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In Clarinda, Baseball Is a Family Affair. Every summer since 1969 more than two dozen college-age men gather in Clarinda to play for the A’s. And every summer Pat and Merl Eberly welcome the young baseball players from every corner of the country into their home and into this southwest Iowa town of 5,570. “It’s the best-kept secret in Iowa,” says Merl proudly. This feature ran in the July/August 2011 issue of The Iowan. Story by Terri Queck-Matzie, photography by David Peterson.

Alongside corn and common sense, caucuses are an integral part of the Iowa Landscape...The Iowa contest has been termed good for the candidates and even better for the nation. Since 1972, Iowa’s first-in-the-nation electoral event has proved to be the litmus test of presidential campaigns, and “retail politics” is the name of the game. Just as in days gone by, modern-day campaigning in Iowa still means pavement pounding and handshaking. And coffee drinking. This feature ran in the January/February 2008 issue of The Iowan. Story by Terri Queck-Matzie, photography by Larry Reynolds. 

Hot, sweaty days. Warm, balmy nights. The smell of manure mixed with diesel fuel. Kids with cotton-candy faces, teens in 4-H t-shirts, and old men napping beneath a shade tree. For more than a century, the Iowa summer landscape has been dotted with a welcome warm-weather tradition — the county fair. This feature ran in the July/August 2008 issue of The IowanStory by Terri Queck-Matzie, photography by Larry Reynolds, Stone’s Throwe Photography. 

Iowa Blues Color the Heartland. This story originally appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of The Iowan, and won the first place prize for Culture Feature at the International Regional Magazine Awards (IRMA) in September 2011.

In the 21st century, ham radio remains both popular pastime and public service. Story by Terri Queck-Matzie, photography by Paul Gates. This award-winning story originally appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of The Iowan, and won a bronze award for Culture Feature at the 2010 IRMA (International Regional Magazine Association) Awards.

Rebecca Bowlsby-Duncan’s segue from Grandma’s little helper to celebrated cake maker took decades. After winning runner-up in the 2009 Iowa Premier Food & Wine Expo’s cake decorating competition, purse cakes became her signature. Bowlsby-Duncan strives to make people think “they are looking at the real thing rather than at cakes modeled after it.” Feature in the November/December 2011 issue. Story by Jim Duncan, photography by Paul Gates.

“Hello! Welcome!” Becky Dietzler calls a friendly greeting to a family entering the Turkey River Mall in Elkader. “Is this your first time here?” One of the visitors nods.“We're always looking for something, and when we read about this place, we had to come see.”

With all due respect to Sammy Hagar and the ardent fans at many a pulsing concert arena, there is indeed more than one way to rock. Here in Iowa, there are at least six. Feature in the September/October 2011 issue.

Different religions make overlapping claims as to what constitutes a holy place. Ritual transience is a way of keeping the peace. People of similar convictions come together in sacred spaces for a period of time and then disperse, altered by their experience. If the best tailgating venues in Iowa don’t perfectly fit that definition of holy shrine, they can certainly wear it with an extra pair of wool socks. Feature in the September/October 2011 issue.

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