College wrestling is popular in Iowa. Both University of Iowa and Iowa State have top-notch wrestling programs. I saw a meet today between the UI Hawkeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions. The arena was nearly three-quarters full; that’s about 10,000 people. Tickets are ten bucks and you don’t have to pay for parking. The fans know the sport well and there were a couple of exciting matches. Iowa won handily.
Iowa wrestling meets rate a pep band, a cheerleading squad, and of course a mascot. UI’s costumed mascot is a constipated bird of prey, possibly a kestrel or a carnivorous goldfinch. “Herky the Hawkeye” scores a 9 on the lame-mascot-o-meter. Nonetheless, kids love him. Here’s a photo of Herky looking distinctly creepy.