And the 2022 cheerleaders are..

Introducing your 2022 Winter Games Cheerleaders!

After collecting nominations for all of December and holding a community-wide voting on January 4th & 5th, the Winter Games Committee has officially tallied up the votes! We now present to you the 2022 University of Okoboji Winter Games Cheerleaders! 

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 10.15.17 AM

Nick Christensen

Nick is an insurance agent at Bank Midwest and the current Club President of the Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis Club. Nick grew up spending his summers in the Lakes area with his parents and grandparents.  He moved here permanently when he graduated from college.  He has become a very active member of the community and has a great love of everything "Okoboji”. 

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 11.02.18 AM

Paul Heidebrink

Many of you may know Paul as your FedEx man! Paul loves the Lakes Area! He is so proud of his hometown and always wants to show it off. He cares about everyone and wants everyone to get their packages safely!


Leah Hilpipre

Leah is a Realtor at Exit Realty Midwest - Spirit Lake. She is a local girl and a Spirit Lake graduate. She is on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Great Lakes Board of Realtors. She has such a good personality and a ton of energy.


Kaylene Jackson

Kaylene has spent over 30 years supporting this area. She was a worked for Okoboji GM Toyota for almost 30 years and now works from home for General Motors. Kaylene grew up in Dickinson County and graduated from Terril schools. She is a great person, loves life and loves the lakes area


Jimy Mac Lenz

Jimy Mac is a realtor at Hinn Real Estate. If you're with Jimy Mac, you cannot get far in Arnolds Park, Okoboji or Spirit Lake without someone yelling, "Hey Jimy!!". Jimy is well-know around the lakes area as the DJ on "The Shack". To know Jimy is to love him. He's kind, outgoing, full of spunk and loves everything Okoboji! 

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 10.14.10 AM

Rory Marra

Rory has been employed for the Okoboji Community School District for 19 years.  He coaches junior high girls and boys basketball, junior high football, and varsity baseball. Building relationships with students that he teaches and coaches is what separates him from many.  He cares for our youth and shares his passion with them. Rory represents O.K.O.B.O.J.I in so many ways.  His love for the Iowa Great lakes is immeasurable.  In high school he started working at Arnolds Park before transferring to Manhattan Beach for a stint.  After working there he went back to Arnolds Park and started working on the Queen II as a crew member.  Eventually earning ranks as a Captain.  Being a captain is truly one of his passions.  So when you hear the Queen II horn or see him waving...know he is in his element. 


Tyler Pedersen

Tyler is a band director at Spirit Lake High School. Tyler's marching, concert, and jazz bands are successful at competitions and his students display positive behavior at their performances.  It is such a beautiful reflection of the Iowa Great Lakes area. He goes above and beyond the school day to improve himself and the education of those in his classrooms. 

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 10.13.56 AM

Yvonne Taylor

Yvonne has been a tireless cheerleader for many activities in our community, including her years of dedication to our Dickinson County Trails Board, Pearson Lakes Art Center Board, as well as a coach for many children's sports and activities. Yvonne represents the spirit of our community and is always there to volunteer her time to help facilitate the success of any project she dedicates herself to.

2022 Winter Games apparel is NOW AVAILABLE!

Winter Games Branded Posts 2022-7

Winter Games apparel is in and ready for you!

Purchase your gear today in store at the IGLA Chamber office (565 S Hwy 71, Ste 4 - Arnolds Park, IA 51331) or under the Shop tab! We have a variety of items - wearable blankets, beanies, crewneck sweatshirts, long sleeve t-shirts, quarter-zips and more!

This Year’s Presenting Sponsor

2022 WG Sponsors FB-2
We're happy to announce that this year's presenting sponsor for the University of Okoboji Winter Games is - GrapeTree Medical Staffing!
This is the 4th year in a row that we have had GrapeTree as a partner and we can't wait to see what another year of Winter Games brings!

Registration is NOW OPEN!

Winter Games Branded Posts 2022-3


It's the beginning of November and you know what that means... registration for certain Winter Games events are NOW OPEN! Don't miss out on the 5k Fun Run, Bean Bag Toss, Broomball, Softball, Keg Toss, Hammerschlagen, Human Foosball and SO much more this year!

*Not all events are open for registration, but will continuously open up in the coming weeks.



Get to Know your Chair & Co-Chair!

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the Chair & Co-Chair of the 42nd Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games scheduled for January 27-30, 2022.

The Chair of the 42nd Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games is Dr. Mara Groom. Dr. Groom is a family medicine physician at Lakes Regional Healthcare. She made the lakes area her home 5 years ago and after growing up in a military family she couldn’t imagine finding a better community to lay down roots. Dr. Groom was president of Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis club for the 2019-2020 term. She enjoys talking to high school and college students about careers in health care. She is on the board of the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians.

She and her significant other Cale live in Milford with their dogs, Stella and Otis. When she isn’t busy delivering babies and caring for patients, she enjoys all the amenities that the Iowa Great Lakes has to offer. Mara has enjoyed Winter Games every year since moving here and is a past Keg Toss champion! She is excited to represent the community, the IGL Chamber, and the University of Okoboji in the 42nd Winter Games!

Co-chair this year is Michael Meyers. Michael is the City Administrator for the City of Okoboji. Michael, his wife Paige, and their two children moved to Spirit Lake in January 2018 from Omaha, Nebraska. Michael’s children, Landon, age 8, will start the second grade and Saylor, age 4, will join her brother as a preschooler at Spirit Lake Elementary School this fall. The Meyers family truly appreciates the people and places of the Iowa Great Lakes community and everything that the region offers.

Michael is a member of Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis, a board member of the Lakes Area Hockey Association, a member of the Iowa League of Cities, a member of the Iowa City/County Management Association and a member of Engaging Local Government Leaders. The Meyers family is also supportive and active in other local organizations such as Keep Okoboji Blue, the Okoboji Yacht Club Sailing Center, the Bedell Family YMCA, and the annual Cattleman’s Regatta.

In 2020 Michael was elected to be a cheerleader for Winter Games 41 and very much looks forward to once again being a part of this great event. He believes that Winter Games is a phenomenal event that gives opportunity for our communities and businesses to show off what winter is all about in Okoboji! Michael appreciates to opportunity to represent the Iowa Great Lakes community, the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce and the University of Okoboji.

Mara and Michael are looking forward to the preparation ahead for our awesome winter tradition, and they are ready to make this year the best yet!

2021 Bean Bag Check Presentation

Another fantastic cause benefitting from the U of O Winter Games! The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber along with the Bean Bag Tournament Chair Joe Meyer presented the Mary Weaver of the Milford Pioneers 4H Club with a check for $1,671.00. Funds were raised during the 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games Bean Bag Tournament held on Saturday, January 30, 2021 on West Lake Okoboji in front of The Gardens.

Sixty-four 2-person teams competed in this fun-filled tournament raising funds for the local 4H club and their annual projects. Thank you to Joe and Ann Meyer for their years of dedication to this wonderful event.

The 42nd Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games are scheduled for January 27-30, 2022. Mark your calendars and be sure to visit for updates and information on how you can get involved in the frigid family fun.

Winter Games 2021 Bean Bag Tournament Check Presented

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce was thrilled to present a check from the proceeds of the Winter Games 41 Bean Bag Toss Tournament to the Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire & Rescue. The $2,110.50 check was made possible due to the 150+ brave individuals who took the plunge into the frigid waters of West Lake Okoboji on January 30, 2021. Okoboji Motor Company presented an additional donation of $5,300.00.

The 42nd Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games are scheduled for January 27-30, 2022. Mark your calendars and be sure to visit for updates and information on how you can get involved in the frigid family fun.

The Results Are In!

2021 Winter Games Results

Axe Throwing – 10 for 10 Tournament at The Throwing Post: 

Men – Adam Thompson                   Women – Becca Schnorr


 Bean Bag Toss Tournament sponsored by The Gardens:

1st: I’m the Captain Now

2nd: Team Boopz

3rd: Nasty Nuts

4th: Pac Bingo

Consolation Winner: Damnit Dave              Consolation Runner-up: Little Sacks


Bowling Tournament:

1st: No More 96's: Mike S, Sam V, Matt R, Bre P

2nd: Business Today

3rd: Johnny B's


Broomball sponsored by MHR Insurance: 

1st: Rabbits On Ice

2nd: New Ulm Broomball

3rd: West O/Kraninger Construction


Flag Football sponsored by Parks Marina:

1st: Dry Dock Dragons

2nd: Birthday Club

3rd: Ash Creek Assassins


Hammerschlagen Tournament sponsored by The Dry Dock:

1st: Lexi

2nd: Cooper

3rd: Trace Villbrandt

4th: Alison Blum


Polar Plunge sponsored by Okoboji Motor Company:

Over 150 plungers dove into the icy waters of West Lake raising funds that benefit the Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire & Rescue.


Snow Softball sponsored by The Ritz: 

1st: Round 3

2nd: Fighting Iowish

3rd: Shed Burners