It isn’t unusual for professional sports teams to find a way to reach out into their local communities and states to promote a certain mind-set or lifestyle. The Iowa Hawkeyes have worn a gold disk with the black letters “ANF”, which stands for America Needs Farmers, on their helmets since 1984. An easy internet browser search will turn up all kinds of crazy and original ways that teams get involved. Beginning a new tradition, the Iowa Barnstormers announced today, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, that they have partnered with the world-famous Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival to create the first annual Iowa Bacon Bowl, to be played on July 20 against the Utah Blaze.
During a humorous on-stage performance, Iowa Bacon Board chairman Brooks Reynolds joined Barnstormers general manager John Pettit to make the announcement. According to the Iowa Barnstormers’ press release, it was a couple beers between the organization and the Iowa Bacon Board in the spring of 2012 that got the idea rolling. Reynolds recounted that, “We agreed trophies are awesome and bacon is delicious – therefore a bacon trophy would be awesomely delicious.” Apparently defensive lineman Mike Lewis agrees. On the podium today he made it clear that he’ll go whole-hog to get a face-full of bacon. Coach Mike Hohensee and quarterback J.J. Raterink also were involved.
And who doesn’t like bacon? The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, which celebrated it’s sixth year in Des Moines, in February, sold 8,000 tickets in just over three minutes – selling out. Those tickets didn’t just go to locals, however. People from across the nation, and even some international pork fans attended. Bacon worshipers, bacon producers, and Des Moines chefs and restaurateurs who made bacon-inspired dishes created a porcine Valhalla. Iowans play a critical role in the bacon industry world-wide.
Later this afternoon, Reynolds said that the pairing of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival with the Iowa Barnstormers can only “bring two great things together.” For the event, the board has reached out to vendors that were at the festival in February to provide an anything-imaginable bacon menu. Cafe Fusion and Local Yocals, local restaurants, will also be a part of the Iowa Bacon Bowl tailgate event. Some menu items revealed by Reynolds were bacon sliders, bacon-wrapped chicken and a bunch of different types of bacon to sample. The Iowa Bacon Bowl Tailgate Party will kickoff at 3 p.m. and give Barnstormers fans the ultimate bacon experience. Fans who attend will additionally receive a commemorative beer mug, one free beverage, and live music.
Reynolds said that the Iowa Bacon Board is providing entertainment so that the event can be a family affair. While the Storm Chasers dance team will participate, Reynolds mentioned a band and entertainment in addition to games and activities for kids.
Principal Owner of the Barnstormers, Jeff Lamberti invites all Iowans to come to the game and the event, and that the team has “committed the full strength and resources of Iowa Barnstormers to battle for the respect deserving of Iowa’s great bacon industry and the people and companies that supports it.”
Limited numbers of Bacon Bowl Packages are available. Each package includes entrance into the tailgate area and a ticket for the game. Those packages are $25 each and will be made available at 12 p.m. on June 6 at www.blueribbonbaconfestival.com. Season ticket holders have an option to purchase a ticket to the tailgate event as well by calling the Barnstormers’ office at (515) 633-2255. You can purchase tickets online through the Iowa Events Center.
The game begins at 7:05 pm when the Iowa Barnstormers take on the Utah Blaze in the battle for Iowa Bacon Bowl Trophy. During the game cups of bacon will be available for purchase and consumption.
- Iowa Barnstormers Official Site
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