The Votes are In!

Introducing your 2021 Winter Games Cheerleaders!

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Jack Bauermeister

Captain Jack is the best bartender in Boji. He has nice slick hair and great charm. Always serving the community with a smile.
Maggie

Maggie Fliss

Outstanding member of the community, loving single mother, and a home health care hospice nurse. She is the epitome of Iowa strong!
Brock

Brock Holman

Brock Holman is the epitome of a Winter Game Cheerleader. Brock is a lifelong resident of the lakes region graduating from Okoboji High School. Even at this young age Brock was known to his school family as a volunteer and leader and as such was nominated to Hugh O’Briisn Youth Leadership (HOBY). The mission of this group is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. As Brock continued his education at the University of Northern Iowa he served as a youth ambassador for this organization. I met Brock as a coworker. It was not long that I really experienced what was truly in his heart. It were the students he worked with. He tutored the students, empathized with their trials, and was constantly their cheerleader to find success in life. He volunteered at their event because it would make them better. His next venture brought Brock to Grape Tree Medical Staffing. As he makes his daily calls, he has been known to be the most respectful and caring. His contagious smile can be felt even through those calls. He has been recognized by his bosses several times. Through this job Brock has continued his leadership and volunteerism quietly - never taking credit but giving credit to the people of the Lakes region. A few activities Brock has taken part include: Meals on Wheels, Upper Des Moines, Good News Community Church, GrapeTree Halloween party (even soliciting friends to get dollars for a bigger ad in the Lakes News Shopper), special celebrations for people in our community. Brock is very deserving of this honor. He celebrates OKOBOJI here and throughout his travels.
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Nancy Kriener

As Spirit Lake Elementary School’s instructional coach, Nancy is our (the teachers) biggest cheerleader. Whether we are in need of a small confidence boost or huge assistance as we plan curriculum, Nancy is all about teamwork and compassion. She is willing to help everyone and anyone with a kind smile on her face. Also, Nancy loves the Lakes Area and all it has to offer throughout the four seasons. Rain, snow, or shine, Nancy always finds a way to have a great day! She is definitely the kind of person who represents the pot of gold you find at the end of the rainbow.
Michael Meyers

Michael Meyers

Michael will make a fantastic cheerleader for our upcoming winter games. as City Administrator of Okoboji for the past 3 years, Michael and his family have wholeheartedly embraced the Okoboji area. Michael is active in Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis and he is also a board member of the Lakes Area Hockey Association. In the past year Michael has worked with the pickleball non profit group and established the new pickleball courts in Speier park. In addition he played a VITAL role the development of our East Lake Park playground.
Jon Pausley

Jon Pausley

Jon is the Executive Director of the Okoboji Bible Conference Ministries and through his service has provided many opportunities to our area! He has a passion for what he does and emulates what OBCM stands for, "to activate all to be better together to accomplish as much good as possible". He and his wife, Shantel, Executive Director at Cherish Center, have 3 children and are very involved in the area. Jon demonstrates enthusiasm, a ready smile, energy, a generous heart, and good natured fun!
Ryan Schmidt

Ryan Schmidt

Ryan is the manager of Kemna Okoboji Motor and is very active in the lakes area. Ryan has been actively involved in making our communities great for years. He served as a RAGBRAI Committee Co-Chair when they overnighted in Okoboji, is active in Kiwanis, Chamber Events and as a parent in recent Okoboji School referendums. His positive attitude even in challenging circumstances is an inspiration to all he comes in contact with.
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Jason Schneider

Jason is an extremely devoted teacher at SLMS. He has been in charge of many of the winning cheer groups in the Annual Homecoming Cheer competition. He has such a wonderful, positive energy that brings everyone in. I believe Jason would be a great Winter Games cheerleader because he has the most generous heart, positive attitude and all around great guy. Jason is going on 14 years as a science teacher at Spirit Lake middle school. He has dedicated a lot of his time as a coach at the middle school and high school level, ranging from girls and boys MS basketball, MS girls volleyball, HS tennis and HS softball. He was the head HS baseball coach for about 10 years and brought the team from a below 500 record to an amazing program with an appearance at State. His passion and love for his job as a teacher/coach is inspiring, he absolutely loves what he does and being apart of the Spirit Lake community.

And the Nominees Are..

The 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games Cheerleader Nominees are in!

Please read the nomination testimonies below on the 2021 Nominees listed in alphabetical order by last name. Once you've selected your top 8, make sure to cast your vote by the end of day on Monday, January 11th!

Merv & Mary Kay Bates

Merv has built many homes in the area and helped build the Queens interior when first launched in the 80’s. Mary Kay has led many of our community assets and served on the Lakes regional Hospital Board for years. They are community minded and would represent well!

Jack Bauermeister

Captain Jack is the best bartender in Boji. He has nice slick hair and great charm. Always serving the community with a smile.

Kaitlin Catlin

She was raised in the Iowa Great Lakes since age 3 and graduated from Spirit Lake Highschool in 2015 and was a cheerleader for SL for 3 of 4 years and continued in college at University of Sioux Falls (class of ‘19). Very bubbly and social personality; family known around the area; determines to bring happiness to everyone she meets! Kaitlin Absolutely loves winter games and the joy it brings to its patrons!

Ryan Chellew

Ryan has been apart of the lakes area as a summer resident growing up and chose Spirit Lake to settle down, build a career and start his family. He never turns down the opportunity to volunteer or step into leadership. On top of that, he is an avid fisherman, cycler, snow-shoer and loves live music. He always appreciates all the lakes have to offer.

Susan Clark

Sue is very giving of her time with the Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis Club. She is serving as Club Secretary, and has for many years. She has also served as Lieutenant Governor, demonstrating leadership with many Kiwanis clubs during her tenure. She is also very involved with the Iowa Rock n Roll Music Association.

Brad Derner

Brad represents the fun nature of Okoboji. He is always supportive of the local community and shops local as much as possible. Brad is an advocate to bring people to the area as tourists as well as new residents. In short, Brad loves Okoboji.

Maggie Fliss

Outstanding member of the community, loving single mother, and a home health care hospice nurse. She is the epitome of Iowa strong!

Brock Holman

Brock Holman is the epitome of a Winter Game Cheerleader. Brock is a lifelong resident of the lakes region graduating from Okoboji High School. Even at this young age Brock was known to his school family as a volunteer and leader and as such was nominated to Hugh O’Briisn Youth Leadership (HOBY). The mission of this group is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. As Brock continued his education at the University of Northern Iowa he served as a youth ambassador for this organization. I met Brock as a coworker. It was not long that I really experienced what was truly in his heart. It were the students he worked with. He tutored the students, empathized with their trials, and was constantly their cheerleader to find success in life. He volunteered at their event because it would make them better. His next venture brought Brock to Grape Tree Medical Staffing. As he makes his daily calls, he has been known to be the most respectful and caring. His contagious smile can be felt even through those calls. He has been recognized by his bosses several times. Through this job Brock has continued his leadership and volunteerism quietly - never taking credit but giving credit to the people of the Lakes region. A few activities Brock has taken part include: Meals on Wheels, Upper Des Moines, Good News Community Church, GrapeTree Halloween party (even soliciting friends to get dollars for a bigger ad in the Lakes News Shopper), special celebrations for people in our community. Brock is very deserving of this honor. He celebrates OKOBOJI here and throughout his travels.

Travis Kennedy

Has a lot of enthusiasm, has a strong love for the Iowa Great Lakes, Winter Games and a fun, outgoing personality.

Nancy Kriener

As Spirit Lake Elementary School’s instructional coach, Nancy is our (the teachers) biggest cheerleader. Whether we are in need of a small confidence boost or huge assistance as we plan curriculum, Nancy is all about teamwork and compassion. She is willing to help everyone and anyone with a kind smile on her face. Also, Nancy loves the Lakes Area and all it has to offer throughout the four seasons. Rain, snow, or shine, Nancy always finds a way to have a great day! She is definitely the kind of person who represents the pot of gold you find at the end of the rainbow.

Michael Meyers

Michael will make a fantastic cheerleader for our upcoming winter games. as City Administrator of Okoboji for the past 3 years, Michael and his family have wholeheartedly embraced the Okoboji area. Michael is active in Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis and he is also a board member of the Lakes Area Hockey Association. In the past year Michael has worked with the pickleball non profit group and established the new pickleball courts in Speier park. In addition he played a VITAL role the development of our East Lake Park playground.

Jon Pausley

Jon is the Executive Director of the Okoboji Bible Conference Ministries and through his service has provided many opportunities to our area! He has a passion for what he does and emulates what OBCM stands for, "to activate all to be better together to accomplish as much good as possible". He and his wife, Shantel, Executive Director at Cherish Center, have 3 children and are very involved in the area. Jon demonstrates enthusiasm, a ready smile, energy, a generous heart, and good natured fun!

Keri L. Peterson

Keri works at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center as assistant director in the Sales and Catering Department. She definitely fits the description of the qualities of a U of O cheerleader. She has a ready smile, generous heart and good nature. She is enthusiastic for all event happening in the Iowa Great Lakes and understands the importance of promoting the area through the winter games. She also promotes the area through her job and gives 100% of her time and talents to better the quality of life in the lakes area.

Ryan Schmidt

Ryan is the manager of Kemna Okoboji Motor and is very active in the lakes area. Ryan has been actively involved in making our communities great for years. He served as a RAGBRAI Committee Co-Chair when they overnighted in Okoboji, is active in Kiwanis, Chamber Events and as a parent in recent Okoboji School referendums. His positive attitude even in challenging circumstances is an inspiration to all he comes in contact with.

Jason Schneider

Jason is an extremely devoted teacher at SLMS. He has been in charge of many of the winning cheer groups in the Annual Homecoming Cheer competition. He has such a wonderful, positive energy that brings everyone in. I believe Jason would be a great Winter Games cheerleader because he has the most generous heart, positive attitude and all around great guy. Jason is going on 14 years as a science teacher at Spirit Lake middle school. He has dedicated a lot of his time as a coach at the middle school and high school level, ranging from girls and boys MS basketball, MS girls volleyball, HS tennis and HS softball. He was the head HS baseball coach for about 10 years and brought the team from a below 500 record to an amazing program with an appearance at State. His passion and love for his job as a teacher/coach is inspiring, he absolutely loves what he does and being apart of the Spirit Lake community.

Marvin Spieker

I believe this nominee meets the requirements because he brings the Okoboji spirit to the Okoboji community. He is a good sport at local sports events bringing that same spirit to the Okoboji community. He also knows some cheerleading tricks and jokes to help people that are involved in the Okoboji Winter Games do good and spread cheer to the Okoboji community.

Kari Williams

After moving to the area 3 years ago, the Williams family with Kari at the helm have jumped head first into all things Okoboji. They are incredibly active in our community, love to promote all the wonderful things going on and have polar plunged multiple family members into West Okoboji year after year. They are all in for Okoboji and her spirit and enthusiasm screams 'Winter Games cheerleader'.

Isabella Woizeschke

A great asset to the community. Fun to be around. She is a Marketing Director at Okoboji Motor Company and has a lot to offer!! She has a lot of spirit and would make an excellent cheerleader.

Winter Games 41 Commemorative Mugs Now Available

Don’t miss your chance to get your commemorative mug for the 41st Annual Winter Games!

This year’s Winter Games might look a little different from what we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take home a piece of the history.

You can get your $10 commemorative mug at the following locations:

– The Three Sons in Milford
– The Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce in Arnolds Park
– The Spirit Lake Chamber in Spirit Lake

We’ll see you January 28-31, 2021!

Chamber Cancels Winter Games 41 Indoor Events

Over the course of the last few months, the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff have been meeting regularly to monitor the COVID-19 situation in our region and across the country to assess its impact on the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games.

After much discussion with local government, healthcare officials and committee members, we feel it is in the best interest of our visitors, volunteers, and community to make the following changes to Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber events.

The Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel all INDOOR events presented by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. The following events will be canceled for the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games:

Chili Cookoff
Chocolate Classic
Cribbage Tournament

Many other Winter Games events are still scheduled and we strongly encourage everyone to continue to wear your masks and practice social distancing. Stay tuned for a full schedule of events coming soon!

For more information or questions on this decision, please contact the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-332-2107 or email kiley@okobojichamber.com.

We look forward to seeing you all at these events again in 2022!

Winter Games 41 Cheerleaders Sought

In the true spirit of community fun and recognition, the University of Okoboji Winter Games Committee is giving the public the opportunity to nominate an individual to serve as a 2021 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 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games presented by GrapeTree Medical Staffing on January 28 – 31, 2021. All voting will occur online only on Monday, January 11th from 6am – 11:59pm. No phone, email, or in person votes will be accepted. Each individual will select a maximum of 8 individuals listed on the final ballot of nominees. The eight nominees with the most votes will be announced following voting.

More information and the nomination form can be found online at www.uofowintergames.com/cheerleaders. Nominations are open until Sunday, January 10th at 11:59PM.

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.

U of O Winter Games 41 Apparel is LIVE!

The countdown is on for University of Okoboji Winter Games 41!

Get your gear for this year's celebration. Apparel is now available for purchase online at www.uofowintergames.com/wgapparel/

Clothing will soon be available in person. Stay tuned on Facebook or sign up for our email list to get live updates on apparel locations and more!

Make sure your calendars are marked for January 28-31, 2021 for the 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games. Check our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UofOWinterGames for updates on all things Winter Games related!

Please contact Kiley at kiley@okobojichamber.com or 712-332-2107 with any questions.

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.