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Iowa is packed with passionate sports fans. Never mind that there are no professional major league sports teams in the state - the college teams and Minor Leagues give you plenty to cheer for. Iowa boasts four major college teams playing in Division 1 of the NCAA. Along with high-octane auto racing and gorgeous green golf courses, sports fans will find that Iowa is an appealing destination.
Fall is football season in Iowa, and the eastern part of the state puts on the black and gold to cheer for the Hawkeyes. Part of the Big Ten Conference, the Hawkeyes football team fires up Kinnick Stadium at home games every autumn. Iowa City is filled with unbelievable energy and excitement. The Hawkeyes men’s basketball team is another huge draw at Carver-Hawkeye Arena every season.
Continue the football frenzy at Iowa State, where the Cyclones football team compete in the Big Twelve Conference. Jack Trice Stadium in Ames is packed with fans every autumn during home games. Iowa State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams play at Hilton Coliseum and are also on the Division 1 level. For the ultimate Iowa college sports rivalry matchup, catch the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series every fall with the University of Iowa vs. Iowa State.
Looking for more NCAA Division 1 action? Des Moines’ Drake University Bulldogs compete in the Pioneer League for football and in the Missouri Valley Conference for other sports. You’ll find football games on campus at Drake Stadium. In Cedar Rapids, the University of Northern Iowa Panthers play at the UNI-Dome in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Baseball fans are in for a treat when they visit Iowa. Six Minor League and independent baseball teams call the state home, making it easy to find a game wherever you are. Des Moines’ Iowa Cubs play in the Pacific Coast League as a Chicago Cubs affiliate. Other teams include the Quad Cities River Bandits, Clinton Lumber Kings, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Burlington Bees, and Sioux City Explorers. For true fans, visiting the Field of Dreams movie filming site on a family heritage farm in Dyersville is a must.
Get swept away by the roar of the crowd as the puck bounces off the ice at Iowa’s Minor League hockey games. Des Moines’ Iowa Wild are part of the American Hockey League and affiliated with the Minnesota Wild. Join fans to cheer for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Quad City Mallards, the Sioux City Musketeers, Waterloo Black Hawks, the Dubuque Fighting Saints, the North Iowa Bulls, and the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Iowa’s famously fertile lands and fields make perfect golf courses, and players can tee off at expertly designed greens throughout the state. Silvis (in the Quad Cities) hosts the John Deere Classic PGA Tour golf event every year. Top golfers also compete at the Principal Charity Classic at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines. The Blue Top Ridge course at Riverside Golf Resort offers some of the best scenery for golfers, and the Tournament Club of Iowa features the only Arnold Palmer Signature Course in Iowa.
Two major speedways bring high-stakes auto racing championships to fans in the state. In Newton near Des Moines, the Iowa Speedway hosts races such as the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the IndyCar Series, and the NASCAR Truck Series. Head directly south to reach Knoxville, the Sprint Car Capital of the world. The dirt track at the Knoxville Raceway is the home of the Knoxville Nationals championships held every August.