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A Guide to Iowa fans for Oklahoma fans

[Editor's note: Certain inaccuracies in the guide have come to our attention; they are marked by asterisks and listed at the end of the article.]

In just two weeks, Iowa will face off against Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl, which means that soon Iowa and Oklahoma fans will be interacting with each other for the first time since 1979. In the spirit of Stephen Bloom's helpful and non-controversial introduction to the state of Iowa, BHGP offers the following in-depth guide to the habits and attitudes of the typical Iowa football fan. A lot has changed since 1979, and we hope this fact sheet will make the culture clash a little less severe when Hawkeyes and Sooners inevitably meet and interact before, during and after the game.

  • Some of the vernacular Iowans use is slightly different from that of the rest of the country: they call soda drinks "pop", parking garages "ramps", and football "ruhruhpaspun"*, after the manner in which Iowans customarily play the sport.
  • Most Iowa fans are either students, alumni, or employees of the university, but some are residents of the many small towns surrounding Iowa City. The vast majority of these fans are "mole people"** who dwell in underground caverns and work as dirt harvesters. Although these "mole people" have lost their sense of sight, they have evolved strong digging claws and keen senses of smell to compensate.Moleman_medium
    Mole person and Sigourney native Sheri Yoder "rocking" a sweet Iowa "lid"; "rock" and "lid" are Iowan terms for "wear successfully" and "hat", respectively.***
  • Not all small-town fans are, of course, mole people. Some have heard tell of terrible and strange anthropophagi or blemmyes in Wapello County whose "heads do grow beneath their shoulders." You may also encounter the odd cockatrices, manticores and cynocephali in southeast Iowa.****Blemmyes2_medium
  • Wapello native and Iowa fan Chuck Schwabach relaxes before the Northwestern game earlier this year.

  • Iowa fans do not tailgate in the typical sense, with grilling and music, but prefer rather to shovel raw feed corn into their mouths as it is dispensed from Case I-H threshing combines; which, being their only means of conveyance, they drive to games.******
  • Iowa fans favor a beverage known as "Natural Light". If you happen to sample this drink, do not be alarmed by its poor quality, as it is used only for sacramental purposes. ["Natural Light" is the name of the dominant religion in the state, and involves the worship of the concept of natural sunlight itself. The mole people evolved the practice as their own sense of sight began to fade and sunlight became a distant memory. They drink the vile brew in the hopes that the "natural light" will once again return to their senses. For those with vision, it is ironic to note that excessive consumption of the drink has precisely the opposite effect.]
  • The patron saint of Iowa fans is a possibly mythical figure from the mists of ancient time known as "Hay-Den." He is frequently depicted wearing incandescent white garments, sporting a virile mustache, and "rocking" aviator glasses that gleam like polished obsidian. The reverence for "Hay-Den" is most often expressed in the form of group chanting and dance.*******
  • The bizarre golden birdman colossus of "Hay-Den" (and pyramid) at Grundy Center on Flag Day, 2009.********

  • Students observe a ritual after losses whereby they attempt to punish their bodies for the shame of losing via the ingestion of mass quantities of grain alcohol; they then proceed expel that shame, usually in an alley near the Pedestrian Mall in Iowa City after home games, but anywhere that is convenient after road games. They observe a similar ritual after wins, whereby they attempt to expel any sense of overweening pride in the same manner.*********
  • Be forewarned: each and every Iowa fan you meet will be on meth. Nonetheless, Iowa fans are known for their unfailing politeness and will always offer to share their supply with you, usually while flashing a giant, gap-toothed, yellow smile. Pro-tip: if invited into an Iowa fan's Winnebago, remember to wear a ventilator mask and plastic apron, as they will be engaged in the manufacture of meth.**********
  • Another vocabulary tip: whereas residents of other states know meth by its street names "ice", "crank", "glass", or "crystal", Iowa fans refer to it as "pop."***********
  • Iowa's quarterback, James Vandenberg, is a native of Keokuk, Iowa, a noted hive of scum and villainy. I mean, a real shithole. He is not to be trusted and is like as not to shiv opposing defensive linemen in between plays. His nickname, "Opie", is used only with heavy irony.************
  • All Iowans love to hunt and fish, but be warned, they only hunt and fish the most dangerous game -- man. Therefore, always remain in groups of at least four and be especially careful to avoid swimming pools during your stay in Tucson.*************
  • Iowa fans are known to chant "I-O-W-A" during games. While this may seem to be a simple spelling out of the state's name, it is in fact a shortened version of a common expression: "I owe W a dresser," referring to recent fan misbehavior at the W Motel in Miami during the 2009 Orange Bowl.**************
  • Iowa fans are known to wear black and gold, both for practical and symbolic reasons. As a practical matter, the dark color allows the mole people to lurk unseen in the shadows and sniff out potential victims to rob. The symbolic aspect is expressed in the popular Iowa children's rhyme: "Black, black, the color of our souls/The mole people are here to take your gold!"***************
  • Lastly, while Iowa fans may sound somewhat unusual and even a little frightening, just be glad you aren't playing Iowa State. There are some real hayseeds from that part of the state.****************


    * This is apparently a personal colloquialism and not a state-wide practice.

    ** There are apparently not hordes of mole people living in the small towns outside Iowa City; this misapprehension was based on the author's drunken observation of a particularly homely crowd at an Oktoberfest in Kalona. The rest of the Mole People lore here just seemed like common sense.

    *** "Rock" and "lid" as used here are not, in fact, unique to Iowa, but are common enough to have many, many disturbing definitions at

    **** Chalk these up to carelessness: the author, in an attempt to visit all 99 counties, sped through much of Wapello County and southeast Iowa at 120 miles an hour. All mythical creatures listed here were more likely cows, sheep, good hunting dogs, and outraged pedestrians.

    ***** This only happened once.

    ****** This is more or less true.

    ******** This was the result of a bad peyote trip on the author's part. In place of "Grundy Center" read "Coral Ridge Mall", "colossus" as "Herky on parade statue", and "pyramid" as "I-Wireless kiosk." The part about Flag Day is accurate, though.

    ********* The material facts are accurate, although the psychological interpretation has come into question.

    ********** This only happened twice, at road games, and both times the fans in question wound up being from southern Illinois.

    *********** While not a common name for meth, if you say it to a meth dealer with the right conspiratorial tone of voice, he'll get the idea.

    ************ JVB is a bad man, but the author apparently confused Keokuk with Mos Eisley Spaceport.

    ************* The author was too busy photoshopping overalls onto a blemmye to check where the Insight Bowl is being held this year. It is being held in Tempe, AZ. NOT PHOENIX, Tempe. Also, very few Iowans hunt or fish for human beings.

    ************** Two corrections: the Orange Bowl Iowa played in was in 2010, not 2009. In the author's defense, this is apparently merely his personal understanding of the "I-O-W-A" chant, and that understanding is based on his visit to the W Hotel South Beach in January 2009.

    *************** Again, common sense.

    **************** This is stone cold fact.