Each and every one of the 50 United States has their very own unique things they're known for.

Over the years, all of them have gone to great lengths to make formal declarations about their identities by designating 'official state' items like:

  • Flowers - (South Dakota: Pasque Flower, Iowa: Wild Rose, Minnesota: Pink and White Lady's Slipper)
  • Birds - (South Dakota: Ring-necked Pheasant, Iowa: Eastern Goldfinch, Minnesota: Common Loon)
  • Songs - (South Dakota: 'Hail, South Dakota', Iowa: 'Song of Iowa', Minnesota: 'Hail! Minnesota')

But one area where only a few states have attached the 'official' label is sports.

Currently, only 18 have an official state sport. Maryland was the first, picking Jousting back in 1962. 60 years later, Missouri (Archery) and Washington (Pickleball) have become the latest to join the list.

Now a 19th state is getting ready to name an official sport.

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This week, the North Dakota House of Representatives voted 72-21 to pass a bill that would make Curling the official state sport.

Francis Bouffard via Unsplash

The very first Curling club in the Peace Garden State goes all the back to the early 1900s and North Dakota is now home to the most clubs per capita (11) in the United States.

The legislation, which already has the support of the North Dakota Senate, is now awaiting approval from Governor Doug Burgum.

In the Tri-State Area (South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota), two states made their official sports designations in the last 20 years.

In 2003, South Dakota joined Texas and Wyoming as states where Rodeo is the official sport.

Joseph Keil via Unsplash

According to Travel South Dakota:

'The first rodeo in South Dakota is thought to have taken place in Rosebud in the late 1890s. South Dakota is home to many rodeo greats like Casey Tibbs, Mattie Newcombe, Billy Etbauer, Chad Ferley, Paul Tierney, and Lisa Lockhart. Rodeo continues to provide an exciting and thrilling tribute to ranch life from generations past.'

Minnesota's choice is a no-brainer.

The North Star State designated Ice Hockey as the official state sport in 2009.

Taylor Friehl via Unsplash

According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

'In 1886, the St. Paul Winter Carnival hosted the first “ice polo” tournament. The sport—played on skates with a field-hockey stick and a ball—marks an evolutionary step from the Scotch-Canadian game of “shinny.” In 1895, two teams turned up at an outdoor rink on 11th Street and 4th Avenue South in Minneapolis. The result: Minnesota’s first organized game of ice hockey.'


  • Alaska: Dog mushing
  • California: Surfing
  • Colorado: Burro pack racing
  • Delaware: Bicycling
  • Hawaii: Surfing (individual), Outrigger canoe paddling (team)
  • Maryland: Jousting (individual), Lacrosse (team)
  • Massachusetts: Basketball (Sport of the Commonwealth), Volleyball (Recreational and team sport of the Commonwealth)
  • Michigan: Football
  • Missouri: Archery
  • New Hampshire: Skiing
  • New York: Baseball
  • North Carolina: Stock car racing
  • Texas: Rodeo
  • Washington: Pickleball
  • Wyoming: Rodeo

Iowa, meanwhile, is one of those 32 states that have yet to name an official sport.

There does seem to be one obvious choice for the Hawkeye State.


Iowa Wrestling
Getty Images

The sport's relationship with the state goes back more than 110 years when the University of Iowa first put together a team in 1911.

Since then, Iowa has won 24 national championships, including back-to-back titles from 1975-1976 as well as consecutive titles from 1978-1986, 1991-1993, 1995-2000, and 2008-2010.

Any other suggestions as to which should be Iowa's official state sport?

Feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page.

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