Revamped opening ceremonies begin this year’s Iowa Games

Team made up of people from all different areas of Iowa compete in the Iowa Games Ultimate Frisbee tournament on Saturday, July 7, at the South East Athletic Fields east of Jake Trice Stadium. Iowa Games consists of many different sports, and the competitions take place in Ames each summer.

Stephen Koenigsfeld

After celebrating the 25th year of the Iowa Games, executives quickly turned around and started planning for this year’s 26th annual events. 

Cory Kennedy, marketing and communications director for the Iowa Games, said that after each year of the Iowa Games, they congratulate themselves on the hard work and start planning for the next year.

“It’s a year round planning process,” Kennedy said. “Once the games wrap up in July, we’ll meet, have wrap-up meetings and then we begin planning for the next year.”

Each year, the Iowa Games — made up of 77 events this summer — is put together by a staff of nine individuals. Kennedy said the games rely heavily on volunteers.

“Everybody from our sport directors to our umpires and referees are volunteers,” Kennedy said. “Then we just have general volunteers that check in and a trucking crew. Every summer games there’s anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 volunteers.”

Clarence Hudson, executive director of the Iowa Games, said he is ecstatic about what they have planned for the Iowa Games this year — especially the opening ceremonies.

“We’re going to have a lot fun,” Hudson said. “It’s going to be a tremendous event.”

This year, the opening ceremonies will be in the parking lots east of Jack Trice Stadium, different from years past when the ceremonies were within the stadium.

Also new to the opening ceremonies this year will be the field of champions. Hudson said this is where athletes will get to see how the state of Iowa athletics and Iowa farming combine with each other.

However, Hudson said the main attraction would arguably be the newest addition of a band. The Iowa Games will host two country artists during the opening ceremonies.

What makes the executives at the Iowa Games is the fact they’ve participated in the games themselves before.

“I participated when I was younger,” Kennedy said. “I played baseball, and I also coached baseball.”

Hudson said there’s always one key item that keeps athletes coming back for more.

“What make the games so great are the people of Ames welcome the games. And not only do they welcome the games, but they truly get involved,” Hudson said. “It’s the perfect setting for the games.”