As the Iowa Games enters its 25th year it does so with a new partner. The Iowa Food and Family Project will serve as presenting sponsor of the sports festival. The Iowa FFP is a partnership between Iowa farmers, retailers and food relief organizations.
Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association who coordinates the FFP says Iowa is “distinctly agriculture” with 90% of its land area is dedicated to agriculture. He says 17% of Iowans have an ag-related job, but he says 70% of Iowans know little about what farm families do.
He says being a part of the Iowa Games will help agriculture connect to the rest of the state as farmers have a story to share and consumers would like to hear it. The Iowa Games was the idea of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad when he served as the state’s chief executive back in the mid-80s. Branstad says this is part of his effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. He says the only way to do that is for people to take ownership of their own health and the Iowa Games is part of that.
The Iowa Games began in 1987 when 7,000 athletes took part in 16 sports. Iowa Games executive director Jim Hallihan says the Iowa Games are an Iowa tradition that people of all ages and from all across the state have competed. Hallihan says over the years more than 368,000 Iowans have taken part.
Hallihan says Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson will be part of the opening ceremonies for the 25th edition and former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL standout Tim Dwight will appear in a commercial to help promote this year’s event. Dwight will participate in 25 events during the games and he will invite Iowans to come out and participate against him.
The summer games will be held in Ames this coming July.