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River Chase returns in Rock Falls

Speed boats will be ripping up and down the Rock this weekend

ROCK FALLS – Sleek, shiny speed boats will be revving up and down the Rock River this weekend, in a revival of the long-dormant Rock Falls River Chase boat races.

Race promoter Terry Hicks, who lives near the Rock in Rock Falls, wondered what happened to the old River Chase, last put on 7 or so years ago by various groups and individuals, and what it would take to get it going again.

What it would take, it turns out, was him.

Hicks, who has a full-time job with Dana Corp. and is a busy full-time “baseball dad” for his two kids on top of that, decided to tackle one more project, rolling up his sleeves and chasing his River Chase dream.

He contacted a racing club, checked out available hotel rooms for its racers and their families, worked with local organizations getting posters and p.r., trolled for sponsors, solicited volunteers ... anything and everything needed to get the race up and running again.

The end result: Up to 75 stock outboard racers, members of the Marine Racing Club of Illinois, will race from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Seward Park, on East Second Street east of the First Avenue Bridge. Racers also will be testing their boats from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.

In addition to the races, there will be a bounce house for the kids, 50/50 raffles and a food tent sponsored by the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce.

Admission is free.

Sponsors are welcome right up until race day.

Sometime Thursday or Friday, depending on the river level, the Rock Falls Fire Department will drag the waterway between the two dams, where the boats will run, to make sure there are no logs or other dangerous debris in the way. (Anglers who might have outlines in the area are advised to pull them out ahead of time.)

Hicks hopes to see the River Chase return to an annual event, and for that he needs community support.

Call him at 815-499-2468 to volunteer, sign up as a sponsor or for more information, or find Rock Falls River Chase on Facebook.

It’s all part of a busy weekend in Rock Falls: The chamber’s annual Summer Splash activities also will be taking place along the river Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In fact, the gator, elk and buffalo brats and other tasty treats that are a trademark of the chamber’s food tent at the Splash also will be sold at Seward.

Go to, or find Summer Splash on Facebook for the complete schedule.

About the club

The Marine Racing Club of Illinois races under the auspices of the American Power Boat Association, the largest sanctioning body for power boat racing in the United States.

Go to, or find it on Facebook for more information.

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