Some Winter Games traditions continue, others paused until 2022

Tuesday, January 12, 2021
File photo by Dave Petrick

Over the course of the last few months, the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff have been meeting regularly to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the region and across the country to assess its impact on the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games.

After much discussion with local government, healthcare officials and committee members, the board feels it is in the best interest of visitors, volunteers and community members to make the following changes to Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber events:

• The Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel all indoor events presented by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chili Cookoff, Chocolate Classic and Cribbage Tournament will be canceled for the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games.

• Many other Winter Games events are still scheduled, and the chamber strongly encourages everyone to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Chocolates and chili are on hold, but cheers will still be served up in 2020. After collecting online nominations and holding online community-wide voting on Jan. 11, the Winter Games Committee has officially tallied up the votes! The committee is pleased to announce the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games Cheerleaders.

Last year's Winter Games Cheerleaders took a break to warm themselves by the fire near Arnolds Park Amusement Park.
File photo by Dave Petrick

Jack Bauermeister

Captain Jack is the best bartender in Okoboji. He has nice slick hair and great charm. Always serving the community with a smile.

Maggie Fliss

Outstanding member of the community, loving single mother, and a home health care hospice nurse. She is the epitome of Iowa strong.

Brock Holman

Brock Holman is the epitome of a Winter Game Cheerleader. Brock is a lifelong resident of the Lakes region graduating from Okoboji High School. Even at this young age, Brock was known to his school family as a volunteer and leader and as such was nominated to Hugh O’Briisn Youth Leadership (HOBY). The mission of this group is to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. As he makes his daily calls at GrapeTree Medical Staffing, he has been known to be the most respectful and caring. His contagious smile can be felt even through those calls. He has been recognized by his bosses several times. Through this job Brock has continued his leadership and volunteerism quietly — never taking credit but giving credit to the people of the Lakes region. A few activities Brock has taken part include: Meals on Wheels, Upper Des Moines, Good News Community Church, GrapeTree Halloween party and special celebrations for people in our community. Brock is very deserving of this honor. He celebrates Okoboji here and throughout his travels.

Nancy Kriener

As Spirit Lake Elementary School's instructional coach, Nancy is our (the teachers) biggest cheerleader. Whether we are in need of a small confidence boost or huge assistance as we plan curriculum, Nancy is all about teamwork and compassion. She is willing to help everyone and anyone with a kind smile on her face. Also, Nancy loves the Lakes Area and all it has to offer throughout the four seasons. Rain, snow or shine, Nancy always finds a way to have a great day. She is definitely the kind of person who represents the pot of gold you find at the end of the rainbow.

Michael Meyers

Michael will make a fantastic cheerleader for our upcoming winter games. As city administrator of Okoboji for the past three years, Michael and his family have wholeheartedly embraced the Okoboji area. Michael is active in Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis, and he is also a board member of the Lakes Area Hockey Association. In the past year Michael has worked with the pickleball nonprofit group and established the new pickleball courts in Speier park. In addition, he played a vital role the development of our East Lake Park playground.

Jon Pausley

Jon is the executive director of the Okoboji Bible Conference Ministries and through his service has provided many opportunities to our area. He has a passion for what he does and emulates what OBCM stands for, "to activate all to be better together to accomplish as much good as possible." He and his wife, Shantel, executive director at Cherish Center, have three children and are very involved in the area. Jon demonstrates enthusiasm, a ready smile, energy, a generous heart and good-natured fun.

Ryan Schmidt

Ryan is the manager of Kemna Okoboji Motor and is very active in the Lakes Area. Ryan has been actively involved in making our communities great for years. He served as a RAGBRAI Committee co-chair when they overnighted in Okoboji, is active in Kiwanis, chamber events and as a parent in recent Okoboji School referendums. His positive attitude even in challenging circumstances is an inspiration to all he comes in contact with.

Jason Schneider

Jason is an extremely devoted teacher at Spirit Lake Middle School. He has been in charge of many of the winning cheer groups in the Annual Homecoming Cheer competition. He has such a wonderful, positive energy that brings everyone in. I believe Jason would be a great Winter Games cheerleader because he has the most generous heart, positive attitude and all-around great guy. Jason is going on 14 years as a science teacher at Spirit Lake Middle School. He has dedicated a lot of his time as a coach at the middle school and high school level, ranging from girls and boys middle school basketball, middles school girls’ volleyball, high school tennis and high school softball. He was the head high school baseball coach for about 10 years and brought the team from a below 500 record to an amazing program with an appearance at state. His passion and love for his job as a teacher/coach is inspiring, he absolutely loves what he does and being a part of the Spirit Lake community.

The Chamber hopes to see everyone at the 41st annual University of Okoboji Winter Games presented by GrapeTree Medical Staffing Jan. 28-31. For more information on getting involved in the Winter Games fun, please visit or for updates.

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