 7-17.

Premium books and entry forms can be accessed at Entrants in competitive events may enter online or submit their entry by mail. While most entries are due July 1, deadlines do vary by department. Many departments will accept late entries through July 8 with an additional late fee. For more information regarding entry deadlines, competitions or the online entry system, contact the Competitive Events Department at 515/262-3111 ext. 207.

The Iowa State Fair also invites all community and youth groups, special interest clubs and businesses to join the fun and enter the "Amazingly Amusing" State Fair parade, Iowa's largest parade and the kick-off to the Fair.

Applications are available at or by contacting Tonya Cook at 515/262-3111 ext. 215 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . There is a $25 fee for each parade entry. Entries postmarked later than July 1 must include a $15 late fee. No entries will be accepted after July 15.

The parade, set for Wednesday, August 6, will begin at 6:15 p.m. in downtown Des Moines. Spectators will be able to watch an estimated 200 floats, animals, vehicles, novelty and performing units. Staging will take place at the State Capitol Complex. Parade entrants will then travel west on Grand Avenue to 13th Street. Dispersion will take place between 13th and 18th Streets.

Highlights of the gala event will be re-broadcast on parade night throughout central Iowa on KDSM 17 beginning at 10 p.m. To be considered for television coverage, the description information on the application must be completed and returned. Due to the length of the parade, it is not possible for all entries to be televised.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2014 Iowa State Fair, August 7-17. The Fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, just 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines. Discounted gate admission tickets are on sale now through our convenient print at home ticket option at For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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Navigating Missouri’s Lower Mississippi River PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Tom Uhlenbrock   
Friday, 20 June 2014 11:43

Paddling the Lower Mississippi River

Caruthersville, Mo. – There was no brass band playing to greet John Ruskey and his five crewmates as they paddled their 30-foot wood canoe into Caruthersville to end an 11-day voyage on the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

Instead of trombones and tubas, lightning flashed, thunder boomed and rain fell. Lots of rain.

“That’s part of the adventure, you have to accept what Mother Nature throws at you,” said Ruskey, shrugging off the storm. “That becomes part of the stories that come off the river with you.”

Ruskey, 50, owns Quapaw Canoe Co. in Clarksdale, Miss., which made the handsome cypress strip canoe, dubbed “the Grasshopper,” that the travelers arrived in. The “voyageur canoe” is similar to the big boats paddled by early explorers and pioneers.

Ruskey also is director of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation, which he founded in 2011. The foundation’s mission is to spread the word about the beauty of floating the stretch of the Mississippi from its confluence with the Missouri north of St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico.

Over the last two years, Ruskey has gathered information for his Rivergator, a paddler’s guide to the Lower Mississippi; it’s available free online at The website currently has stories, photos, maps and information on the stretch from Caruthersville to Vicksburg, Miss.

“Most people only experience the Mississippi from a bridge, which always goes over an industrial area that is not attractive,” Ruskey said. “And the locals will tell you, ‘Don’t get on the river; it’s ugly.’

“People just don’t think of the Mississippi as a place to go and enjoy the outdoors. But the fishermen know. It’s like a greatly held secret.”
Ruskey and his crew now have traveled the Mississippi from St. Louis to Baton Rouge, La., a total of almost 1,000 miles. Along the way, they’ve accumulated data on camping spots, points of interest and potential obstacles, all of which will be posted online by Oct. 15. In 2015, they’ll add 235 miles through New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico to complete their Lower Mississippi Water Trail.

“We want to share the wild aspects of the Lower Mississippi River for paddlers,” Ruskey said.
“Primarily this is for advanced paddlers in expedition-style canoes or sea kayaks. Those are made for long-distance travel and are capable in all the challenges the Mississippi presents – waves, winds, long crossings, quick crossings in between towboats.”

Their argument, that much of the Lower Mississippi is wild and scenic, was evident in the 307-mile stretch from St. Louis to Caruthersville, Ruskey said.

“For about half the way, all you see is big trees, big bluffs, big islands thriving with wildlife and the big river that ties them all together,” he said.

“The bluffs below St. Louis were just spectacular, particularly around Herculaneum and Crystal City,” he added. “In the back chutes, behind the islands, we saw deer, coyotes, bald eagles, numerous songbirds. At Osborne Chute, below Crystal City, we saw three eagles feasting on a gar. Sunrise on the limestone cliffs at Trail of Tears State Park was beautiful.”

Paddlers will share the river with towboats and barges, but Ruskey said that was not a problem.

“The towboats are slow-moving and very predictable,” he said. “Normally, on any stretch of the river, you’ll see them about an hour before they actually pass. That gives any perceptive paddler time to predict where they’ll go, and how to maneuver around them.”

Getting more paddlers out on the Lower Mississippi will have a beneficial impact by making more people conscious of the landscape of the river’s flood plain, Ruskey said.

“Not only do paddlers clean up places they camp, but they also become impassioned users of the river,” he said. “That leads to more public land along the river and better decisions about its use.”

As far as the occasional thunderstorm, that is just part of life on the Mississippi, Ruskey said.

“You might be slightly uncomfortable, like getting mud between your toes or sunburn,” he said. “But these are things that make you remember the experience and what wilderness is all about.”

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