Winter Games makes a splash in frozen Lake Okoboji - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Winter Games makes a splash in frozen Lake Okoboji

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A flag football player passes the ball while trying to balance on the slippery ice during the Winter Games. A flag football player passes the ball while trying to balance on the slippery ice during the Winter Games.

It's one of the "coolest" events of the year, the Winter Games in Okoboji, Iowa.

The signature event is the broomball competition, but over the last 33 years it's grown into more than an outdoor event.

For the uninitiated, broomball is a lot like hockey, but without the skates. And that's what makes it's challenging.

"It's a good time, it's gonna be a sore one tomorrow," Jason Kirshbaum, Okoboji said.

And then, there's the other element, the weather element. You don't get to play indoors.

"Warm boots, lots of insulation, if you got some padding, padding never hurts," Kirshbaum said.

Kirshbaum who is a long time resident says the games are something they look forward to every year.

"Around here in the winter time it gets pretty dead and a ghost town and anytime you can bring in a little tourism in the area it's a good thing," Kirshbaum said.

Winter Games chairperson Erin Roe says broomball is the biggest crowd pleaser. In fact, the games began with just broomball.

"We have a lot of activities that are taking place inside in the warmth, we just have a lot of different fun things that kids and adults alike can take part in" Roe said.

Some of this year's other events include a marshmallow shootout event in nearby Spirit Lake. Ken Lockard, started this 4 years ago. He says by midday there's usually a line of people.

"I'd seen in some catalogs marshmallow blaster guns so I thought that might be kind of fun so we got one and did some research on it and not only can you get marshmallow blaster guns, and you can also get special targets when they hit," Lockard said.

Those who were in Spirit Lake also got a chance to play a game of Snowball Drop. People pick up numbered ping pong balls dropped from a truck, to redeem prizes.

"Right at ten o'clock they announced they were going to drop the ball, and there was quite a crowd waiting for those ping pong balls to drop," Larry Shaffer said.

Farther down the street from West Lake Okoboji, those looking for some casual comfort enjoyed a game of Farkle.

"It's a dice game and you can have several people at the table and you roll a dice and if you don't get any points you call it farkle, and you don't want to farkle," Lisa Rossiter, Annabelle's Tea Room worker.

The best part of that is it's all inside of a cozy tea shop. Many we spoke with however said they didn't mind the frigid temperatures.

"It's just gorgeous, and to be able to walk and ride, it's just things people need to come and experience," Beverly Morgan Villa Lorica, Georgia said.

The Winter Games wrap up tomorrow with the Talent Follies and the Ritchie Valens Memorabilia Exhibition both at Pearson Lakes Art Center.

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