Selection Monday is upon us! Who will play in the NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Des Moines Regional?

12 Mar

Selection Monday is finally here, and I couldn’t be more excited to find out what teams will be placed in the Des Moines Regional for the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships! In case you hadn’t heard, Wells Fargo Arena is a site for a Regional Final of this year’s women’s tournament. For those not familiar with the Big Dance, it means that one of the four teams that play here on March 24 and 26 will be headed to the Final Four in Denver, CO. It means that some of the best women’s basketball teams will be in our fine city and the national spotlight will be on Des Moines!

From a basketball perspective, this is exciting as there are a ton of storylines in women’s college basketball this year. Could the #1 ranked Baylor Bears, and soon to be named Player of the Year Britney Griner punch their ticket to the final four after playing in Des Moines? Could Tennessee head coach Pat Summit, who owns the most ever wins in college basketball, bring her Lady Volunteers for a nice weekend stay? Could Iowa State or Iowa make it through the first and second rounds and be in a region where they stay home and play in Wells Fargo Arena?

From a community perspective, it means that fans from across the country will be spending their weekend in Des Moines, staying in our hotels, eating in our vibrant restaurants, shopping at our shopping centers, and it means that the local community has a chance to support another NCAA event in their backyard. While hosting a Regional Final is new, NCAA events are not a new thing around here. In 2008, Des Moines had the highest attended first and second round site for the Women’s Basketball Tournament. The NCAA track and field championships have been at Drake previously, and will be again this summer. The 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be held in Des Moines, and go on sale this Thursday at 10am (shameless plug).

March Madness is here, and Des Moines is once again a part of it all. Let’s fill Wells Fargo Arena and provide a tremendous atmosphere for those student-athletes that will live out their dreams in our great city.

Also at Wells Fargo Arena-

Don’t forget this weekend is full of sports at Wells Fargo Arena! It’s a double-dip this weekend, as Friday night the Iowa Energy host Go Green Night featuring the Russian Bar Trio, presented by MidAmerican Energy. And Saturday night, the Iowa Barnstormers host their first home game of the season. Support the Barnstormers and new coach Mike Hohensee as they take on the Utah Blaze at 7:05pm.


Hops Tucker – 5’10” Slam Dunk Champ coming to Des Moines

6 Mar

Yes, you read that title correctly. Des Moines proudly welcomes the slam dunk super star Jacob ‘Hops’ Tucker as an ambassador for the Harlem Globetrotters March 28th and 29th. With several local visits and exhibitions, ‘Hops’ and ‘Buckets’ take Des Moines by storm to help spread Globetrotter Nation.

Jacob "Hops" Tucker

As a self-propelled YouTube sensation, former college slam dunk champion and now Harlem Globetrotter rookie, Jacob ‘Hops’ Tucker proves just how crucial hard work, determination and skill are when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Tucker’s climb to the top wasn’t an easy one. Despite the negative opinions people had about Tucker being too short (5’10, mind you), he never once let it phase him. To get recognition and an invite to the 2011 College Slam Dunk Championship he posted several YouTube videos highlighting his impressive dunking abilities and trick shots, which quickly earned him millions of internet fans along with the invitation he’d been dreaming of. Hops attended the event and the rest was history; completely dominating his competition, Hops swept the championship with two perfect scores of 50, and fought his way to first place. Idolizing athletes such as NFL quarterback Kurt Warner for his perseverance and his long journey to the top, Hops emits such qualities and is an inspiration to anyone overcoming adversity. The Globetrotters took notice of such skill and tenacity and drafted the former Illinois player in June 2011. Upon being drafted, the incredibly humble and grateful Hops stated, “Becoming a Harlem Globetrotter is an unbelievable honor. At no point growing up did I ever think that would even be a possibility.” Through hard work, dedication and an amazing 50-inch vertical, Hops has become a world-class dunking sensation and achieved the impossible. He helps kick off the Harlem Globetrotters 2012 World Tour at Wells Fargo Arena, April 1st.

Want to see what all the fuss is about? Check out a couple of Hops’ dunking videos on YouTube, (we’re not just bragging …he really is THAT good!)

Think warm thoughts with the Des Moines Home & Garden Show

6 Feb

Tired of the winter weather? Then come to the Iowa Events Center to get a taste of spring and summer at the Des Moines Home & Garden show this week! I don’t know about you, but all the snow and ice we got this weekend it just makes me even more ready for warmer weather!

If you have never been to the Des Moines Home & Garden show before, you are missing out. This four day landscaping, interior decorating, idea brewing show inspires all guests to get a head start on their plans for the spring and summer. The show kicks off this Thursday, February 9, at noon with the local Isiserettes drill and drumming corps lively performance. Those young ones sure know how to put on a show!

Admission for the show starts at $11 and can be purchased at all Dahl’s Food Locations and the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office. But, if you purchase your tickets online at then you can save $2! Children 7-12 are $4 and kids under 6 are FREE.

The show will be open through Sunday, February 12, and it will feature hundreds of creative and trend-setting ideas for your home and various celebrity expert speakers like HGTV’s John Gidding from the show “Curb Appeal.” If that doesn’t make you want to come and check out the show then you have to come for Hal Davis’ Pimp My Shed display. Davis, of Room Service Distinctive Interiors, has returned to the show this year with a great display that shows how to transform typical boring sheds into pieces of art using unexpected textures, materials and forms.

If you are more of a gardener than an interior decorator then you have to check out the Loki’s Garden booth in the Hy-Vee Hall lobby. There you will find a wide array of plants that are sure to fit every gardener’s needs. PLUS the first 100 visitors each day will receive a FREE Coleus. Talk about getting a kick start on planting season.

Old things will find a new purpose at the new Junk Jamboree booth and the new Made in Iowa shops will allow visitors to stock up on all things Iowa- this show loves to support the locals. If you need a break from walking around this large event then you can stop in the Wine Village and sample and purchase Iowa wines from all over the state.

There is so much to see at this show and it is just starting to load in today! Get ready to find fresh ideas, smart advice for gardening, home improvement ideas, decorating and much more at the Des Moines Home & Garden Show this weekend from February 9-12.

We hope to see you there!

Show me the Monkeys!

9 Jan

You have seen horses, you have seen cattle, but have you seen the monkeys? This weekend at Wells Fargo Arena a unique team of talented monkeys and canines will be taking on the dirt at the World’s Toughest Rodeo. The rodeo will be full of family friendly events like bull riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and more but the act I’m most excited about will be the specialty act – rodeo monkeys!

Team Ghost Riders, led by Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard, will be performing during the rodeo both Friday and Saturday. Tim is a long time rodeo enthusiast with over 28 years of experience under his belt and he has actually trained his team of monkeys to ride dogs as if they were cowboys riding horses. Not only is it hilarious when monkeys do things with human-like qualities in general, but to see them riding dogs like they are horses is something I never thought I would ever see. The way they grip the ropes with so much concentration and focus on rounding up their goat friends is quite entertaining. These Monkeys are good!

Don’t believe how funny it really is? Check out this video yourself to see just a clip of what these animals are capable of.

Show Me The Monkeys! (Click here to watch)

After watching that video the first time I couldn’t believe my own eyes, and I couldn’t stop laughing either. You never know what a monkey is truly capable of doing.

Come to the rodeo this weekend to see this amazing act. Trust me – you’ll want to see it in person. It is quite the show.

Tickets start at just $20 and kids tickets are always half price! Tickets are still available at all Dahl’s Foods Locations,, 1-866-55-DAHLS, and the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office. If you visit any Taco John’s locations you can pick up a voucher for a free kids ticket with an adult ticket.

Plus you really can’t resist these cute faces now can you?

How to be a Monster Jam Judge

4 Jan

With Monster Jam coming up this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., we thought we’d give you a little insight about what it takes to judge the freestyle competition.

During a 90 second freestyle run, the mechanical competitors of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam face off, smashing their way around (and often through) the obstacles on the track, including buses, cars, dirt jumps, planes, camping caravans, large recreational vehicles and more. Pushed to their physical limits, their mission is to entertain the fans and tame the course. As the freestyle competition unfolds, the drivers work vigorously to out-perform the other monster trucks by impressing the freestyle judges to win the competition. Judges score Monster Jam freestyle on a scale of 1 to 10. Below are some of the criteria used to determine the score.

Points are given on:

  • Number and variety of tricks
  • Hitting the most obstacles on the track including cars, buses, caravans and dirt jumps
  • Higher jumps get higher scores
  • Donuts (or Cyclone Donuts)
  • Hitting the obstacles in reverse
  • Spectacular stunt – something unexpected or seemingly impossible
  • Saves – skillfully driving to avoid a roll-over or crash, often “saving” the trick by driving on the two side wheels until the truck rights itself
  • Wheelies
  • Sky Wheelies
  • Combinations – performing multiple tricks using obstacles in one pass

Deductions are given on:

  • Rollovers
  • Reverse receives a deduction unless the truck is hitting an obstacle
  • Failing to use the entire time allotted
  • Using more than the time allotted
  • No stops! Use the full time  allotted

Now you should probably make your way here to any of the 3 shows this weekend and test out your new found knowledge.  Get tix at, opening night tickets are just $14. Hurry – prices increase $2 day of show.

See the trucks up close and personal at 3 Advance Auto Parts on Thursday, Jan. 5 from 2 – 6 p.m., and get driver autographs!

Grave Digger:
Thursday, January 5th 2012 from 2-6 PM
Advanced Auto Parts
4801 SE 14th St
Des Moines

Bounty Hunter:
Thursday, January 5th 2012 from 2-6 PM
Advanced Auto Parts (Store #5811)
1817 University Ave
Des Moines

Scarlet Bandit
Thursday, January 5th 2012 from 2-6 PM
Advanced Auto Parts (Store #5104)
2519 Easton Blvd
Des Moines


Bringing Events to the Iowa Events Center

29 Dec

We love being one of the premier facilities in Iowa to see a concert, family show or sporting event, and we take our job seriously when it comes to bringing acts to the Iowa Events Center for your enjoyment. Our General Manager Chris Connolly provides some insight to booking the events that come to our great city.

What types of acts we look to book:

“Our clients are looking for us to book world class entertainment. On the concert side, your Bon Jovi’s, Taylor Swift’s, George Strait’s, etc. Also, they are interested in us attracting national sporting events such as Figure Skating, Curling, NCAA basketball and wrestling.

For the most part, national promoters and agents have been bringing the bigger acts to us but there are definitely occasions where we will have to chase certain shows. Bob Seger is a perfect example of a show that we chased for months before actually confirming it. We, Iowa Events Center, were first approached by national promoter, Live Nation, way back in late July about a potential Seger show at Wells Fargo Arena. Seger notoriously has a high artist guarantee and Live Nation was not sold on the fact that Des Moines would be able to fully support this show on a Tuesday night in December right before the Christmas holiday. In addition, Wells Fargo Arena hasn’t hosted many successful classic rock shows in recent history. However, we felt strongly that this show would do well and had our Marketing department solicit feedback from the local media in order to help support our case. Once we were finally able to convince Live Nation to partner with us on the show, we then had to establish ticket prices that were affordable to the public but high enough for us to be able make a profit off of the show. After about 3 months of negotiation and tweaking the numbers, we went on-sale to the public in mid-October. When all was said and done, we sold well over 11,000 paid tickets which turned into a successful night financially for both Live Nation and the Iowa Events Center. In addition, we were about to host an entertaining show that more than gave the crowd their money’s worth!

Why we land certain acts over others:

“We are extremely lucky that the people in this region have been very supportive of the live acts that play at Wells Fargo Arena. With that being said, we are well known on a national level for having a great country and family show market. We have had all of the top country artists play at our building on an annual basis, and they continue to make return visits to Des Moines because of that success. As for family shows, we host Disney on Ice, Disney Live, Monster Jam, Arenacross, Harlem Globetrotters and Sesame Street on an annual basis. Like the country artists, these family shows continue to sell a lot of tickets and have been a staple in our building since opening in 2005.”

3 things to think about when picking a date to book a show:

“1. Tenant Schedules – it is important to completely understand the scheduling process. We must look at the schedules of the Barnstormers and Energy.

2.  Other big events happening within the Facility – in bigger facilities like the Iowa Events Center and Roanoke Civic Center( where I was formerly a General Manager), your convention center events can have a big effect on your live events in the arena, both positively and negatively. Roanoke is a good example to show the positive and negative. Two years ago, Roanoke booked Cats as an add on Broadway show on the same night as Winter Jam. They ended up having their older and more upscale Broadway crowd ride the shuttles to the arena with thousands of screaming teenagers. Needless to say, they took a beating the next day from their loyal Broadway subscribers. On the positive side, they booked their Home & Garden show on the same weekend as Walking with Dinosaurs and they ended up attracting a lot of walk-up customers to both shows just for the simple fact that they were already on-site anyway. This turned out to be a real win and their Marketing department did a great job cross promoting the 2 shows.

3. Other big events happening in Town – In Des Moines, we cannot book a show during the 2 week State Fair run in August.”

Why acts like to come to the Iowa Events Center:

“There are a number of reasons why acts like to visit the Iowa Events Center, but the most important reason is money! We,  Iowa Events Center,  have a top notch Marketing team which has been very successful in being able to sell tickets to shows. The ability to sell tickets allows the artist to walk away from Wells Fargo Arena with more money in their pocket which makes the agents and promoters happy and more willing to return to Des Moines with other artists. In addition, we treat the artist and their crew well from the minute they step into the building until the last truck is loaded after the show. We take the time to research each artist prior to their play date and then we present them with an artist gift prior to the show as a sign of our appreciation for playing at our venue. The more comfortable the artist, crew, promoter, agent, etc. are in Wells Fargo Arena, the more willing they will be to come back the next time!”

We love hearing your feedback and requests about certain shows or concerts you’d like to see at the Iowa Events Center. Continue to send them our way – we hope to provide lasting memories for you, your friends and your families for years to come!

Did you know we do weddings too? Some insight from our wedding planner…

30 Nov

Hello IEC fans! You know that the Iowa Events Center does a phenomenal job with big concerts and conventions but did you know we do weddings too? Let me introduce myself!

My name is Janelle and I am the Sales Express Manager at the Iowa Events Center. I have been in the event planning world for as long as I can remember, weddings specifically for about 5 years and I thought I would share some of my insights on wedding planning since it’s the season for engagements! As a wedding planner I’ve seen  big, bad and truly the beautiful! Let me tell you; you will have big ideas, you will have bad ideas and you will have beautiful ideas.

So, let’s talk ideas. There truly are only so many times you can Google centerpieces, photographers, venues, reception ideas, etc. without feeling overwhelmed. The stress, the anxiety and the frustration builds up and you haven’t even been engaged for 24 hours.

A friendly reminder as you start out on your planning adventure….this day is about you and your groom. Don’t let that go to your head but truly it’s about creating a day full of everything that shows the love you share and what you’ve always dreamt of. And that, my dear bride is exactly where you start. What is the one word that explains you and your groom? Build on that. It’s really that simple. This is the perfect way not to be cookie- cutter and to create you’re the perfect ambience for a night to remember. When you take that simple word and build from it you can use great resources like Pinterest and DIY Magazines to create an out of the box, perfectly fit evening that was more enjoyable than anything else.

My good friend was recently engaged and knowing that it was going to be a fairly quick engagement I was getting concerned as the weeks ticked by that she hadn’t made any decisions and the wedding was approaching quickly. So, in conversation I asked her – how’s wedding planning going? Her response was perfect: We’re enjoying being engaged. The planning will happen and decisions will be made. I want to enjoy every moment.”

After planning 300+ weddings I can tell you my recently engaged friend has the perfect advice. Your dream wedding will happen if you plan till you are blue in the face or if you take the time to enjoy every decision.

To make the ease of planning a reality, utilize your resources. Tour venues and ask questions about vendors they recommend, what a 200 person reception would be estimated to cost. Ask for ideas about what they would suggest for a hosted cocktail hour without breaking the bank. The people in the industry are the one’s who know what’s going to work for you and your budget. Through those simple questions you can uncover a lot about what you can do for your reception, the venue you are visiting and the type of person you’d be working with for the next several months. Those qualifying questions can push you further in the right direction without adding additional “Google” stress.

So here’s to enjoying each moment of planning…each decision….all along the way. Up to your special day!

Love…YOUR Day!