RiverHawks, racing star Patrick reunite with MDA
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March 12, 2007 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – After last year’s event resulted in a sellout crowd and nearly $70,000 to charity, Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick is coming back to RiverHawks Stadium.

Her second visit to a Rockford RiverHawks game may be on the way back from the winner’s circle in Indianapolis. In addition to the appearance, which benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association, RiverHawks Stadium will be the premier area location to watch Patrick compete in the Indianapolis 500, three days before she comes to the ballpark.

Patrick will be at RiverHawks Stadium on Wednesday, May 30 for the MDA Danica Patrick Jersey Auction, sponsored by the RiverHawks. The RiverHawks will take the field that night in jerseys modeled after the Roscoe native’s racing suit.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to my hometown and helping out MDA and my local community,” Patrick said. “Last year’s event was a huge success, so I’m excited to make it an even bigger success this year.”

Immediately following the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off to fans, with proceeds going to the MDA. Patrick will autograph each jersey sold at auction.

“Although we work with a lot of charitable organizations, we’ve taken on the MDA as our most active partner because we feel that our stadium is the best platform for what they’re trying to achieve,” general manager Josh Olerud said.

Season-ticket buyers will have exclusive access to a VIP area where Patrick will hold a meet-and-greet session. The game, against Traverse City, begins at 7:05 p.m. Details of the event are to be announced.

“By buying your season ticket before opening day, you will be guaranteed to be part of a greet session with Danica Patrick in an exclusive area in the stadium during that game,” Olerud said.

Last year’s event drew an official crowd of 3,307.

“We feel like this year we should expect a similar amount,” Olerud said. “We feel that the crowd is going to come out and enjoy this.”

The postgame auction, along with other cooperative efforts between the RiverHawks and the MDA, earned more than $69,000. More than $75,000 has been raised over the last two years.

“We were very pleased with how the even went last year,” MDA program coordinator Mary Ann McLarty said. “So many people in the community came together to support the MDA, the RiverHawks and Danica. We’re just really looking forward to putting together a bigger event than last year.”

On May 27, the RiverHawks will host an Indy party while Patrick is racing in the Indianapolis 500. Fans are invited to watch the race on the RiverHawks Stadium scoreboard. The MDA will sell raffle tickets for Patrick-autographed items. Admission for the Indy party is free.

The fourth annual RiverHawks-MDA night will be supported by a pre-event fundraiser, details of which are to be announced.

Patrick was named the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after a stellar month of May in which she both qualified and finished fourth – the best performance by a female driver in Indy 500 history. Patrick, the first female to take the lead in that race, led for 19 laps. She finished eighth in the 2006 race. Patrick became the first Indy car driver to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 20 years when she appeared on the front of the June 5, 2005 edition. She appeared on 11 other magazine covers, including TV Guide and ESPN the Magazine. She clinched the Bombardier IRL Indy Car Series Rookie of the Year award at Watkins Glen last September 25. She was Yahoo’s third-most searched female athlete in 2005 and was featured in People magazine as one of the world’s 100 most-beautiful people for 2006.

The RiverHawks are the Western Division champions of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 15th season in 2007. The RiverHawks begin their sixth season on May 23 at Windy City. The home opener is at 7:05 p.m. May 25, when the RiverHawks host Windy City. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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