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 www.uofowintergames.com 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 www.uofowintergames.com 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

That’s a Wrap!

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On behalf of the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce we would like to thank so many for making our 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games another success for our business community.

Thank you to our sponsors for making so much of this possible. To our Presenting Sponsor GrapeTree Medical Staffing, thank you for 3 years of success and dedication to this outstanding event. To our Gold level sponsors, West O Beer, creator of the official Winter Games Beer Cōzy, Pure Fishing, Rosenboom, Fireball, and Dr. McGillicuddy’s, we are grateful for your partnership and support to our community. To our Silver sponsors, Kozy Heat, and Hy-Vee of Spirit Lake, thank you for your contribution and continued dedication to Winter Games. Thank you to our individual event sponsors Okoboji Motor Company for the Polar Plunge, The Gardens for the Bean Bag Toss Tournament, The Ritz for Snowball Softball, Ruthven Meat Locker for the Chili Cook-off, Exit Realty for the 5K Fun Run, The Dry Dock for the Hammerschlagen Tournament, MHR Insurance for the Broomball Tournament, and Parks Marina for Flag Football. We would also like to thank Black Hills Energy for sponsoring the Winter Games Schedules all weekend long, and Kozy Heat, Consumers Lumber, Fireball & Dr. McGillicuddy’s for their sponsorship of the interactive ice sculptures.

We appreciate the leadership of this year’s Chair John Hight, co-chair Mara Groom, and our 8 wonderful Winter Games Cheerleaders. Thank you to our hundreds of volunteers, event chairs, Arnolds Park Amusement Park’s hard-working staff, KUOO, KICD, the Dickinson County News, the Lakes News Shopper, MC22, and all other news outlets for their non-stop coverage. Thank you to County and City governments for working with us, the courageous Law enforcement of the Lakes Region, the Iowa DNR, Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire & Rescue for keeping us safe, and all of the Chamber businesses that hosted events that lead to a memorable weekend for all of our visitors. It takes a very special community to unite and support an event that brings not only joy to our locals and visitors alike but also provides a welcomed economic boost during the off season for our Chamber Members. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Blain Andera — CEO/President
Kiley Zankowski — Director of Membership and Events
Andrea McMahon – Communications Coordinator
Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

The Votes are In!

Introducing your 2021 Winter Games Cheerleaders!

jack bauermeister

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.
KRIENERNANCY-f71f5a879d8ebebf94ab01acc710402e

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.