The Quad-City region's Memorial Day racing tradition has added a most appropriate name to its moniker — the Kwik Star Criterium.
Think about it. Those bicyclists have to be "kwik" as they race through the hilly Village of East Davenport course. And to the cheering spectators, I'm sure they are the stars of the criterium.
The Quad-Cities Bicycle Club, which runs the annual race, said Kwik Star stores' parent company, Kwik Trip Inc., has signed on as the title sponsor.
"The race has a great history and long tradition so we are grateful for the opportunity to help support an event which benefits the Quad-Cities and our surrounding communities," said Carl Rick, the company's public relations specialist and third-generation owner.
The sponsorship comes as Kwik Star has widened its footprint here with six Kwik Star stores and one Kwik Star Express across the Iowa Quad-Cities.
"We'd like to get a few more in the area," Rick said, adding that the company has plans to open 50-55 new stores across Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Bicycle club member John Harrington said the club is excited to have the new title sponsor. "While our race draws racers from all over the country, the core of our ridership and spectators are from Iowa and the surrounding states," he said.
Kwik Trip is one of the nation's largest independently held convenience store chains. Headquartered in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, it is privately held by the Zietlow family. The chain includes more than 550 Kwik Trip and Kwik Star stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa and employs more than 18,000.
Rick said the company, founded in 1965, now is three generations strong. In fiscal 2016, Kwik Trip donated $11 million in support of its communities.
It now adds its name to a race as old as its company. Launched as the Moline Criterium, the race has seen several evolutions and moved in 2014 to the village.
1st Gateway's CEO elected to national board
Pat Drennen, CEO of 1st Gateway Credit Union, Camanche, has been elected to the board of directors of the Credit Union National Association, or CUNA.
A 27-year employee of 1st Gateway, he was a member of the Iowa Credit Union League board of directors for more than 20 years — including three as its board chair. Drennen began his career as a state credit union examiner.
Jim Nussle, the national association's president, said Drennen's "vast experience throughout many levels of the credit union system will serve the CUNA/League system well as we work to improve the operating environment for credit unions."
Drennen served on several Iowa League's subsidiary companies, including his current board position on TMG Financial Services, the credit card portfolio management company. He also is the league's principal key contact for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Drennen is one of four board directors representing District 4, which covers Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Best burgers trimmed to Top 10 in Iowa
From the follow-up file: The 2017 Iowa's Best Burger contest now is down to the Top 10, and sorry folks, the Quad-Cities is not represented.
Iowans submitted more than 9,200 nominations for nearly 500 Iowa restaurants, which organizers say is a new contest record.
Those making the final cut are Ankeny Diner, Ankeny; BeerBurger, North Liberty; BW's Burgers, West Des Moines; Doc's Stadium Bar & Grill, Jefferson; Down Right Delicious, Clarinda; Elm's Club, Creston; Saucy Focaccia, Cedar Rapids; Smokin Hereford, Storm Lake; The Irish Shanit, Elgin; and Vaughn's Cafe and Bakery, Clarinda.
The Top Ten now will be visited by a panel of anonymous judges and a winner will be crowned May 1.
For more information on the contest, visit www.iabeef.org.