Youth Hooverball turnout more than doubles
Sports · August 10, 2017

A record 91 youth competed in the third Youth Hoover-Ball Tournament, a new women’s team claimed the adult games title and it’s four in a row for the men’s division at the Hoover-Ball National Championships, held during Hoover’s Hometown Days on Aug. 4 and 5.

According to a Hoover Presidential Foundation press release, the youth games divided into three divisions, with seven teams in the 4th and 5th grade Division I, eight teams in 6th and 7th grade Division II and four teams in 8th and 9th Division III.

“We more than doubled last year’s participation,” said Hoover-Ball commissioner and Hoover Presidential Foundation summer intern, Shelby Clarton.

The Dominators took home first place trophies in Division I. The team included Ethan Miller, Nathan Hills, Tate Frantz, Connor Rios and Ian Nelson.

The Mighty Midgets won bragging rights in Division II and included Carver Boelk, Andy Henson, Aiden Shields, Wyatt Fiderlein and Aiden Dingbaum.

Young Gunz clinched Division III and included Cash Woody, Gage Gingerich, Peyton Miller and Brady Knoop.

The youth tournament is offered free of charge each year by the Hoover Presidential Foundation and was sponsored by the West Branch Lions Club, McDonald’s of West Branch, Integrated Therapy Specialists and Urban Acres Real Estate. The games were played on the Village Green, kicking off Hoover’s Hometown Days festivities on Friday, Aug. 4.

Saturday morning, Aug. 5, launched the 30th Annual Hoover-Ball National Championships in West Branch.

Over 40 teams participated in a grueling 11-hour battle in both Men’s and Women’s divisions.

Taking first in the women’s division was the Peacocks, with Madi Meier, Haley Poula, Heather Poula and Gabby Holmes. They defeated Jarod’s Finest, comprised of Allyson Simpson, Allie Russell, Abby Knoop, Madison Russell and Becca Haganman. Third place was awarded to the Heave Ho’s, with Monica Tylee, Erin Senio, Ashley Finegan and Lynsey Atkinson.

In the men’s division, the champions claimed their fourth consecutive win, under a different team name for the fourth time. This year, the team name was ‘3 Brothers, 3 Championships’. Their final game took one hour and 16 minutes to complete against Donny’s Plumbing Repair and Installation. The champion team consisted of Clay Cook, Cole Cook, Branden Shortt and Sam Perkins. The runners up were Brad Arp, Sam Aspelmeier, Lucas Lamont, Tyler Donovan and Matt McIlrath.

Third place ended in a tie with Johnston Landscaping vs. I Guess I’ll Play.

Alexander Hoover, great-grandson of President Herbert Hoover, presented gold, silver and bronze medals from Iowa Games to the winners, a $200 cash prize and the travelling trophy to the champions of each division.



It was once the most popular sport at the White House, played by the President, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet members and other high government officials. But when Herbert Hoover left the White House in 1933, Hoover-ball vanished from the American sporting scene, until 1987 when the Hoover Presidential Foundation began National Championship competitions in West Branch.

A combination of tennis, volleyball and medicine ball, Hoover-ball was invented, developed and perfected by White House physician Admiral Joel T. Boone to keep Hoover physically fit.

“It required less skill than tennis, was faster and more vigorous, and therefore gave more exercise in a short time,” Hoover wrote in his Memoirs.

“It is more strenuous than either boxing, wrestling or football,” wrote Will Irwin, a friend of Hoover’s, in a 1931 article “The President Watches His Waistline” in Physical Culture magazine.

Hoover-ball was played by teams of 2-4 players with a six-pound medicine ball over a net eight feet high on a court similar to one used for tennis.

The game was scored exactly like tennis, and played in similar fashion. The server throws the ball. The opponent must catch it on the fly and immediately return it, attempting to put it where it cannot be reached and returned. The side that misses the ball or throws it out of bounds loses the point.

“Stopping a six-pound ball with steam back of it, returning it with similar steam, is not pink-tea stuff,” DuPuy wrote. “Dr. Boone estimates that as much beneficial exercise is obtained from half an hour of it (Hoover-ball) as from three times as much tennis or six times as much golf.”

Today’s championships use a four-pound ball for both the men’s and women’s division.

“Each team will play several games, and they play for over 10 hours,” said Brad Reiners, one of the commissioners of the championships. “By the end of the day, a four-pound ball starts to feel very heavy.”

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