1981: The inaugural year for the Winter Games. Shirley Dickinson was named the 1981 Snow Queen.

1983: An ice palace is constructed from 60lb to 100 lb ice blocks at The Grade.

1985: The first year for the Duck Race and the theme wasMagic of the Lakes.

1986: The opening ceremonies bonfire and fireworks were held for the first time. Both events were on Smith's Bay and 600 Christmas Trees were part of the bonfire.

1987: First year the Winter Games Card Party was held.

1988: The first U of O Winter Games Cheerleaders were nominated and elected. The cheerleaders were: Jane Ford, Steve Kennedy, Gene Krueger, Tom Kuhlman, Sue Richter, Kate Shaw, Georgia Sheley.

Also marking a first this year was a popcorn snowman made with 30 pounds of popcorn, 5 quarts of oil, 28 pounds of marmallows, 10 pounds of sugar and 16 pounds of margarine.

1991: Events this year included the Lakes Art Center's Wonderland of Wreath and sand/snow volleyball tournament at the Marquee.

A new event, "Pastor Pull" involved area church youth pulling their pastor on sleds, shovels or whatever they could find.

1992: First year of the lip sync contest.

1994: First Snowball Softball Tournament

1995: Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is held.

1996: First year of the dog sled rides which continued for three years.

1997: This year the lip sync contest turned into a lip sync/talent contest. And the now popular Chocolate Classic was introduced.

1998: Many first-time events were introduced in 1998 including: "Spas on Ice" which continued for 11 years, "Polar Bear Classic Bike Ride" which is now known as the "Freeze Your Fanny Bike Ride," and flag football.

1998 Winter Games logo

Many first-time events were introduced in 1998 including: "Spas on Ice" which continued for 11 years, "Polar Bear Classic Bike Ride" which is now known as the "Freeze Your Fanny BIke Ride," and flag football.

1999 Winter Games logo

2000: Slap Shot Hockey and the Okoboji Underwater Search and Rescue Demo were introduced.

2000 Winter Games logo

2001: First year of the Little Sioux Off-Road Challenge.

2002: Warm weather! New York Times was here and the University of Okoboji Winter Games made the 8th page article on January 28. 2002.

2002 Okoboji Winter Games logo

The Bonfire and Fireworks Extravaganza was moved to the Green Space, now known as Preservation Plaza, due to ice condtions.

2003: The Iowa Rock n Roll Musuem opens its doors.

Hy-Vee sponsors a Turkey Bowling game.

2005: First year of the Texas Hold'em tournament and first year of the Red Hat Luncheon.

2006 Winter Games logo

2008: First year of the ArtsLIVE People Project and Hill Ave.

Indoor mini golf tournament with Spirit Lake Chamber businesses.

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.

2012: Okoboji Country Inn hosted the first WG Farkle Tournament.

Guns 'n Hoses inaugural boot hockey tournament.

Business Today & Corner Lanes hosted the first indoor U of O Winter Games Bowling Tournament.

Winter Games

Goalie Brad Vanden Bosch of Rock Valley, Iowa, gets ready to keep the Ginger Dynamites from scoring against his Fightin' Halibuts during the 2012 University of Okoboji Winter Games broomball competition.

2013: First year the Iowa Craft Brew Tent appeared at the games setting up  shop in the Roof Garden.

Polar Plunge 2013

Participants wait in line to take part in the 2013 polar plunge, an ever-popular activity during the University of Okoboji Winter Games.

2014: 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: The 35th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games was forced from the ice due to warm weather that has made for dangerous conditions on the Iowa Great Lakes.

First year of the Human Dog Sled Races at Parks Marina.

First year The Milford Commercial Club hosting their Soup Fest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

2016: First year of Mega Snow Pong and the Swimsuits & Snow Boots Competition at The Okoboji Store.

Okoboji Winter Games Logo 2016

Inaugural Kickball Tournament at The Garden's in Arnolds Park chaired by Joe Loring.

2017: First year for Tug-a-War and Keg Toss at The Gardens.

2017 Okoboji Winter Games logo

Lindie Towne with Web Graphics, Inc. designed this year's logo.



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