Aug 9, 2018

Oskaloosa: Quakers, County Fairs, and a Fitness Celebrity

Nazarenes aren't allowed to go to circuses, carnivals, fairs, festivals, and similar "worldly amusements," but somehow when I was a kid I managed to go to the Southern Iowa Fair in Oskaloosa, about two hours west of Rock Island.

I don't remember much about it except there were some cowboys with their shirts off.

The official website for Oskaloosa gives a heteronormative explanation for the town name: It means "Last of the Beautiful," the name of a Creek princess who married the Seminole Chief Osceola (who gave his name to the town down the road).

Bunk.  Oskaloosa actually means "Black Rain" in Creek.

By the way, Chief Tuskaloosa, "Black Warrior," gave his name to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

There are two interesting sights in Oskaloosa:
1. A statue of Chief Mahaska of the Ioway (from which they got the name Iowa).

2.  William Penn University, one of the few Quaker colleges in the world.  It draws about 1000 students from all over the world.  Most aren't Quakers.

It offers wrestling, but not swimming.  For that, you have to go to the meets of the Oskaloosa High School Indians.

Fortunately, the high school, the middle school, and WPU are right next to each other, so you can park in the same parking lot for events at all three.

Imagine going from seventh grade through college without ever moving.

Oskaloosa also as a fitness celebrity, Vincent Ramirez, who has been placing between #1 and #3 in the "Fittest Teen on Earth" at the Crossfit Games every year since middle school.  He graduated from Oskaloosa High in 2018, so next year he'll be competing as an adult.

And going to William Penn.

See also: Physique Watching at the County Fair

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