The top ranked women’s high jumper in the world impressed a large crowd in downtown Des Moines as the 97th Drake Relays opened with a first of it’s kind exhibition. Chaunte Howard clear six foot three and three quarter inches to win a high jump exhibition at Nollen Plaza and pocket 15 hundred dollars for the win.

Howard says a relaxed atmosphere with a big crowd helps. Howard enjoyed the large crowd that was on hand, as she says she never gets to be very close to fans at a regulation stadium.

Howard says it was a great way to start the relays, as a “little appetizer” for the crowd. Three-time Olympian Amy Acuff finished second. The event featured the top three jumpers in the U.S.

Acuff says Drake is “fantastic” and says you can’t find this type of crowd anywhere else in the U.S., “it’s really special.” She says it was a fun atmosphere for all the competitors as they didn’t have to wait for any races can got to be the center of attention.