University of Okoboji Winter Games History

1980s | 1990s | 2000s

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2000 –

  • 1st Year for Slap Shot Hockey and the Okoboji Underwater Search and Rescue Demo
  • Chairpersons: Blain Andera and Sue Laue
  • Cheerleaders: Brenda Dryer, Twyla Garnmeister, Margaret Northey, Andrea Schwarck, Jeff Schwarck, Toby Shine, Mike Stineman, Rick Wiersma

2001 –

  • 1st year of the Little Sioux Off-Road Challenge.
  • This was the 1st year that the RIDES bus transported people from event to event.
  • Chairpersons: Blain Andera and Chad Schuchert
  • Cheerleaders: Ruth Schwarck, Gene Reed, Bob Reed, Gloria Currell, Bob Curell, Edna Wattier, Carole Ayres, Emil Richter

2002 –

  • Warm weather! New York Times was here and the University of Okoboji Winter Games made the 8th page article on 1/28/02.
  • Extraveganza was moved to the Green Space now known as Preservation Plaza for the Bonfire and Fireworks Extravaganza due to ice condtions.
  • Chairpersons: Chad Schuchert and Jeff Smith
  • Cheerleaders: Molly Rohlfsen, Don Greagerson, Marge Gregerson, Alex DenHerder, Blain Andera, Darwin Pike, Larry Stoller, Bob Shaw


  • The Iowa Rock n Roll Musuem opens its doors.
  • Hy-Vee sponsors a “Turkey Bowling” game
  • Chairpersons: Jeff Smith and Terry Veldman
  • Cheerleaders: Father James Bruch, Carole Caviness, Gary Caviness, Ann Ditsworth, June Goldman, Steve Schwaller, Greg Stevens, Ron Walker


  • Chairpersons: Terry Veldman and Randy Cornwall
  • Cheerleaders: John Adams, Steve Anderson, Phyllis Kempema, Pat McGill, Cary Parker, Mike Peschon, Chad Schuchert, Barb Tagami


  • First year of the Texas Hold’Em tournament and first year of the Red Hat Luncheon
  • Chairpersons: Randy Cornwall and Abbey Larson-Heimensen
  • Cheerleaders: Carla Beckendorf, Russ Beckendorf, Kevin Kuhlman, Abbey Larson-Heimensen, Gary Owen, Randy Rohlfsen, Jeff Smith, Brad Tifft


  • Chairpersons: Lance Evans and Abby Larson-Heimensen
  • Cheerleaders: Wynette Moore, Larry Traughber, Phil Peterson, Wally Jorgensen, Lance Evans, Tracy Evans, Amanda Lippon, Audrey Kuhlman


  • Chairpersons: Lance Evans and Collin Heimensen
  • Cheerleaders: Julie Fillenwarth, Joe VaderLaan, Erin Roe, Collin Heimensen, Mary Thunhorst, Terry Klein, Anitra Wolf, Matt Richter

2008 –

  • 1st year of the ArtsLIVE People Project and Hill Ave.
  • Indoor mini golf tournament with Spirit Lake Chamber businesses.
  • Chairpersons: Lance Evans and Molly Gildemeister-Sorensen
  • Cheerleaders: Dr. Steven Baskerville, Dr. Randy Cornwall, Tim Horsman, Mary Kennedy, Bill Maas, Greg Richards, Tom Tourville, and Gary Zeman

2009 –

  • Grand Old Opre at the SAMI Center generated $12,000 for the Mini Wakan Shelter restoration. Also set a record for attendance!
  • First year of the NW Bank Tailgate dinner in the Pavilion
  • Chairpersons: Molly Gildemeister-Sorensen and John Adams Jr.
  • Cheerleaders: John Adams Jr., Michelle Adams, Bill Eich, Janelle Holter, Dennis Lippon, Dave Rowley, Julie Scheib, Tonja Vanbee

2010 –

  • Chairpersons: John Adams, Jr. and Janelle Holter
  • Cheerleaders: Dan Delperdang, Brett Hetland, Jeff Knapp, Di Lorenzen, Joe Meyer, Bob Miller, Stacy Rosemore, Jane Shuttleworth

2011 –

  • Chairpersons: Janelle Holter and Jeff Thee
  • Cheerleaders: Kathy Lockey, Wayne Northey, Marty Spies, Denny Perry, Walt Homan, Beryl Marra, Jan Bowles, Steve Lindeberg

2012 –

  • Okoboji Country Inn hosted the first WG Farkle Tournament
  • Guns ‘n Hoses’ inaugural boot hockey tournament
  • Chairpersons: Jeff Thee and Erin Roe
  • Cheerleaders: Mary Freiborg, Brad & Teresa Beck, Curt Petersen, Molly Sorensen, Shaun Arneson, Mary Treynor, John Senn
  • Business Today & Corner Lanes hosted the first indoor U of O Winter Games Bowling Tournament.
  • 2012 marked the inaugural Guns ‘n Hoses Boot Hockey Tournament.

2013 –

  • Chairpersons:  Erin Roe & Jeremy Morrison
  •  Cheerleaders:  Jantina Carney, Jamie Jostand, Jen Johnson, Matt Schmeling, Scott Trautman, Norm Johnson, Rachelle Fratzke & Marlys Nichols.
  • First year the Iowa Craft Brew Tent appeared at the games setting up “shop” in the Roof Garden.

 2014 –

  • Chairpersons:  Jeremy Morrison & Alison Schmitz
  • Cheerleaders:  Jennifer Gustafson, Brian Richter, Gary Rosemore, Lissa Potter, Scott Pyle, Terry Veldman, John Wills & Chris Yungbluth.
  • First year of the Brain Freeze Trivia & Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Bierl Carpet One.
  • 125 brave souls took the Polar Plunge to raise funds for the Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire & Rescue.
  • 2014 also marks the first year of the Sled Head Breakfast for the United Methodist Camp.
  • First year that the Barefoot Bar/Okoboji Boat Works had a bus transporting people to and from Smith’s Bay back to Parks Marina.

2015 –

  • Chairpersons:  Alison Schmitz & Nick Stauss
  • Cheerleaders:  Dan & Jane Hummel, Jim & Marjo Hietbrink, Brent Harris, Dr. Jeff & Ann Goerss & Mary VanderWoude.
  • First year of the Human Dog Sled Races at Parks Marina.
  • Games were off of the ice due to Mother Nature taking it easy on us.
  • Bonfire Web Co. designed the Polar Bear logo.
  • First year The Milford Commercial Club hosting their Soup Fest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

2016 –

  • Chairpersons:  Nick Stauss & Greta Gruys
  • Cheerleaders:  Diane Albers, Darcy Albers-Sundall, Jason Harrington, Cindy Mart, Norm Meinking, Dr. Eric & Sally Nielsen & Barry Sackett.
  • The 36th Annual U of O Winter Games presented by Parks Marina/Barefoot Bar/Okoboji Boat Works.
  • First year of Mega Snow Pong and the Swimsuits & Snow Boots Competition at The Okoboji Store.
  • Inaugural Kickball Tournament at The Garden’s in Arnolds Park chaired by Joe Loring.
  • Abby Goodenow, an intern at Bonfire Web Co., designed this year’s logo.

2017 –

  • Chairpersons: Greta Gruys & Ryan Davelaar
  • Cheerleaders: Kevin Bice, Jona Forbes, Bethany Huseman, Gayla and Greg Place, Doug Stuevens, Amy Pas, and Abby Wilson
  • The 37th Annual U of O Winter Games presented by Parks Marina/Barefoot Bar/Okoboji Boat Works.
  • Tug-a-War, Keg Toss, Water Bottle Flip Competition, Fernson’s Pub Crawl, Bazaar Craft Show, and Bucket Casting Contest are among some of the new events this year.
  • Lindie Towne with Web Graphics, Inc. designed this year’s logo.

2018 –

  • Chairpersons: Ryan Davelaar & Adelee Dixon
  • Cheerleaders: John Hight, Susan Hoien, Brad Price, Al Krueger, Kiley Roth, Ann Meyer, Jim Hussong, and Dee Wermersen.
  • Human Bowling, Bowl Hole, Hand Auger Races, Stein Holding Contest among new events this year
  • Susan Travis of US Powertrain designed this year’s logo.

2019 –

  • Chairpersons: Adelee Dixon & Brent Harris
  • Cheerleaders: Lori & George Bower, Lisa Duffy, Abby Goodlaxson, Nate & Greta Gruys, Jill Harms, Dr. Ronald Kolegraff, and Peggy Rick.
  • The 39th Annual U of O Winter Games presented by GrapeTree Medical Staffing.
  • Kite Festival, Comedy Shows, Oak Hill Marina MOB JOB, Slingshot Demo Rides, West O Triva, SMOKOBOJI Rocks Scavenger Hunt among new events this year
  • The U of O Winter Games Committee designed this year’s logo.


If you have anything you would like noted for Winter Games history, please send to kiley@okobojichamber.com.