The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 7, 2006

Barta, Hawkeye Chopper, Economic Development In Spotlight At Iowa State Fair

Visitors to the University of Iowa's exhibit at the 2006 Iowa State Fair will have a chance to meet Interim President Gary Fethke and new Athletics Director Gary Barta, see the one-of-a-kind Hawkeye chopper, and learn how the UI is working to spur economic development throughout Iowa.

The exhibit also will feature former standout Hawkeye athletes and Herky, displays on everything from space science to public safety, daily drawings for Hawkeye merchandise and tickets, the Hawk Shop with a wide range of merchandise for fans of all ages (including gift items, hats, 2006 football schedule T-shirts, Iowa Spirit wrist bands, key chains and car decals), and giveaways such as the ever-popular Hawkeye temporary tattoos and football posters. And to make handing out those 50,000 posters a little easier on volunteers this year, UI graphic design artist Jerry Best has invented a device that rolls posters automatically.

The exhibit is located in the southwest corner of the Varied Industries Building. A full listing of UI events and special appearances scheduled for the run of the fair, Aug. 10-20, is available online at Check back regularly for updates.

Linda Kettner, who chairs the university's State Fair Board, said planning for the fair is a truly collaborative effort that draws on the skills, talents and time of hundreds of people in the UI community. This year more than 140 faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni and I-Club members stepped up to the plate to plan for and staff the UI booth during the fair's 10-day run. Hawkeye fans Tom Sepic and Beverly Poncin of Des Moines have recruited a full contingent of 16 members of the Polk County I-Club to work all three shifts of the fair on Saturday, Aug. 12.

"There's something special about the fair that seems to generate this tremendous outpouring of goodwill and volunteerism," said Kettner, University Relations associate director for public affairs and media relations. "Because of that support and the exciting lineup of special guests, exhibitors and displays, I believe this year's University of Iowa booth is going to be one of the best ever."

Barta is scheduled to volunteer in the UI exhibit from about 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. Formerly the athletics director at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Barta became Iowa's athletics director on Aug. 1, succeeding Bob Bowlsby, who left the UI after 15 years to take the same position at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

At Wyoming, Barta oversaw a program with a number of significant accomplishments on the field of play, including a 2004 Las Vegas Bowl victory over UCLA; a 21-win season by the women's basketball team in the 2005-06 season completed this spring; a Top 20 placing by the women's track team in the NCAA championships in 2005; and a Top 25 finish in men's NCAA swimming in 2004. During his three-year tenure, seven Wyoming coaches won Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year awards. He earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and broadcast journalism from North Dakota State University, where he was also a member of the football team that won three NCAA Division IAA football championships.

Among the top administrators volunteering at the fair is Fethke, who was named interim president June 30 after David Skorton stepped down to become president of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Also, Executive Vice President and Provost Michael Hogan, Senior Vice President and Treasurer Doug True, Vice President for Research Meredith Hay, General Counsel Marc Mills and University Hygienic Lab Director Mary Gilchrist have volunteered, as have Carolyn Jones of the College of Law, Jordan Cohen of the College of Pharmacy and William M. Reisinger, associate provost and dean of International Programs.

As in past years, a highlight of the booth will be its exhibitor area, where visitors can learn about and experience firsthand some of the exciting research and education taking place at the University of Iowa. Kicking off things the first day of the fair, Thursday, Aug. 10, will be presentations on "Around the World in 60 Seconds" by International Programs and on "Assistive Technology" by the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research in the College of Education.

For "Around the World," international students and returned study abroad students will interact with visitors, share information about their home countries or the countries where they studied and help them write in a foreign language. Visitors can also have a photo of themselves taken with backgrounds from around the world and keep them as souvenirs. And for "Assistive Technologies," visitors will learn how assistive technology is used to help people with disabilities overcome daily obstacles. There will be demonstrations and interactive activities involving fingerprint and voice recognition, talking Web browsers and word processors and more.

Likely to be a huge draw to the UI booth from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 will be the Hawkeye Chopper, custom built by David "Pooch" Prochello of Dakota City, Neb. The bike will be raffled off after a bowl game early next year to benefit the American Cancer Society. It measures 11 feet, 8 inches in length and is painted in a flashy black-and-gold scheme, including Tiger Hawk logos on the fuel tank, headlamp, front fender and tire rims. (Photos and video of the bike build are available at

Dale Arens, trademark licensing director for the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, said that in addition to raffle tickets, visitors to the booth will be able to buy shirts and other merchandise bearing the Hawkeye Chopper image and logo.

"This is certainly one of the most unique licenses that we've ever issued to a vendor," Arens said. "The motorcycle is along the lines of something you'd see on the TV show 'Orange County Choppers.' It's custom built from the ground up, one of a kind, never to be replicated."

A centerpiece of the booth for the run of the fair this year will be a standing display dedicated to informing visitors about the UI's efforts to spur economic development in the state. Sponsored by the IOWA Centers for Enterprise, the "Celebrating Innovation & Entrepreneurship" display will feature photos, information and presentations by UI and Iowa entrepreneurs.

IOWA Centers for Enterprise offers a comprehensive program that promotes economic development and technology transfer, provides assistance to Iowa startups and existing Iowa businesses and communities, and helps the state of Iowa develop a creative, entrepreneurial workforce.

Featured in the booth display will be Dr. Greg Hageman, director of the Multidisciplinary International Research Initiative and leading researcher in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration; Steve Beck, senior projects manager with the Virtual Soldier Research Program; Diana Reed, UI student entrepreneur and Hawkeye "Golden Girl"; and Brad Phillips, UI alumnus and founder of Premis Industries. In addition, UI entrepreneurs will be on hand to provide information about their companies and promote the IOWA Centers for Enterprise.

"We are excited for the opportunity to showcase the IOWA Centers for Enterprise at the Iowa State Fair," said Vice President for Research Meredith Hay. "These activities are an integral part of the university's mission and serve as a critical catalyst to regional and statewide economic growth."

Speaking of enterprise, Best, the design artist and manager of the graphics division of the UI Center for Media Production, hopes his poster-rolling invention will make rolling football posters a less labor-intensive chore for fair volunteers.

Best -- who with colleague Diana Brayton reconfigures, builds and wires the fair Iowa booth each year -- said that many large commercial printers have expensive machines that can fold, spindle and roll. His challenge was to design a machine that was simple, small and inexpensive. The posters are placed on a raised platform, fed into a slot in a tube and a button is hit, spinning the tube and the poster in a split second.

"The number of posters we hand out at the fair has skyrocketed over the past five or six years, from something like 20,000 to 50,000," Best said. "There are only so many people who work at the booth, so this is just something to make their job easier. It's not a zippy, 90-mile-per-hour machine, but it doesn't just go 10 miles per hour, either. It rolls up the posters well."

A Quicktime video (for low- and high-bandwidth Internet connections) of Best demonstrating the device is available online:



STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen J. Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,