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GGOOLLDD started about three years ago when Margaret Butler walked into a Milwaukee bar and heard beats she wanted to write lyrics to.

Butler had never held a microphone or even sang karaoke, but she started chatting with the deejay behind the beats.

\u201cWe were talking about stuff that drunk people talk about, like \u2018Let\u2019s start a band,\u2019\"she said.

She didn\u2019t expect much until she got a 4 a.m. email containing a track of beats from that deejay, Tony Hunt.

Their first song, called \u201cGold,\u201d as well as some Google searches, inspired their band name and inspires Butler\u2019s typical shiny show attire, which she calls her \u201cmore confident stage persona.\u201d

\u201cWhen you add letters, it\u2019s much more googleable,\u201d she said. \u201cWe can guarantee we\u2019re the only ones with that name.\u201d

Over the years, the pop act that formed on a whim has made ripples in the indie music scene; they\u2019ve released three albums and are considered a Milwaukee staple.

But as they start a two-month tour this week, with a Saturday show at Daytrotter in Davenport, Butler says the band is experiencing a rebirth.

According to Butler, \u201cdifferent creative directions\u201d caused GGOOLLDD\u2019s co-founder and chief songwriter, Tony Hunt, to leave the group last year.

\u201cTony didn\u2019t leave much room for anyone else to write. That\u2019s why we parted ways,\u201d she said. \u201cWe were getting bigger and people were paying attention to us, so if people are paying attention, we thought we should probably do what we want to do.\u201d

The result is \u201cUndercovers,\u201d a synth-pop single with a \u201ca little more dirt in it,\u201d Butler said.\u00a0

\u201cIt\u2019s a product of us learning to write music as a band and writing what we want to write,\u201d Butler said. \u201cIt\u2019s honestly our first song as a band; it\u2019s like our first baby.\u201d

In honor of the single and fresh direction, they released \u2014 and starred in \u2014\u00a0a short horror-themed film set to \u201cUndercovers.\u201d

In the eight-minute video, inspired by the 1970s, the band\u2019s bus breaks down and lots of gore ensues.

\u201cWe wanted to do something that represented us a band; Tony never would\u2019ve gone for that,\u201d Butler said. \u201cIt's a schticky, terrible and goofy horror movie \u2014\u00a0kind of like us.\u201d

What makes the video truly represent the new GGOOLLDD?

\u201cIf you pay attention, we\u2019re all dressed up like characters from Scooby Doo,\u201d she said. \u201cIt doesn't take itself seriously. We like to see the humor in things.\u201d

But they do take their newfound roles as songwriters seriously.

In the next few months, after touring, they plan to move into a house together and \u201cwrite nonstop,\u201d Butler said.\u00a0

\"We're already writing like crazy,\" she said. \"We've found something we're really excited about.\"

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If you just looked at the black-and-white photo of Wendy Scott, you would have no idea where she\u2019s from or how hard she works.

The photo shows a routine for Scott, a native of Maquoketa. She is arranging flowers for a happy or sad occasion, which is a job she has had since childhood. Her parents opened RonAnn\u2019s Floral Shoppe in 1955, and Scott took it over in 2001.

But, again, you wouldn\u2019t know all of that by looking.

And that\u2019s exactly what photographer Kurt Ullrich was going for.

He popped in one afternoon nearly two years ago and asked to visit with Scott.

\u201cIt wasn\u2019t a great hair day, and I had my apron on, but I think that\u2019s what he wanted,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s me in my normal environment.\u201d

The result of that afternoon \u2014\u00a0the black-and-white portrait \u2014\u00a0hangs on a wall at Maquoketa Art Experience as part of an exhibit by Ullrich called \u201cI Am Everyday People,\u201d which includes 50 black-and-white portraits of people from areas such as Maquoketa, the Quad-Cities, Dubuque and Chicago.

The collection, on display through March 6, is inspired by the Sly Stone song of the same name and includes unedited photos of \u201cfrat-boy types\u201d riding in a Rolls Royce as well as a gas station worker, hitchhiker, homeless woman and happy newlyweds.

\u201cThese are everyday people, but not ordinary people,\u201d said Ullrich, who lives in rural Jackson County and grew up in Maquoketa. \u201cThe important thing is you have no idea what their name is or what their history is, so you make it up and make judgments.\u201d

And after walking through all these nameless faces, Ullrich said, you might just learn something.

\u201cThese are people from all different places and walks of life, but everyone has a story,\u201d he said. \u201cIn the end, we\u2019re all just folks.\u201d

Meet, see, create

Ullrich wishes something like the Maquoketa Art Experience, or MAE, existed when he was attending high school nearby.

\u201cThere was no place like this for kids to get exposed to the art world,\u201d he said. \u201cMost people don\u2019t go to art galleries or museums because it\u2019s intimidating. I think this space helps allay a lot of that.\u201d

The MAE, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2008, partly by current president Bob Osterhaus. Before the art center and the Maquoketa Area Chamber of Commerce moved in around 2012, the storefront on Main Street housed his pharmacy, which moved to Platt Street.

\u201cA group of us aiming to revitalize the downtown thought something like this might help,\u201d Osterhaus said. \u201cThe goal is that people have a place to meet, see and create art in some form.\u201d

Along with a rotating local artists corner, gift shop and kid-friendly section, two areas are reserved for traveling exhibits, aided by a partnership with the University of Iowa\u2019s art department. The MAE hosts weekly artist workshops as well as occasional concerts and receptions for new exhibits.

\u201cSome days, there are no visitors, and sometimes, it\u2019s a full house,\u201d he said. \"Are we everything we want to be? No, but we\u2019re working on it. You can\u2019t force-feed art to people. It takes time to get people to come in and take a look.\u201d

'We're all the same'

Ullrich\u2019s exhibit is a good way to draw people inside the MAE, Scott said.

\u201cUs hands-dirty working-class people \u2026 we\u2019re overlooked a lot,\u201d Scott said. \u201cIt shows that art comes in many forms. It doesn\u2019t have to be your high society thing.\u201d

And, Scott said, offering a comparison to another local artist Rose Franzen, known for \u201cPortraits of Maquoketa,\u201d she\u2019s happy to see those kinds of people highlighted.

\u201cThis is a small town,\u201d she said. \u201cYou\u2019re going to find everyday people here more than anywhere else.\u201d

Ullrich made a point to document slices of small town and big city life in \u201cI Am Everyday People,\u201d which also was displayed at the Old Capitol Museum\u2019s Hanson Humanities Gallery in Iowa City.

After retiring from a 30-career in county government in Davenport, the 65-year-old picked up photography, a craft he hadn\u2019t touched since college, about five years ago. He\u2019s not a camera nerd, doesn\u2019t always have a camera with him and stays away from PhotoShop. But when the writer/photographer, who has been published in a variety of news outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and St. Louis Post Dispatch, gives himself an assignment, he goes all in.

Take for example, his self-imposed challenge of chronicling a day at the Iowa State Fair. His collection of photos was later published by the University of Iowa Press.

\u201cYou might have all kinds of judgments about people, but what you start to find out is that we\u2019re all the same,\u201d he said. \u201cThese are people you grew up with and you can relate to.\u201d

That\u2019s a similar discovery Ullrich wrote about at the end of his \u201cI Am Everyday People\u201d journey.

\u201cThese people cause me to want to spread my old wings, even just a little, because in the end, we\u2019re all stuck here, earthbound, people who will always fail, people who would be wise to make the best of whatever time remains,\u201d he writes in an artist\u2019s statement accompanying the exhibit. \"It\u2019s what everyday people do.\u201d

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Cajun Connection might be the most random choice for best Louisiana eatery.

That's because it's in the middle of Illinois cornfields.

The restaurant, which counts fried alligator tail as a signature dish and decorated like it's Mardi Gras every day of the year, certainly seems out place in Utica, Illinois, a village of 1,300 people about 80 miles from the Quad-Cities.

It starts to make more sense when you talk to regulars who drive an hour once a week for a cup of gumbo soup.\u00a0

And, it makes even more sense when you meet \u201cCajun Ron.\"

PHOTOS: Cajun Connection in Utica, Illinois

Ron McFarlain greets everyone who comes to his restaurant with a smile, fist bump and a thick Southern drawl that hasn\u2019t faded since his move from Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the 1990s.

\u201cWe\u2019re unique,\u201d McFarlain, who turns 60 next week, said. \u201cWe cook everything ourselves 100 percent. That's rare.\u201d

What\u2019s most unique about Cajun Connection, however, is probably the man behind it.

\u2018He's not shy\u2019

If you haven't met Cajun Ron before, his wife will offer something of a disclaimer.

\u201cWell, he has a personality,\u201d Amy McFarlain said. \u201cYou\u2019ll find that out pretty quickly.\u201d

When I sat down with McFarlain last week, it took less than a minute to see what she means.

Regulars will tell you service doesn't get much friendlier, and personal, than Ron.

\u201cHe's not shy,\u201d said Linda Chrysler, of\u00a0Ottawa, who visits Cajun Connection once a month with her husband, Dick, for shrimp etouffe, and sips of Miller Lite.

During our visit, McFarlain told me salad is the \u201cfilthiest food on Earth,\u201d led me in a two-step to Zydeco music, stole my camera to capture my first (and only) time holding frozen gator tail and confidently explained I simply haven't had Cajun food until I tried his creations.

\u201cWe have lots of regulars and lots of people that come from all over,\u201d he said. \u201cBecause of my big mouth, some of them don\u2019t come back.\u201d

But, his big mouth and personality, is what brings so many more back.\u00a0

Swamp-to-table

Before the doors opened, McFarlain handed me a plastic spoon so we could taste-test samples of the roux and gumbo together.\u00a0

He and his crew of cooks prep for about five hours each day and McFarlain is always striving for a \"no flaws\" taste.\u00a0

\u201cEveryone thinks Cajun food is hot and spicy, but it\u2019s really about flavor,\" he said. \"When you cook it every day, it never tastes the same. It's like you can\u2019t make lasagna taste the same every time.\u201d

A series of construction jobs led McFarlain to the Utica area, where he quickly realized there was an absence of his hometown cuisine.

\u201cGrowing up near the swamps, we\u2019d kill, clean, eat,\u201d he said. \u201cLittle did I know I\u2019d be cooking that way for my whole life.\u201d

In 1995, when he first opened a small place on the corner of\u00a0U.S. 6 and Illinois 178, nobody wanted to eat alligator tail. He ended up giving away a lot of the dish, perfected with his lightly-seasoned batter, for free.

He did mostly everything on his own for two years until his then-girlfriend Amy, now his wife of three years, joined the force.

\u201cHe mentioned he was short-handed, so I started helping out, and the rest is history,\u201d she said.

Together, in 2001, they moved Cajun Connection down the road to the former Lone Street Inn, a light-pink house that's\u00a0more than\u00a090 years old and seats about 70 people inside. The couple lives on the second floor.

Some residents of Utica frequent the establishment, said Amy McFarlain, but it's the out-of-towners, including visitors to Starved Rock State Park, a wilderness area about four miles away in Oglesby, Illinois, that keep it going.

\u201cNow people ask for gator,\u201d Ron McFarlain, who said he orders about 5,000 pounds of tail each year, said. \u201cIt's a little bit of a gimmick, but it's all over the menu. And it will amaze you.\u201d

Party place

If you're up for a road trip, Cajun Connection is the go-to party place for Fat Tuesday next week.

The Utica Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday kicks off activities. About 200 people attend each year, in part, to see McFarlain's flashy gator float and to guarantee a catch of king cake and free beads.

\u201cIt's hectic. We\u2019re exhausted the day after Fat Tuesday,\u201d Ron McFarlain said, before posing a typical question to his wife. \u201cIsn't that right, Amy?\u201d

She nods her head and says, \u201cYes, it's a very big, day.\u201d

Next week, they say, is the start of their busy season that only gets busier with warm weather.\u00a0

And by the way, Ron McFarlain said the restaurant had a record-setting January in sales last month.

It's a lot to manage for the couple, who have three kids and four grandchildren. The McFarlains say they spend their time working at the restaurant or talking about the restaurant.

\u201cIt's crazy, whenever we go, people know of Cajun Ron,\u201d Amy McFarlain said. \u201cIt's the toughest job you'll ever love.\u201d

An escape

Whether they're here for Cajun Ron or the food he makes, customers seem to seek out Cajun Connection for an escape.

It doesn't feel like the Midwest. And this is no plate of meat and potatoes.\u00a0

\u201cIt's the only Cajun food between here and Chicago,\" Ron McFarlain said. \"A lot of people don't know that because they don't what Cajun really tastes like.\"\u00a0

You'll get that taste when trying his pork-infused Boudin balls, anything dipped in his \u00a0handmade sauces, a selection of beer from Abita Springs, Louisiana, or Amy's bread pudding topped with locally made cinnamon ice cream.

\u201cI was taught the old-school way,\u201d Ron McFarlain said. \u201cA recipe is a recipe, but you have to make it your own.\u201d

And that's what he's done for the past 22 years.\u00a0

Take it from Russell and Donna Spicer and Tom and Roberta Wilson, who make the 45-minute drive from Sparland, Illinois, a couple of\u00a0times per month for a double date at Cajun Connection.

\u201cIt\u2019s delicious every time,\u201d Donna Spicer said. \u201cYou can come here and never get a bad meal.\u201d

\u201cAnd Ron ... you never get a dull moment with him.\u201d

"}, {"id":"523999a1-6f93-545b-83f6-fd0af63ac8d8","type":"article","starttime":"1487696400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-02-21T11:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1487721911","sections":[{"local":"news/local"},{"dining":"entertainment/dining"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"'Tis the season for Girl Scout cookies: Catch sales all over the Q-C","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_523999a1-6f93-545b-83f6-fd0af63ac8d8.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/tis-the-season-for-girl-scout-cookies-catch-sales-all/article_523999a1-6f93-545b-83f6-fd0af63ac8d8.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/tis-the-season-for-girl-scout-cookies-catch-sales-all/article_523999a1-6f93-545b-83f6-fd0af63ac8d8.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Amanda Hancock\nahancock@qctimes.com","prologue":"Thanks to Girl Scouts, Sherry Basham has plenty of lessons to pass on to her 8-year-old daughter, Ellen. As a troop leader, Basham teaches her daughter, along with the dozen other girls in Troop\u00a08416, about camping, crafts and, most importantly, how to be themselves. \"I want to see the girls have a good time and explore their individuality,\" Basham, of Port Byron, said. \"We talk about how we should be whatever we want to be.\"","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["commerce","sherry basham","sale","cookie","clothing","ellen","becca nicke","maura warner"],"internalKeywords":["#free"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"23633af9-7ad5-5f5e-bf20-fd7ad0056fee","description":"Sherry Basham and her 8-year-old daughter, Ellen, brought their Girl Scout cookie\u00a0table to Abernathy's in downtown Davenport.\u00a0","byline":"Amanda Hancock, Quad-City Times","hireswidth":1475,"hiresheight":1404,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/36/23633af9-7ad5-5f5e-bf20-fd7ad0056fee/58abcaf95ed47.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1475","height":"1404","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/36/23633af9-7ad5-5f5e-bf20-fd7ad0056fee/58abcaf95dd6d.image.jpg?resize=1475%2C1404"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"62","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/36/23633af9-7ad5-5f5e-bf20-fd7ad0056fee/58abcaf95dd6d.image.jpg?crop=1468%2C911%2C1%2C22&resize=100%2C62&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"186","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/36/23633af9-7ad5-5f5e-bf20-fd7ad0056fee/58abcaf95dd6d.image.jpg?crop=1468%2C911%2C1%2C22&resize=300%2C186&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"635","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/36/23633af9-7ad5-5f5e-bf20-fd7ad0056fee/58abcaf95dd6d.image.jpg?crop=1468%2C911%2C1%2C22&resize=1024%2C635&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":10,"commentID":"523999a1-6f93-545b-83f6-fd0af63ac8d8","body":"

Thanks to Girl Scouts, Sherry Basham has plenty of lessons to pass on to her 8-year-old daughter, Ellen.

As a troop leader, Basham teaches her daughter, along with the dozen other girls in Troop\u00a08416, about camping, crafts and, most importantly, how to be themselves.

\"I want to see the girls have a good time and explore their individuality,\" Basham, of Port Byron, said. \"We talk about how we should be whatever we want to be.\"

That even applies to the Girl Scouts\u2019 oldest tradition: the Cookie Sale.

Citing their love of all-things old-timey, the mother-daughter pair set up a cookie\u00a0table on Saturday inside Abernathy\u2019s, the vintage clothing and accessories store in downtown Davenport. They plan to return on March 4.\u00a0

\u201cI love everything about the vintage lifestyle and so does Ellen,\u201d Basham said Saturday, near the end of a two-hour window of selling the signatures, such as Thin Mints and Savannah Smiles. \u201cSo we decided to do something a little bit different.\u201d

Basham, who participated in Girl Scouts through middle school, donned an original troop leader uniform from the 1950s and Ellen created a costume of her own, complete with a 1970s bracelet from Abernathy\u2019s. The third-grader recently learned to sew, so she also stocked up on fabrics while at the shop. She designs her own skirts and makes sweaters for her stuffed animals.

\u201cGirl Scouts helps you grow into your own,\u201d Sherry Basham said. \u201cYou can have all kinds of interests.\"\u00a0

The season of cookie sales, marked with tables\u00a0outside seemingly every store, attention-grabbing signs and a variety of ploys, kicked off last week for the roughly 4,000 Girl Scouts and 1,000 volunteers around the Quad-Cities. Sales officially end March 12.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first known cookie sales by Girl Scouts, so the organization rolled out a new treat \u2014\u00a0the S\u2019mores cookie, which Basham offered samples of on Saturday.

\u201cIt\u2019s our busiest time of year,\u201d said Maura Warner, the local council's communications coordinator. \u201cYou\u2019ll probably see a cookie booth at every major retailer over the next few weekends.\u201d

The cookie business has changed since Basham was a Girl Scout. She remembers going door-to-door around her neighborhood to meet her goal of selling 500 boxes.

Now, there are online sales, a cookie-finder app and partnerships between troops and local businesses.

\u201cIt mirrors how the business world really is today,\u201d Warner said. \u201cYou need the online sales and the brick and mortar stores.\u201d

Abernathy's co-owners, Becca Nicke and Red Perreze, said teaming up with the Bashams was a win-win.

\"Everyone loves it,\" Nicke said. \"It works for both of us; some people came just for cookies and others walked away with cookies that were coming in for vintage clothes.\u201d

And, she said, it\u2019s \u201cnearly impossible\u201d to say no to the cookies and the cause.

\u201cWhen it comes to this time of year, it's like 'I gotta have these,\u201d Nicke said. \"Obviously other than being super delicious, it's about female empowerment.\"

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1. WWE returns

WWE is back for its first Quad-City battle of 2017. At WWE Live Road to Wrestlemania, coming to the iWireless Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline, you'll see a triple-threat match between superstars\u00a0John Cena, Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose plus a contest billed as the Intercontinental Championship Match between American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Luke Harper. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.\u00a0

7:30 p.m. Saturday, iWireless Center, $18.50-$108.50

2. Cajun Cook-Off

The Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport,\u00a0is gearing up for Fat Tuesday. At the Cajun Cook-Off, festivities include\u00a0Cajun- and Creole-inspired cuisine, a photo both and plenty of beads to share. For dinner, chefs from area restaurants such as Thunder Bay Grille and Zeke's Island Cafe, will present their best recipes. You can vote on your favorite for a chance to win a private catered event. Proceeds go toward programs at the Figge Art Museum.\u00a0

5 p.m. Sunday, Figge Art Museum, $30

3. Singer/songwriter soiree\u00a0

The singer/songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt are teaming up for an acoustic show at the Adler Theatre,\u00a0136 E. 3rd\u00a0St., Davenport. Lovett, a Texas-based musician, blends country, jazz, folk and blues with songs such as \"If I Had a Boat\" and \"She's No Lady.\" You may recognize some of Hiatt's iconic tunes, which have been covered by Bob Dylan,\u00a0Emmylou Harris, Iggy Pop and Willie Nelson.\u00a0Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, at the Adler Theatre Box Office or by phone at 800-745-3000.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Adler Theatre, $39, $49, $69\u00a0

4. In the mood\u00a0

Go back in time with a night of music from the 1940s. \"In the Mood,\" featuring the songs of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Erskine Hawkins, The Andrews Sisters and Frank Sinatra, is hitting the Adler Theatre stage, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, this week.\u00a0Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, the Adler Theatre Box Office or by phone at 800-745-3000.

2\u00a0and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Adler Theatre,\u00a0$26.50, $36.50, $46.50

5. Get the gold\u00a0

Milwaukee-based GGOOLLDD, an electronic pop group, is set to a headline a high-energy show this weekend at Daytrotter, 324 Brady St., Davenport. Naked Giants, a band from Seattle, and Sister Wife, of the Quad-Cities, fill out the lineup. Advance tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

8 p.m. Saturday, Daytrotter, $8

6. Brand new Cornmeal

After a nine-year wait, this Chicago-based bluegrass jam band, which formed in 2000,\u00a0has released its latest studio album, called \"Slow Street.\" See Cornmeal, with opener Sun Stereo, at the Redstone Room, 129 N. Main St., Davenport. Advance tickets are available at rivermusicexperience.org.

9 p.m. Friday, Redstone Room, $12\u00a0

7. Battle of the bands\u00a0

This weekend show marks the final round of a Quad-City battle of the bands months in the making. The winners of previous rounds \u2014\u00a0High Five Sinners, Alborn Theory and Soldout War \u2014\u00a0will go head-to-head at the Rock Island Brewing Company, or RIBCO, 1815 2nd Ave., Rock Island.\u00a0

9 p.m. Friday, RIBCO, Cover charge

8. Q-C rockstars
\u00a0
This show isn't a battle, but it's another one packed with Quad-City rock bands. Moline's Condor & Jaybird headlines the concert at the Redstone Room, 129 N. Main St., Davenport, with AsBigAsAMouse, Soldout War and Heavycraft also on the bill. Advance tickets are available at rivermusicexperience.org.
\u00a0
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Redstone Room, $7
\u00a0
9. Country covers
\u00a0
The aptly-named Back Country Roads, a six-piece country cover band from DeKalb, Illinois, is set to play at the Rock Island Dirt Road Saloon, or RIDRS,
1722 2nd Ave., Rock Island, for a Mardi Gras kick-off party. For more information, visit\u00a0ridirtroads.com.
\u00a0
9 p.m. Saturday, RIDRS, $5\u00a0
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