This year was a busy one for us Iowans. We saw all sorts of things happen – the good, the bad, and even the crazy. As we recount what 2015 brought us, it’s hard not to remember these insane, groundbreaking things that happened in Iowa:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Scientists discovered giant sea scorpion fossils in the Upper Iowa River.
Early this summer, scientists found evidence of a giant scorpion-like animal that roamed the seas hundreds of millions of years before the dinosaurs. A total of 30 specimens were found in Northeast Iowa, at a site called the Winneshiek Shale, which is within an ancient meteorite impact crater and is mostly submerged by the Upper Iowa River. The creature, named Pentecopterus Decorahenis, lived about 450 million years ago, and is the earliest known member of an extinct group of animals known as eurypterids, which are related to hermit crabs, spiders and scorpions. These beasts grew up to 6-feet-tall and hunted other creatures on the sea floor, using their massive, spined front limbs to catch prey.
2. The Northern Lights came over Iowa.
The Northern Lights are a magical, natural phenomenon that many people travel thousands of miles to see, but this year in Iowa, we were lucky enough to see them right at home. In June, and then again in November, the Northern Lights were visible over the state.
3. A 15-year-old boy from Iowa ran for president under the pseudonym "Deez Nutz."
Late this summer, 15-year-old Brady Olson, a farm kid from Wallingford, Iowa, became a viral sensation when he registered to run for president - making the ballot in 30 states and even garnering 7% support in one Iowa poll. Obviously, Deez Nutz had to drop out of the race for age reasons, being that he's only 15.
4. The Hawkeyes had an undefeated regular season.
The Hawkeyes completed their undefeated regular season with a 28-20 win against Nebraska on November 27.
5. And they are now going to the Rose Bowl.
The last time the Hawkeyes went to the Rose Bowl was 1991, but the time before that (in 1986) was the bigger of the two events, as the Hawks were ranked No. 1 for several weeks, before losing to Ohio State and dropping to No. 2 before being beat by UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Currently, the Hawks sit at No. 4 in the polls, and with the next Rose Bowl just around the corner, it's another exciting time for Hawkeye fans.
6. The Iowa State Fair brought lots of delicious, diabetic new food offerings.
Like deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried nacho balls, and corn in a cup, to name a few. God bless the Iowa State Fair.
7. And a feud between Ted Cruz and Ellen Page.
VIDEO It's no surprise that the Iowa State Fair is a stomping ground for presidential candidates, but it was a bit surprising when actress Ellen Page, showed up (with film crew in tow) at the Iowa State Fair to pick a bone with the Texas senator.
8. Fred Hoiberg broke thousands of hearts as he announced he would be leaving ISU.
This June, Fred "The Mayor" Hoiberg left Iowa State to become the head coach for the Chicago Bulls. Hoiberg was the fastest coach in Iowa State history to notch 100 wins (in 148 games), and in 2011-12, Hoiberg led the Cyclones to a 23-11 record and the program’s first NCAA Basketball Tournament appearance since 2005. The season also included the team’s first ranking in the AP Top 25 poll since 2005. Hoiberg was named 2012 Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year after winning nine more games during the 2012 conference season than in 2011, the largest season-to-season improvement in Big 12 history.
9. The Avian Influenza virus wiped out millions of birds across the state.
This summer was a rough one for Iowa farmers, as the Avian Influenza virus ravaged through the state, costing more than $1.2 billion in damage as a result of lost livestock. In Iowa, over 33.7 million chickens and turkeys died of the disease or were euthanized to prevent its spread, and an estimated 8,400 workers lost their jobs. At one point, Governor Branstad even requested that four counties be declared federal disaster areas.
10. We got to experience a rare, super moon eclipse.
On a happier note, we got to experience a rare and beautiful super moon eclipse this September. This type of eclipse last happened in 1982, and won't happen again until 2033.
What are some more crazy things that happened in Iowa this year? Share your thoughts with us!