Since the 1950s, Wingra Boats has outfitted groups and individuals for treks along the serene, wake-free Lake Wingra with their fleet of water vessels. Starting out with a small squad of canoes, the company has grown to include more than 100 canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats across two locations. In addition to supplying rentals, the staff keep limbs limber with yoga—performed on dry land or atop paddleboards—and strengthens cores with standup paddleboard lessons. Youngsters get in on the action during camp sessions, where they learn to cast, reel, and ask fishes for any seven cards, or paddle aboard kayaks and canoes. The staff also lead guided tours and birding expeditions, and tuck boats away for the off-season with docking and storage services.
Along with his dogs Hazel and Gus, Wisconsin Adventures LLC's owner Rodrigo Camacho leads hunting groups in search of quail, pheasants, grouse, and other upland birds. Their quests take them across south-central Wisconsin's scenic countryside, which is a mixture of sprawling cropland, open fields, and densely wooded terrain. Because most hunts take place on privately owned farms, they don't require licenses or permits, which allows Mr. Camacho to accommodate everyone from first-timers to reincarnations of Davy Crockett. Mr. Camacho can also set up clay-shooting targets and train dogs in the arts of pointing and flushing.
The tough-as-nails ladies in the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller-derby league wow audiences with equal parts strength, speed, and glitter. Since their first season in 2005, skaters and MRD volunteers alike have donated their blood, sweat, and tears to the sport that promotes female athleticism and team spirit in a fun, competitive atmosphere. During the 30-minute bouts, fans cheer and sneer as the jammers attempt to lap the opposing team for points, and the blockers clear the way for their mates while putting the hurt on those who try to stop them. The season's schedule culminates in a championship match, in which the two mightiest teams battle for the title and a lifetime supply of solid-gold mouth guards.
Since the team is committed to supporting their community, a portion of the proceeds from each Mad Rollin' Dolls bout goes to various charities, which in the past have included Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, Alliance for Animals, and Badger Childhood Cancer Network.
Decorative smokestacks stretch toward the sky as Victorian red and gold decor surrounds passengers nibbling brunch in a dining salon. This scene unfolds aboard the Spirit of Dubuque, an authentic-looking paddleboat that pays homage to the century-old steamboats of the Mississippi River. Dubuque River Rides' signature vessel, it has played host to thousands of cruises filled with entertainment, meals, and improvised renditions of "Old Man River" since being christened by Iowa governor Robert Ray in 1977. Elsewhere on the river, a more modern boat cuts across the water, casting a sleek outline against the sky. The 80-foot yacht, affectionately called Miss Dubuque, sets an intimate stage for events that range from weddings to Huckleberry Finn's notorious dinner parties.
Both boats call the northern expanse of the Mississippi River their home, sharing the area with wildlife such as turtles and bald eagles. The sightseeing vessels also pass by river barges and historic structures such as the Chicago Central Pacific Railroad Bridge, which was built after the president invented Lincoln Logs in 1868. After boats return to the docks, their passengers can head over to the floating barge that houses the Ice Harbor Restaurant.
The Stockton Park District hosts outdoor community events throughout the year, including craft fairs, basketball tournaments, and 5K and 10K run/walks. Brothers Steve, Andy, and Tom Jordan organized the first annual 5K in 2008. They used their skills from hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to plan and advertise the event. The first year, they signed up 91 runners and raised money for a tennis court behind the high school and a paper-airplane factory at the middle school. Since then, the brothers have worked to improve the race and transform it into a community event with entertainment and an increasingly challenging and interesting course.