Rafters release full 2019 promotional schedule
For the Rapids City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters has announced their full promotional schedule for the 2019 season.
“This year’s promotional schedule is one that will rival some of the most fun year’s the Rafters have had at Witter Field,” said General Manager Andy Francis. “Because of the 10th year anniversary occurring this year, the underlining idea we had when putting this promotional schedule together was to pack in as much history and memories as we could. I think the community will take notice.”
Opening Day is May 31 against rival Madison Mallards. The first fans through the gates will receive a 2019 magnet schedule presented by Al’s Auto Glass. Stadium gates will open a half hour earlier than usual on Opening Day. Fans can come to enjoy pre-game festivities starting at 6:05 pm. June 3 will be Bang for your Buck Monday and it will feature food deals for only a dollar. On June 5, the Rafters will be celebrating Rosco’s 10th Birthday Blowout. The first fans through the gate will receive a piece of cake and Rosco’s mascot friends will be in attendance. On the following night, June 6, the Rafters will be holding their first bobblehead of the season. This will be the Advanced Disposal Cranberry Rosco bobblehead. The whole night will be dedicated to all things cranberry. All ticket package holders, as well as the first fans in attendance will receive a bobblehead of Rosco decked out in hip waders and ready to get in the marshes.
In addition to the Cranberry Rosco bobblehead, on June 6, the Rafters will have three more bobblehead nights. The next bobblehead will be Literature Rosco given away on Skyward Educators Appreciation Night, June 25. Skyward Central Wisconsin Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Rebecca Sturdy of Wisconsin Rapids Grant Elementary School will be recognized prior to the game. She will not be the only guest of honor of the night. Mrs. Sturdy will be joined by NFL Hall of Famer and Packers legend Jerry Kramer.
On July 12, get the Greatest Rafter of All Time Bobblehead. During the off season, fans voted for whom they thought was the greatest Rafter over the past nine years and the winner was Dustin Woodcock. The final bobble of the year will be Aug. 2. This bobblehead will be dedicated to the very early days of Witter Field, when the stadium had a horse track, and to commemorate this, the Rafters will have a Jockey Rosco Bobblehead.
This season will feature 5 firework shows to dazzle fans. The Rafters will start off Independence Day festivities with the first fireworks show of the season on July 3. The second fireworks show will be presented by Advanced Disposal and it will include a lighted baton giveaway on July 20. The third fireworks night of the season will be July 27 and it will be presented by McCain Foods. Budweiser will be presenting the fireworks show on Aug. 3. The final postgame fireworks show will also be the last game of the regular season, Aug. 9, which will be Fan Appreciation Night.
The celebrity guest appearances start with newly inducted NFL Hall of Famer and Packers legend, Jerry Kramer coming to Witter Field on June 25. Kramer spent 10 years with the Packers. During that time he was a five-time champion, including Super Bowl I and II. As a Packer, Kramer received many individual awards such as five-time NFL All-Pro, three-time NFL Pro Bowler, named to the NFL’s all 1960’s Decade Team, Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer, and NFL Hall of Famer.
On June 26, the Hotel Mead is presenting Wrestling Night at Witter Field with an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer, “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. During his career, Jimmy Hart managed over 50 different wrestlers like Brett Hart, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan. Jimmy led many wrestlers and tag teams to championship glory.
Storming in for the third appearance of the season is former Brewers All-Star Gorman Thomas. Storming Gorman spent 11 seasons with the Brewers organization. He was part of the Brewer’s 1982 World Series team. During the 1982 season, Thomas hit 39 home runs and tied for the league lead with Reggie Jackson. Thomas had 268 homers and hit over 30 home runs five times throughout his career. Gorman Thomas will be at Witter Field on July 11. His appearance will also include a Rally Towel giveaway.
The next celebrity guest is known for having made one of the most important plays in Green Bay Packer history. His interception returned for a touchdown in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV helped give the Packers the early momentum needed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nick Collins was more than just a one-hit wonder. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, and Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer. Collins was drafted in the second round during the 2005 Draft and played his entire seven-year career with the Packers. Special guest Nick Collins will be out on July 18.
The first performance of the summer is by Inflatamaniacs presented by Aspirus Riverview Hospital and Clinics on June 30. The Inflatamaniacs have traveled the country performing in front of crowds with their four characters: Hollywood, Ice, G Money, and Munchie. The Inflatamaniacs dance, do tricks, and even have a joke or two.
Coming back for a second season, Tyler’s Amazing Balancing Act. Tyler has been featured on America’s Got Talent, ESPN, and halftime shows across the country. Give him anything and he can balance it on his face. He will be at the ballpark on Aug. 1.
The final act will be the ZOOperstars. They have been a fan favorite among Rafters fans, featuring hilarious inflatable characters with clever names such as Harry Canary, Tommy Laswordfish, Clammy Sosa, Shark McGwire, and more. The performance combines synchronized dance routines, acrobatics, tricks, and comedy for performances that connect with fans of all ages. See them at Witter Field on Aug. 8.
Jersey Auction Nights
For the 10th year, the Rafters are pulling out some unique alternate jerseys. This season will feature four jerseys. The first alternate jersey will be on Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa Military Appreciation Night on June 20. The game-worn camo jerseys will be auctioned off after the game to benefit the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.
July 23 is national Gorgeous Grandma Day and the Rafters thought what better way to commemorate the day then by playing as the Gorgeous Grandmas for a night. This jersey is inspired by the gorgeous grandmas of Wisconsin Rapids. The entire night will be geared towards feeling like you are visiting your grandparents. The jersey will be auctioned off at the end of the night.
Since it is the 10th season for the Rafters, a retro jersey would be fitting. July 30 will be Mid-State Technical College Turn Back the Clock Night. The team will be wearing jerseys based on the very first Rafters home jerseys. The jersey auction benefits will be going towards the Mid-State Foundation. Fans are also encouraged to wear red to this game.
The final jersey auction of the year will be the Thank You Fans Jersey. Fans were asked to submit pictures of themselves at Rafters games and these pictures were compiled into a jersey. The jersey auction will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Wisconsin Rapids.
Theme Nights and Giveaways
June 3 will be Bang for your Buck Monday. All hot dogs, 16oz. fountain sodas, and popcorn will be a buck. To celebrate Rosco’s 10th birthday, the first fans through the gates will receive a piece of Rosco’s birthday cake on June 5. Rosco will be joined by his local mascot friends.
The first ever Fey Printing All-Star Baseball Card Set giveaway will be held on June 9. The baseball cards are of all the former Rafters All-Stars and will be handed out prior to the game. Fey Printing will also have a 2019 Rafters Baseball Card Set giveaway on Aug. 4.
Celebrate your favorite cartoon character on June 10 by dressing up and attending Cartoon Night. Kids Day will be June 11. The game will be played at 11:35 a.m. There will be specials for seniors and kids attending the game.
Think you make the best pie in town? Well, prove it on June 17 during the Great Witter Field Pie Baking Contest.
The Rafters will hold an Outdoors Night on June 18. The Coffee Tumbler Giveaway will be June 19. This will be a coffee mug given to the first fans through the gate. Protective Services Night on July 1 will honor police, fire, paramedics, corrections, and others who perform the tasks that keep us safe. There will be a special ticket offer for all first responders that evening.
Go back in time with That’s 70’s Night and enjoy 70’s themed trivia and food specials, don’t forget to dress groovy. What better way to get through the dog days of summer than to have dogs at the ballpark. Bark in the Park day is July 10. The first fans in attendance will receive a Catch and Throw Dog Toy.
July 19 will be the Luke A. Weiland Team poster giveaway. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas with Christmas in July. The Rosco Snow globe giveaway is July 24.
United Way is sponsoring the Hunger Coalition Food Sculpture Event – United We Can on June 13. Make sure to stop out to the ballpark and vote for your favorite sculpture. In partnership with United Way along with the support of local businesses, the event was able to leverage roughly 6,000 pounds of food that were distributed to five local food programs in South Wood County the last couple years alone.
June 13th is also Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics Employee and Family Night at the ballpark. Assumption Catholic Schools Night will occur on Aug. 2 and make sure to wear blue and show off your Royals pride. On July 4, the first 250 fans that bring a non-perishable food item to the Rafters ticket office will have the chance to purchase two tickets for the price of one.
Renaissance Learning Night is slated for Aug. 1. McCain Foods Night will take place on July 27. If you enjoy French fries and deep-fried appetizers, this is the night for you.
Community Movie Night is at Witter Field on July 26 at 7:30 p.m. The Rafters will show “Everyone’s Hero.” The Rafters invite families to bring a blanket and relax in the outfield grass for the featured film.