First Known Foam Finger Is From Iowa

Now that we are able to safely gather (mostly) for graduations, weddings, and sporting events, we better appreciate them.

Sports especially bring a sense of community as very few other things can. The fact that sporting events can bring a stadium full of strangers who all lead very different lives together, that's something that even I've missed during this past year.

While I'm a fair-weather sports consumer, I do recognize the camaraderie and spirit of sports. Especially the merchandise...for some reason I was always obsessed with dropping by the local stadium gift shop.

After some research, I found out that one of the most iconic pieces of sports memorabilia that you can get at ANY stadium or sporting event originally came from Iowa.

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When I was a kid, I could not sit still in my seat no matter how hard my parents tried. I'd always be squirmy and ask to go to the bathroom or get a snack. To appease the annoying kid that they brought to the game, I remember them getting me a foam finger.

I still think these are some of the coolest things you can buy. YOU LITERALLY CAN BUY A GIANT FINGER! I'd wave it around the entire night, and would clutch it like a pillow in the car when we would drive home from the late-night games.

It turns out that the very first foam finger EVER was made right here in Iowa.

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Public Use

Ottumwa, IA Home of the 1st "Foam Finger"

While it's not a "foam finger" this Iowa student was credited with the prototype for the famed sports digit. Steve Chmelar of Ottumwa created this paper-mâché finger for a high school event in 1971. The Ottumwa High School student made it out of hardware cloth and paper-mâché for the 1971 Iowa High School Athletic Association Boy’s State Basketball Finals, between the Ottumwa Bulldogs and the Davenport West Falcons.

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