To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Iowa Games, Kim Abels, sports and special events director for the Iowa Games, stopped by the weekly lunch meeting of the Perry Kiwanis Club to discuss activities of the organization.
The Iowa Games is one of a number of organizations under the umbrella of the Iowa Sports Foundation. Other sporting programs include Live Healthy Iowa, Adaptive Sports Iowa and the Iowa Senior Games.
Former University of Iowa football player and National Football League quarterback Chuck Long is the CEO and executive director of the Iowa Sports Foundation.
Abels, an Iowa State University grad with a degree in exercise and sports, told the Kiwanians the mission of the Iowa Games is to provide sports and recreation opportunities for all Iowans through various Olympic-style festivals, events and programs.
Abels discussed the history of the Iowa Games, which began in 1987 as a weekend event involving about 7,000 participants and 16 sports. He said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad once supported the Iowa Games with the hope the games would help people take their minds off of the Farm Crisis.
Today the Iowa Games brings together about 13,000 people participating in 60 sporting events across the state. “We offer everything from Archery to Zumba,” Abels said.
People of all ages and abilities are eligible to participate in the Iowa Games’ various events, he said.
Abels noted that in April Perry hosted the Live Healthy Iowa 5K run and walk in partnership with the dallas County Hospital. A few years ago, Perry was the host site for the Iowa Games Wrestling event at the High School, he said.
Abels was welcomed to the weekly meeting at the Hotel Pattee by Perry Kiwanian Katleyn Brelsford, who has been a member since Oct. 1, 2014.