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First Known Foam Finger Is From Iowa

First Known Foam Finger Is From Iowa

Now that we are able to safely gather (mostly) for graduations, weddings, and sporting events, we better appreciate them.

Sports especially bring a sense of community as very few other things can. The fact that sporting events can bring a stadium full of strangers who all lead very different lives together, that’s something that even I’ve missed during this past year.

While I’m a fair-weather sports consumer, I do recognize the camaraderie and spirit of sports. Especially the merchandise…for some reason I was always obsessed with dropping by the local stadium gift shop.

After some research, I found out that one of the most iconic pieces of sports memorabilia that you can get at ANY stadium or sporting event originally came from Iowa.

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When I was a kid, I could not sit still in my seat no matter how hard my parents tried. I’d always be squirmy and ask to go to the bathroom or get a snack. To appease the annoying kid that they brought to the game, I remember them getting me a foam finger.

I still think these are some of the coolest things you can buy. YOU LITERALLY CAN BUY A GIANT FINGER! I’d wave it around the entire night, and would clutch it like a pillow in the car when we would drive home from the late-night games.

It turns out that the very first foam finger EVER was made right here in Iowa.

Public Use
Public Use

Ottumwa, IA Home of the 1st “Foam Finger”

While it’s not a “foam finger” this Iowa student was credited with the prototype for the famed sports digit. Steve Chmelar of Ottumwa created this paper-mâché finger for a high school event in 1971. The Ottumwa High School student made it out of hardware cloth and paper-mâché for the 1971 Iowa High School Athletic Association Boy’s State Basketball Finals, between the Ottumwa Bulldogs and the Davenport West Falcons.

Click here to view photo gallery
Click here to view photo gallery

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