The Fighting Bee Golf Classic has raised $165,000 for SAU athletic programs since 2010. Donors such as Steve Layer, founder of Rock Valley Physical Therapy, make that happen.
Rock Valley connects with St. Ambrose on many levels.
Layer began RVPT in 1984 at the same time Mark Levsen founded his practice, Blackhawk Orthopaedic Sports and Physical Therapy.
"We merged within three months of opening," Layer recalled. "It was something we discussed over burgers and beers. We used his office and my name. We had common goals of patient care and how we think physical therapy should be provided."
At the time, they mentored University of Iowa students. One of the first was Kevin Farrell '84, PhD.
Levsen and Farrell now teach at Ambrose, while Layer is a member of the PT Department's advisory board. RVPT also employed Dean Beauchamp before he joined the Bees as head athletic trainer.
"It was a natural transition for us to be with the Athletic Department," Layer said.
Rock Valley also stays active with the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at St. Ambrose. Program director Michael Puthoff, PT, PhD, said Rock Valley therapists serve as guest instructors and mentor doctoral students in the clinics. Rock Valley is one of the top placement sites for student clinical rotations and also ranks among the top employers for program graduates.
Beyond those hands-on academic connections, the support for the Fighting Bee Golf Classic provided by Rock Valley and other donors and participants benefits the nearly 800 Fighting Bee student-athletes.
Athletic Director Ray Shovlain said the golf outing also is a way to thank the businesses St. Ambrose works with throughout the year. He said the original golf day started as a small gathering.
"Coaches cooked brats and hamburgers," he said. "Just a total thank you."
Shovlain golfed the first few years, but he now picks a tee box and thanks everyone in person as they play through.
"The money raised goes to a whole host of things that benefit virtually all of our sports," Shovlain said. "It complements the different things we do to help the university accomplish projects-improvements to the Ambrose Dome, the weight room, the Lee Lohman scoreboard."
The 20th anniversary Fighting Bee Classic will take place Friday, May 30 at Emeis Golf Course in Davenport.
Other major sponsors for the event include Burlington Trailways, ORA Orthopedics, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, Ryan & Associates, Davenport Electric Contract Company and Hornbuckle Heating & Air Conditioning.
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