Ames is pleased to welcome back the Summer Iowa Games for the 30th year! This Iowa Sports Foundation program brings thousands of Iowans together to celebrate the thrill of competition. Ames has an electric atmosphere during their stay – There’s nothing quite like Iowa athletes of all ages gathering to share their appreciation and love of sports.
A Look Back
The Summer Iowa Games have grown to 60 sports and 13,000 athletes with events from May to August. While the majority of events are held in Ames in July, overall, there are 28 different Iowa communities hosting events during the summer. However, in order to fully appreciate what the Iowa Sports Foundation has built, it’s important to look back to how the Iowa Games began. The first Iowa Games was a weekend event held in 1987 that featured 16 sports and boasted 7,104 participants. It was noteworthy since it was the first time weekend athletes, school children and senior citizens gathered for a statewide Olympic-style competition in Iowa.
Iowa Sports Foundation Expands
As interest in the program grew, the Iowa Sports Foundation expanded the Iowa Games competition to offer both the Summer and Winter Iowa Games. The Winter Iowa Games is held annually late January and early February with the main weekend of the Games held in Dubuque along with additional events taking place in Cedar Rapids and several other Iowa communities. The Winter Games hosts over 4,000 athletes competing in over 20 sports.
Still, the Iowa Games is just one facet of the Iowa Sports Foundation. The organization is now comprised of the Iowa Games, Live Healthy Iowa, Adaptive Sports Iowa and the Iowa Senior Games. In total, over 212,000 Iowans participated in 2014-2015 Iowa Sports Foundation programs. Through their programs, events and challenges, the Iowa Sports Foundation is reaching all of Iowa’s 99 counties. That type of impact throughout the state is exciting.
2016 Summer Iowa Games Ames Dates
The main weekends for the 2016 Summer Iowa Games will be July 9 and 10, July 14- 17 and July 22-24. New events added this year include USSSA Baseball, High School Team Bowling, Hoover-Ball, Lacrosse, Spikeball, and Sport Skydiving. All competitions are open to the public and Ames/Story County residents are invited to attend and be a part of Iowa’s premier sports festival.
Athlete Jamboree & Opening Ceremony
The 2016 Summer Iowa Games will officially kickoff with the Athlete Jamboree at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 15, in parking lots S6 and S7, east of Jack Trice Stadium, followed by the Opening Ceremony at 7:45 p.m. inside Jack Trice Stadium. Both events are open to the public.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Iowa Sports Foundation’s CEO/Executive Director, Chuck Long. The Athlete Jamboree is free for all, while the Opening Ceremony is free for athletes and coaches. All proceeds from spectator ticket sales will benefit the Iowa Food Bank Association. For more information regarding the Summer Iowa Games visit www.iowagames.org.
The City of Ames has been fortunate to host the Summer Iowa Games for 30 years. When asked why Ames has been the site for so many years, Iowa Sports Foundation staff say the Ames community and Iowa State University are the reason they return. They appreciate Iowa State University partnering with them to host the Games. Also, the City of Ames has been supportive of their efforts. However, local residents and businesses also play a key role. Many Ames residents are athletes themselves that champion the Summer Iowa Games. In addition, Ames businesses and citizens warmly welcome Summer Iowa Games visitors.
The number of visitors traveling to Ames for the Summer Iowa Games competitions is impressive. Close to 13,000 athletes from all of Iowa’s 99 counties will make the trip to Ames, and they’ll bring their friends and family. When they arrive in Ames they’ll find a friendly place filled with great dining and shopping options. They’ll experience Ames hospitality first hand, and the citizens of Ames will get the privilege of meeting their fellow Iowans. Our community is fortunate to get to share our city with Summer Iowa Games participants and looks forward to many more years hosting this exciting sports festival.
These aren’t the only events happening in Ames and the surrounding communities this summer, check out CYtesofAmes.com to keep up on all things to DO, EAT, SHOP, and STAY.