Iowa Games to celebrate 15th year of amateur competition

Emily Arthur and Danielle Kerwin

More than 12,000 amateur athletes are expected to visit Ames this weekend for the 15th anniversary of the Iowa Games.

The games are designed for amateur athletes of all ages and will start on Friday and run through Sunday.

All residents of Iowa are invited to participate in the Olympic-style events, which include such sports as basketball, archery, fencing and many others.

The Iowa Games will begin with the annual Torch Run in Des Moines at noon on Friday.

Des Moines Mayor Preston Daniels is expected to lend a hand in the festivities.

The Torch Run will travel north on Highway 69 to Ames, eventually meeting its destination at Lot B-6 of the Iowa State Center.

The torch is scheduled to arrive at approximately 6 p.m.

As the torch is arriving in town, Finals Fest will be going on in Lot B-6.

Finals Fest will run from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will include a 22-foot slide, food, music and more. The fest is free to the public.

There will also be a pizza party sponsored by Domino’s from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with a nominal fee to take part.

The Opening Ceremonies will end Friday night with festivities beginning at 8 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium.

Head women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly will be the featured speaker at the Opening Ceremonies.

The ceremonies will also feature a parade of athletes, oath of athletes, oath of parents, lighting of the cauldron, additional entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display.

Saturday activities will end with Family Night.

Family Night is a night of fun for the whole family, including a teen dance, an adult dance, a family game area and the showing of a Walt Disney movie.

Free admission is being offered for Family Night.

Executive Director of the Iowa Games Jim Hallihan said that, as well as being participants in the games, ISU students also have other options.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to volunteer,” said Hallihan.

“It’s of competitive nature and requires over thousands of volunteers. If we can get more volunteers, it would really help a lot.”

Volunteer Coordinator Jan Williams said that there is still time for those interested to volunteer.

“We need a lot more than we get,” Williams said.

“If we could get some more volunteers, it would really help. All volunteers get a T-shirt. They can volunteer for as little as four hours or as much as two days.”

The Iowa Games are run in conjunction with the Iowa Sports Foundation, Inc. and are endorsed by the Iowa Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Iowa Association of Health, Physical Eduction, Recreation, and Dance and the Iowa Park and Recreation Association.

The Games are also recognized as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“The Iowa Games is an annual sports, Olympic-style festival,” Hallihan said.

“It was modeled after the Olympics so that everyday athletes could participate.”

Hallihan said that one main feature of the Games is the wide array of sporting events and the other activities offered.

“You name it, we got it,” he said.

“We have a torch run. We have 40 sports, unbelievable age groups within a sport and you complete against people of your own age and your own ability.”

Hallihan said the Iowa Games strives to promote certain developments in character.

“What we’ve tried to do as the event has grown is to promote sportsmanship, character building and citizenship through participation in sports, while all the way having fun,” he said.

Iowa Games Chair of Information Dorothy Schumer said that it should be a great event for Ames.

“It’s a nice family activity,” she said.

“It brings everybody together.”

People still wishing to compete in the Games may still have a chance to do so.

Disc golf, 3D archery, canoe/kayak, judo, road race, tae kwon do, adult doubles tennis, volksride and volkswalk all accept on-site entries.