During the Gary SouthShore RailCats' inaugural season in 2002, the players spent an estimated 200 hours on buses?traveling approximately 12,000 miles without their own ballpark to call home. Indeed, the diamond at U.S. Steel Yard was still under construction, forcing the team to play its entire first season on the road. But while the trip could have been a rocky way for an organization to start out, it instead forecasted a wild ride ahead in which the RailCats never stopped moving. After just four years, the RailCats captured their first Northern League title, marking the first of five straight appearances in the championship series?a Northern League record.
Despite that first year away from home, the RailCats seem to have settled in well at U.S. Steel Yard. Within the park, views of the South Shore commuter train remind fans of the team's origins, and a 55-foot scoreboard towers over left-centerfield in much the same way early pitchers once towered over batters from atop a stack of milk crates.
The 20 taps at the Beer Geeks' pub are filled with a rotating selection of microbrews and craft beers from around the world. Cask-conditioned ales are the product of the pub’s on-site beer engine, and the rest of the bar's staggering selection beers and ciders come bottled. The bottles include craft brews, mass-produced classics, and Trappist beers brewed at seven Trapist monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands where monks still make beer by hand. To complement the bitter hops of their suds, Beer Geeks hosts top Chicago blues musicians every Tuesday night.
On a trip to Chicago from his native Italy, young Mario Tricoci changed his life forever. The fledgling hairdresser stopped in at a prestigious salon, where he impressed the owner with his impeccable display of skill and landed himself a job. The next six decades brought strings of industry awards and the opening of his very own salon, which soon exploded into 26 locations in four states. With his styling prowess proven both to the industry and to the clients he encountered each day, the coiffeur decided to share his gift with others. In 2004, he established Tricoci University to foster a new generation of cosmetologists and spa technicians trained to thrive in the luxury-spa industry.
Throughout the Midwest, Tricoci prot?g?s study a rigorous curriculum in high-end salon and spa surroundings to learn how to create beautiful hairdos, choose skin-flattering cosmetics, and beautify nails and skin. A team of experienced industry professionals readies pupils for the beauty world with in-depth classes, and outside education arrives via video demonstrations and guest-artist lectures on Vidal Sassoon's Wedge-Bob Postulate. More advanced students get a preview of their career to come by beautifying real people during instructor-supervised treatments, which lend the stylist essential experience as the client enjoys a pampering session at a discounted rate.
A shotgun blast signals the start of the race, and the runners tear off through the woods. All the while, the sounds of growls and moans behind them grow closer. Though held in broad daylight, The Running Dead presents its participants with a chilling challenge: if you're a runner, make it to the finish line in one piece, and if you're a zombie, track down your prey. Regardless of affiliation, the 5K challenges all its guests with a series of man-made and natural obstacles.
Throughout the course, runners are encouraged to work as a team. At the end, those who survive are rewarded with a beer or soft drink and a truce with the zombies. After the race, all are welcome to the Zombie Prom after-party: a horror-centric celebration featuring vegan and carnivore-friendly food, an awards ceremony for the most convincing zombie getups, and a chance to argue with a local principal that the undead shouldn't have to do homework. A DJ drops beats throughout the event, while two local cover bands and a headliner provide a live soundtrack.
Inside Silver Buckle Saloon, the Gimme Golf simulator must compete for attention with live music, football on the HD televisions, and even a mechanical bull. But compete it does, transporting its players to far-off golfing destinations such as California's Pebble Beach, Canada's Banff Springs, and Scotland's St. Andrews. These are, of course, all computer recreations of the venerable courses, but what the simulator lacks in authenticity it makes up for in convenience, comparatively minuscule greens fees, and protection from all elements except shaken-up beer cans.