2021 U of O Winter Games Chairs Announced!

Announcing the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games Chair and Co-Chair!
The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the Chair & Co-Chair of the 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games scheduled for January 28-31, 2021.

The Chair of the 41st Annual Winter Games is John Hight. John is a civil engineer for Beck Engineering, Inc in Spirit Lake. John, his wife Jaclyn, and two sons reside in Spirit Lake. John is a 2005 graduate of Spirit Lake High school, and is always looking for ways to give back to the community that he grew up in.

He is a board member and past president of Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis. John has spent time volunteer coaching youth football and wrestling, and often speaks to middle school and high school students about the importance of STEM professions. When John isn’t busy working or volunteering, he loves spending time with family and socializing with friends while enjoying everything the Iowa Great Lakes has to offer.

Over the years, John has been active in Winter Games in various ways. He has been a spectator, participant, volunteer, was elected as a cheerleader in 2018, co-chair in 2020, and is now looking forward to being chair. He is excited to represent this great community, the IGLA Chamber, and the University of Okoboji in the upcoming 41st edition of this amazing event!

Co-Chair this year 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 41st Winter Games!

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

To get involved in the University of Okoboji Winter Games, please contact Kiley Zankowski at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber: kiley@okobojichamber.com or 712-332-2107.

The WG41 Logo Is Here!

Can you believe we are only 5 months away from the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games?! We hope you are all as excited as we are!

2020 has been…well, a year, let’s just leave it at that…so we are more ready than ever to kick off the 2021 Winter Games fun! What better way to get started than with a brand spanking new logo!

Inspired by an 80’s/Retro theme, our very own Communications Coordinator, Andrea McMahon, designed this bright, fun and energetic logo in collaboration with local designer Jacob Polaschek, to help kick off another amazing Winter Games season. Check it out below!

And remember to mark your calendars (as if you haven’t already) for January 28-31, 2021 and visit www.uofowintergames.com for more information and to sign up for our newsletter!

Winter Games 2020 Polar Plunge Check Presented

Winter Games 2020 Polar Plunge Check Presented

 

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and event sponsor Okoboji Motor Company were thrilled to present a check from the proceeds of the Winter Games 40 Polar Plunge to the Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire & Rescue. The $1,939.00 check was made possible due to the 142 brave individuals who took the plunge into the frigid waters of West Lake Okoboji on January 25, 2020.

 

The 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games are scheduled for January 28-31, 2021 and be sure to visit www.uofowintergames.com for updates and information on how you can get involved in the frigid family fun.

 

Winter Games Bean Bag Tournament Check Presentation

Winter Games Bean Bag Tournament Check Presented

 

Another fantastic cause benefitting from the U of O Winter Games! Parks Marina’s Millisa Reynolds, IGLACC Kiley Zankowski & Blain Andera, & Bean Bag Co-Chairs Joe & Ann Meyer presented the Okoboji Fine Arts (vocal teacher Erin Chappas, instrumental teacher Ryan Middleton, & Okoboji Fine Arts President Deb Clark) with a check for $1,641.00 raised during the 40th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games Bean Bag Tournament held on Saturday, January 25, 2020 on West Lake Okoboji in front of The Gardens.

 

Sixty-four 2-person teams competed in this fun-filled tourney raising funds for the amazing Okoboji Fine Arts Programs. Thank you to Joe and Ann Meyer, Parks Marina, and the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce for making this tournament a reality.

 

The 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games are scheduled for January 28-31, 2021 and be sure to visit www.uofowintergames.com for updates and information on how you can get involved in the frigid family fun.

Winter Games 41 & 42 Concept Contest – Now Open!

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring, but winter is still on our minds at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber. After an awesome 40th year celebration, we are anxiously looking ahead to the 41st and 42nd Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games. The Winter Games Committee is seeking design concept ideas for the upcoming games scheduled for January 28-31, 2021 and January 27-30, 2022. The design concept will be utilized on all Winter Games merchandise as well as print advertising, entry forms, social media, mailings, and website promotions.

 

Design Concepts should be:

  • easily screen printed and embroidered
  • in a high-resolution JPG or EPS format
  • gender neutral
  • no more than three colors
  • submitted to kiley@okobojichamber.com by March 10th, 2020 at 5 PM for consideration

 

The concept contest creates an opportunity to showcase and utilize locals and their talents, showcase their vision of this community event, and provides heightened exposure for the designer whose logo is selected. If necessary, the final concept logo will be polished by a professional graphic artist.

 

To view past Winter Games design concepts, visit www.uofowintergames.com/history.  The winner will be selected by the U of O Winter Games Committee and will be announced with recognition and receive $50 in Chamber Bucks and two articles of U of O Winter Games apparel of their choice from their logo design year.

 

Please contact Kiley Zankowski at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber with any questions or with design submissions.

Tournament Results

2020 U of O Winter Games Results

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

Men – Mason Kruger

Women – Janice Nitch

 

Battle of the Bartenders:

Raised almost $10,000 for three charities!

1st Place: Elly Schmitz with Johnny’s Pub Charity: Braedyn Johnson Family

2nd Place: Morgan Strauss with Okoboji Boat Works Marina Charity: Andera Family

3rd Place: Katt Flockhart with Outback Lounge Charity: Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire & Rescue

 

Bean Bag Toss Tournament sponsored by The Gardens:

1st: I’m the Captain Now

2nd: Toad

3rd: ANF&W

4th: Team Gumbo

Consolation Winner: Free B’s

Consolation Runner-up: Global Gym

 

Bowling Tournament:

1st: Business Today 3

2nd: In Your Split

3rd: Packerbush

 

Broomball sponsored by MHR Insurance:

1st: New Ulm Broomball

2nd: Sweeping Beauties

3rd: Rabbits on Ice

 

Chess Tournament: 

Adult Section

1st: Elias Matthews – Sioux Center

2nd: Jodene Kruse – Sibley

3rd: Ralf Kloeckner – Chicago

 

K – 5th Section

1st: Gideon Matthews – Sioux Center

2nd: Titus Matthews – Siou Center

3rd: Calliope Matthews – Sioux Center

 

6th – 12th Section

1st: Aarya Lolap

2nd: Damien Leckband – Ocheyedan

3rd: Patrick Fiebig – Lake Park

 

Chili Cook-off sponsored by Oak Hill Marina:

Best Business/Overall Winner: Ruthven Meat Locker

Best Non-profit: Ingham Bible Camp

Best Booth: Okobojibbq.com

 

Chocolate Classic sponsored by Ingvall Real Estate Team:

1st: Mary Abbott

2nd: Creative Cakes by Mindy Troung

3rd: Painted Ladies & Damsel in Defense

 

Cribbage Tournament:

1st: Tiffany Mulligan

2nd: Boe Winey

3rd: Bradley Breon

 

Flag Football sponsored by Parks Marina:

1st: Dry Dock Dragons

2nd: The Revolution

3rd: Ash Creek Assassins

 

Freaky Fast 5K Fun Run sponsored by Jimmy John’s: 

Overall Men under 40 – Tommy Thelen

Overall Men 41+ – Adam Osher

Overall Women under 40 – Erin Bone

Overall Women 41+ – Angela Olson

2020 Full Timed Results

 

Hammerschlagen Tournament sponsored by The Dry Dock:

1st: Patrick Boggess

2nd: Jeremy Rogers

3rd: Skymer Bevelhymer

4th: Steve Blom

 

Ping Pong Tournament: 

Ages 12 & Under

1st: Keegan Reuter

2nd: Zach Neider

3rd: Titus Coates

 

Ages 13-17

1st: Roman Coates

2nd: Caleb Frostestad

3rd: Caleb Reuter

 

Adults (18+)

1st: Brent Coates

2nd: Jeremy Niemeyer

3rd: Jaden Reuter

 

Polar Plunge sponsored by Okoboji Motor Company:

142 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: Snot Sickles

2nd: Fighting Iowish

3rd: Freezing Our Softballs Off

Winter Games Cheerleaders 2020: THE VOTES ARE IN!

After collecting nominations for all of December and holding a community-wide voting on January 2nd, the Winter Games Committee has officially tallied up the votes! We now present to you the 2019 University of Okoboji Winter Games Cheerleaders!

Andrew Fisher

Andrew has worked for the Bedell Family YMCA and Camp Foster for over 12 years. During his time there he has created new outreach programs that serve a population that might not otherwise have use of the facility. He is a Board Member of the Iowa Great Lakes Rotary, a member of the Priority One Community Coalition, Healthy Hometown Coalition, Co-Chair of the North Area Iowa Special Olympics, former Kinship Mentor, former volunteer youth sports coach and is a volunteer for countless sporting events for area high schools. Andrew works on a daily basis to advocate for the area and its citizens. He is currently leading a YMCA Visionary Committee to ensure the YMCA is around for current and future generations.

Deb Heidebrink

Deb spends an enormous amount of time beyond her “paid” job at Grace Lutheran Church. She delivers Meals on Wheels, provides encouragement to the Forrest Ridge students, encourages our youth in volunteerism. One sees Deb at a variety of Spirit Lake High School events. She volunteers during the basketball season doing the books as well as volleyball season. She cheers on the other sports teams by attending. Deb also is at the elementary during lunch time weekly making connections with kids. Deb is a well-known citizen of the Spirit Lake area giving her time, resources, and love to promote the Okoboji area.

Jodi Lange

Jodi is one of a kind. She is always willing to help anyone with anything. She is involved not only with the Spirit Lake Chamber of Commerce, serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors and is also a Past-Chair of the board. She is also very active in her church. In addition to these she raises money and walks for March of Dimes, which is very near and dear to her heart.

Andy Lux

Andy is already a strong cheerleader/supporter of the Lakes region. Andy is currently serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and is active in chamber events. He was a long-time board member of the YMCA and served as Board President. Andy has served on the Board of Trustees of his church and is the first to volunteer for anything.

Paul Plumb

Take a look around at most any event here at the Lakes and you’re sure to see Paul Plumb! He is an energetic supporter of all things “OKOBOJI”! He is generous with his time, serving on Boards, such as the Chamber. He has an ever-ready smile and cheerful attitude, welcoming all to the Park! If you’ve had the opportunity to work with him on an event, you know how committed he is to make sure your “OKOBOJI” experience is a true memory maker!! It’s people like Paul that really enhance the quality of life in the Iowa Great Lakes! He’s been cheering and supporting the area for years.

John M. Sandy

John M. Sandy believes in our community and loves to support this community. He is a Spirit Lake High School graduate and he certainly loves to support the Spirit Lake Schools. John has a phenomenally loud voice and he can inspire anyone to succeed. He inspires his family and friends with his passion for this town and for life. He allows both Spirit Lake and Okoboji High School students to job shadow him to allow the students to determine if becoming a lawyer is something that they are truly interested in. John M. is a dedicated father and family man. He is the right cheerleader for the Winter Games as his personality is contagious and so is his laughter.

Jeff & Megan Vierkant

Megan is the most enthusiastic everyday cheerleader for O. She supports the concerts, events, and all the area has to offer. As a Special Olympics athlete, she represents the Lakes area through Hope Haven in bowling, basketball, track and field, and cycling. Megan has competed in the Miss Amazing pageant for 6 years and represented the State of Iowa as Miss Amazing Teen in 2017 and at Nationals in Chicago August 2017. Megan’s enthusiasm and smile are contagious – a genuine cheerleader.

Jeff is Megan’s number one fan, her transportation, and her dad. Jeff is the CEO of Historic Arnolds Park, INC. – what’s more “Okoboji” than Arnolds Park Amusement Park? Jeff has served on the YMCA board and continues to be a cheerleader for his three daughters in all their endeavors. His love for the area is evident in his work to improve the Park and his drive to bring people and business into the area.

Winter Games Cheerleader Nominations Sought

Snow-Place-Like-Okoboji---Cheerleaders

In the true spirit of community fun and recognition, the University of Okoboji Winter Games Committee is giving the public the opportunity to nominate a man or woman to serve as a 2020 University of Okoboji Winter Games cheerleader.  Nominees must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of Dickinson County.

Each nominee should exhibit:

  • a ready smile, generous heart and good nature
  • an enthusiasm for all that our University of Okoboji campus has to offer and
  • a sincere desire to give their time and talent to enhance the quality of life in the Iowa Great Lakes Area

Eight selected cheerleaders will cheer, cheer, cheer for O-K-O-B-O-J-I during the 40th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games presented by GrapeTree Medical Staffing on January 23-26, 2020. Voting for the cheerleaders will be from 9 AM – 6 PM on Thursday, January 2nd in the office of the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 565 S Hwy 71 – Suite 4 in Arnolds Park. No phone, email or online votes will be accepted.

Nomination forms are available at www.uofowintergames.com under the “Cheerleader” tab or at the Chamber office in Arnolds Park. The deadline for nomination forms is at 5 PM on December 31st, 2019. For more information contact the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-332-2107.

Winter Games 40 Registration Open!

Great news for all our Winter Games fanatics, REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

Winter Games 40 is just over two months away, and spots fill up quickly! Visit www.uofowintergames.com/event-registration-information to get signed up for all your favorite events.

We know things get busy during the holiday season, so we want to help make your lives a little easier. Online registration is available for your complete convenience, and it will help ensure that your spot is immediately reserved for your desired event from Broomball to the Bean Bag Toss Tournament.

If you are interested in getting involved with Winter Games and hosting a new event, visit www.uofowintergames.com/calendar to fill out the event form. The deadline is January 10th. Remember to take a peek at our selection of apparel and merchandise while you are here as well!

For more information on the 40th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games, contact Kiley at 712-332-2107 or kiley@okobojichamber.com. We can’t wait for another great year of Winter Games!

OFFICIAL University of Okoboji Winter Games Beer!

We’ve been brewing up this secret for far too long..

We are so excited to introduce to you the Official University of Okoboji Winter Games beer! West O Beer has created CōZY, a delicious Lager with Blackberry, for you to enjoy leading up to and during the games. You can find CōZY both on tap and in 6-pack cans starting Friday, Oct. 25 in the West O tasting room in Okoboji. Look for it throughout their distribution area in the weeks to follow!

#awesomewaterawesomebeer