IOWA REALLY ENJOYS FOOD WHICH IS FINE WITH ME: The University of Iowa has a booth at the fair every year, but more importantly, the Iowa State Fair has a lot of food. It's one of the few places in America to get almost every food imaginable deep-friend and placed on a stick for easy consumption. Also, there is a giant butter cow.
THIS YEAR IOWA HOMECOMING WILL HAVE A GIANT CORN MONUMENT: About 80 years ago, the Iowa Engineering department built a large monument out of corn and put it in the middle of campus where thousands of students could bask in its yellow-y glow. This year, engineering students are bringing it back. Check this culture and nightlife page for more wacky events, including a list of why freshmen are excited for finals week.
IOWA AND ILLINOIS ONCE REFUSED TO PLAY EACH OTHER FOR FIFTEEN YEARS: The two teams had finished a 33-13 slug fest with Illinois coming out the victor. During the game, 17 penalty flags were thrown, and one of the last was an odd pass interference penalty against Iowa. The Hawkeyes' head coach lost his cool and made the rough loss even rougher by drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct call. The home Iowa crowd got unruly, and threw fruit at the Illini players as they walked to the locker room. Rocky Ryan, of Illinois, and Richard Wolfe of Iowa came into contact in the dressing room soon after, in which Ryan punched Wolfe in the mouth and broke his jaw.
The two universities got so angry at one another, they didn't want to play again, and ended up taking a 15-year hiatus from scheduling each other.
THE HAYDEN FRY COACHING TREE LOOMS LARGE: Sure, the man was Iowa's winningest football coach, but also impressive is the string of coaches who worked under him that went on to be head coaches themselves. The list has Bob Stoops, Bo Pelini, Bret Bielema, Mike Stoops, Chuck Long, Jim Leavitt, and of course, Kirk Ferentz. Fry himself was a thorn in the side of some of Bo Schembechler's finest teams, which further added to his kingly status.
THE MAIN MONUMENTS MAN GRADUATED FROM IOWA: The recent film "The Monuments Men," based on a book of the same name, depicts several heroic men who saved priceless art from Germany during the Second World War. The man who began the unit, George Stout (renamed "Frank Stokes" in the film), graduated in 1921 with a degree in art and English from UI. Stout was conservator of Iowa's art museum when the U.S. Army approached him to join the new Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section authorized by President Roosevelt.
MEANWHILE, ASHTON KUTCHER ALSO STUDIED AT IOWA SOMEHOW: Yes, he was born in Cedar Rapids, which isn't terribly far from Iowa City, but Kutcher majored in biochemical engineering. Realizing he was Ashton Kutcher, he moved to New York a year later and signed on as a model for Abercrombie & Fitch and Calvin Klein.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, GENE WILDER WENT TO IOWA:
"Puttin' on the Ritz" was in fact not the code name for an Iowa quarterback throwing an interception.