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Iowa Summer Games concludes after eight days of competition

Perfect+Games+hosted+the+bowling+portion+of+Iowa+Summer+Games.
Nicole Hasek
Perfect Games hosted the bowling portion of Iowa Summer Games.

Athletes of all ages competed in the annual Summer Iowa Games, which started on July 8. The eight-day event concluded at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Participants competed in over 40 sports, including soccer, taekwondo, fencing, archery, track and field and horseshoes. This year saw over 8,000 athletes, ranging from three to 89, showing large growth from the 16 sports and 7,000 athletes the games started with in 1987.

Youth soccer teams high-five after a game during the Iowa Summer Games.

“We provide sports and recreation opportunities for all Iowans through these Olympic style festivals,” said Cory Kennedy, marketing director for the Iowa Sports Foundation. “We just really want to get everybody out and keep people active through sports and events that we offer.”

Kennedy said the games take around a year to plan, starting with participant surveys, talking with volunteers and finding facilities to see which sports to include. With Iowa State University being a sponsor, they often hold events in State Gym, Lied Recreation Center, Beyer Hall and other locations on and around campus.

Swimmers competed at Beyer Pool during the Iowa Summer Games.

This is the third year wrestling has been back on the schedule after their decade-long break from the sport, due to a lack of volunteers able to run the tournament. Each sport relies on a sports director, a volunteer who shows passion and familiarity with the sport. Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser worked with (name) to get wrestling back into the games.

“Being in Iowa, wrestling is a pretty big sport and we felt like we needed it back,” Kennedy said.

Pickleball, which is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, is also continuing to grow in the Summer Iowa Games.

“Now there’s pickleball courts all over the place, whether they’re indoor or outdoor, and that’s what really continues to grow,” Kennedy said.

Taekwondo took place in Lied Recreation Center during the Iowa Summer Games.

Best friends Emily Ditto and Amanda Block traveled from Denison, Iowa to compete tournament-style with other bowlers from around the state.

“You get this rush in you—you get ready to go—and it makes you really want to do good,” Ditto said.

The pair were sporting silver and bronze medals, getting ready for their final competition of the games Sunday. Bowling was the final sport of the Summer Iowa Games, concluding the event at Perfect Games.

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