Annual Fair Time Contests
The Iowa State Fair has contests for all ages throughout the Fair. Contests are open to kids and adults. From the Backgammon Tournament to the Mr. Legs Contest there is a contest for YOU! See the contest rules for more information about how to sign up for the various contests. Stay tuned for more information for the 2019 Fair.
See information below for the 2019 State Fair Spelling Bee.
- Complete 2018 Special Events Directory
- 4x4 Stomper Pull
The Stomper Pull hitches weights to their battery-operated, handmade miniature trucks to see who could pull the farthest in 20 seconds.
- Backgammon Tournament
A popular board game with 2 participants; the object of the game is to remove all of the opponents’ pieces. Backgammon is a popular board game at the Iowa State Fair! Iowans of all ages come to the fair to play in the tournament and take a shot at rolling the dice.
- Bags Tournament
Try your hand at the veggie version of washers and play in the Bags Tournament. You don’t have to ‘bag’ to get in, everyone is welcome!
- Banjo/Guitar/Mandolin Contest
Q. What do you call a guitar that never finishes a song? A. a quitar. Listen to Iowans of all age ‘show’ their musical talent at Pioneer Hall. Stop by for free entertainment and fun times!
- Bench Press/Deadlift Contest
It’s more than a matter of strength in the Bench Press/Deadlift Contest. Form and style contribute to the raw power that lifters use in this contest. Friends and family, gather around and ‘lift’ up your loved ones in this contest.
- Checkers Tournament
‘Check’ out the skill! Move your way across the board with other Iowans from around the state as two different tournaments are held during the Iowa State Fair; the tournaments are divided by age brackets.
- Chess Tournament
It’s a whole day and ‘knight’ full of fun for the players competing against one another. The competitors might ‘pawn’ off pieces and sacrifice players, but they’re still the ‘Kings and ‘Queens’ of the chess world. Don’t forget to stop by for the chess tournament.
- Cribbage Tournament
Cribbage: A test of my skill versus your luck. The Iowa State Fair Cribbage Tournament is for all ages, they don’t ‘jack’ up the prices for this event, and it is a real ‘deal’ in fact. So ‘count’ on the Cribbage tournament for a fun time!
- Decorated Diaper Contest and Diaper Derby
The Decorated Diaper Contest is for all the fashionable babies under 24 months old, ready to crawl their stuff. Enter your child in the Diaper Derby and watch them crawl their way to victory right before nap time.
- Fiddlers' Contest
The devil may be down in Georgia, but his fiddle playin’ skills are in Iowa. Iowans come from far and wide to show their fiddle playing skills in Pioneer Hall.
- Fly Tying Contest
‘Your fly is down!’ – Fly tyers everywhere. When it comes to Fly Tying at the Fair, it is a serious sport. Iowans of all ages show off their skills in the miniscule models shaped after real flies to try and lure fish out of the water. Not only is fly tying a sport, but a fan favorite as fairgoers go to see Woolly Buggers, Bunny Leeches, Crayfish and many more!
- Heritage Contests (located in Pioneer Hall)
Do you or your child have a talent unnoticed by others? Whether it be husband calling, mom calling, or otherwise, everyone’s done it, now let’s see if you can win a prize in the large variety of Heritage Contests ranging from Mom Calling, Rubber Chicken Throwing and many more!
- Iowa Auctioneers ASSN Bid Calling Finals
The words fly by in the blink of an eye at the Bid Calling Finals. If you are a member of the Iowa Auctioneers Association, enter the Bid Calling Finals to auction off items and listen to the various chants and styles of auctioneers from Iowa, Missouri and other states.
- Iowa Park and Recreation Day Contests
Various competitions are held throughout the day to support the parks and recreation services for the communities of Iowa. Competitions range from Bubble Gum Blowing to Big Wheel Races to a Scavenger Hunt and several others. Grab your friends and join in on the fun!
- Marvelous Hat Contest
This year, three new categories of hats have been added to the program including: Glamorous, Glitzy Hat, Wild and Wacky Hat and an Iowa State Fair Theme Hat. So dress up your favorite hat and show it off at the Fair!
- Micro-Mini Tractor Pull
There’s nothing small about the power of these engines. Powerful contenders compete every year in the Micro-Mini Tractor Pull as contestants pull weights in vehicles meticulously shrunk down to a micro-size.
- Monster Arm Wrestling Championships
A long standing tradition of the Iowa State Fair, Monster Arm Wrestling takes two incredibly strong and skilled individuals, pits them against each other and the best strength and technique wins.
- Mr. Legs Contest
Haven’t seen the sun in a while? Need to visit the gym a little more often? If you are a gentleman or know a gentleman with legs out of this world, enter into the Mr. Legs contest and let’s compare.
- Mutton Bustin'
One of the most popular events of the Fair, Mutton Bustin’ allows kids to ride sheep and show their bravery! It’s fun and the kids are fearless!
- Outhouse Races
Teams gather and create homemade outhouses on wheels to compete in the Outhouse Races. Strap in as outhouses race down the Grand Concourse to compete in a relay with various tasks such as toilet rubs, tub searches and unraveling toilet paper. Get out of the house and don’t miss out!
- Pedal Tractor Pull
Pushing the pedal to the metal, kids push foot-pedal tractors trying to get as far as they can as fast they can while hauling weights behind them. Kids of all ages get to show their incredible strength in the Pedal Tractor Pull! Bring the kids and family by and wow the crowd, it’s an event the whole family will enjoy.
- Pigtail, Ponytail Braid, Mullet & Mohawk Contest
Don’t forget to ‘tail’ your friends about this contest! Entrants will be split into two categories and have the opportunity to show off their hair styles. There is ‘mo’ fun in these contests than their ‘hawk’ to be!
- Queen Pageant
Nothing Compares to the Iowa State Fair Queen! Attend the Queen Pageant and watch as the 2017 Iowa State Fair Queen is crowned and begins her yearlong journey representing this wonderful state.
- Tall Corn Contest
Corn comes in all shapes and sizes from little to a bit ‘husk-y!’ Come and see if your corn stands above the rest!
- Twins, Triplets and More Contest
A set of twins where even their mother can’t tell them apart is exactly what the Twins, Triplets and More Contest is looking for. Ribbons will be awarded to the most-a-like and least-a-like in each category.