OKOBOJI Iowa, (KCAU)- Over 40,000 people are enjoying the 40th annual Okoboji winter games this weekend. It all started back in 1981 when a group of people came together for a broomball tournament . Now that tradition still continues out on Iowa’s Great Lakes.
“Energy, grit, and a little skill,” said Nathan Fairchild a broomball tournament participant.
What started as just a unique game shared between close friends.
“I love all the people out here and I love scoring goals and I love everyone here,” said Fairchild.
Has managed to blossom into a 40 year-long tradition in the coldest of months of the year.
“Love it, I love winter it’s my favorite season by far ask anyone out here. I’m just a bit polar bear. The colder it gets the happier I get,” said Adam Kraninger the broomball coordinator.
Growing to a massive 40,000 people in attendance.
The Okoboji winter games are a highly anticipated winter extravaganza but it all started with a friendly game of broomball. The game is similar to hockey but without the sticks or the skates.
“It takes about seven to eight hours to make the courts and then all the running around getting everything down here trophies, the board, and all that fun stuff,” said Kraninger.
Players use a broomstick with a plastic head to control a miniature soccer ball. Then run around the ice in just their shoes and with no pads. These things heat up the competition amid the bitter cold.
“We do allow some checking mainly just playing the ball it does get physical at sometimes it’s a little blood and guts sport here. But you have to have the desire to play and win and make it through this tournament,” said Kraninger.
Nine teams are up for the task this year, and the players are continuing to keep the tradition going for even more years to come.
“I’m going to love every minute of it,” said Kraninger.
“I love it, I love people in the area it just brings everyone together to have a good time and hopefully we put in a good show and people keep coming back for 40 more,” said Fairchild.
Click here for a full list of events this weekend.