NeveHarms Bruce Saurs, the successful local businessman and avid sports fan who saved professional hockey for our city, has been named winner of the 1990 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
Saurs' purchase of the debt-ridden Peoria Rivermen on July 1, 1989 began a success story beyond imagination that has brought the team to prominence on the Peoria sports scene. To immediately stabilize the team, Saurs signed a three-year lease with the Peoria Civic Center and a six- year affiliation with the NHL St. Louis Blues. Under his leadership, the team showed a profit in its first fiscal year of operation.
A life-long Peorian, Bruce graduated from Peoria High School where he lettered in baseball for three seasons, making two state tournament appearances. He returned to teach and coach at Peoria High after graduation from Bradley University. He was the head baseball mentor for six years, and also served as assistant in both basketball and football. From1950 to 1955 his baseball teams compiled an impressive record of 121-62, making two trips to the Illinois State High School Tournament.
In 1951, working with the late Ed Stonebock and Harold Llntz, Bruce was instrumental in helping to establish the first Little League Baseball Program in Peoria. He later followed in the footsteps of his father, the late Eddie Saurs, a 1968 Neve Harms winner, taking over as Manager of the
Cohen team in the Sunday Morning League for several seasons. He started playing A.M. ball at age 14 ending his career at age 21, when, as Bruce often states, "I built such a great team - I couldn't make it myself."
For the Peoria Rivermen, Bruce Saurs developed a marketing plan geared to good hockey, entertainment, and a family audience. The club drew a franchise record 190,000, and drew praise from League Commissioner Tom Berry.
So far, the 1990-1991 season has been an even bigger success story, highlighted by the 18-game winning streak that gave the Rivermen the longest winning streak in Professional Hockey history, while bringing to Peoria national media attention.
Bruce Saurs, the successful local businessman and avid sports fan who saved professional hockey for our city, has been named winner of the 1990 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
|Jerry & Elaine Reibling|
For four decades Jerry and Elaine have volunteered their time and effort to benefit the runners competing in events within the Tri-County. Just prior to Jerry’s induction into the Steamboat Classic Hall of Fame in 2015, the race’s co-founder, Steve Shostrom said, “Jerry and Elaine are treasures in the running community. They have made substantial, lasting contributions to the Steamboat Classic and the Illinois Valley Striders over the years. They have worked tirelessly at countless local races through heat, rain, ice, snow and wind to get quick, accurate results for runners of all ages and abilities." Jerry was involved with the Steamboat Classic for 35 years and Elaine has been a part of the Race for the Cure for about 30 years. Married over 50 years, the Rieblings helped pioneer the transformation from hand timing to computerized timing for the major running events in the Tri-County area. In addition to the Steamboat Classic and Race for the Cure, they have served at the following events over their decades of service: the IHSA State Cross Country Meet; Illinois Valley Striders events; countless high school invitationals including the Richard Spring Memorial Invitational (Peoria Notre Dame) and the Peoria High Invitational at Detweiler Park; and Bradley University and the University of Illinois cross country meets and invitationals. Jerry has also raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by participating in the Memphis to Peoria Run and running the satellite event from Canton to Peoria. The dedication and passion of Jerry and Elaine for these events has enabled thousands of others to experience achievement and enjoyment while competing in running events.