5 Iowa arena football and indoor football teams to watch this summer

5 Iowa arena football and indoor football teams to watch this summer

Iowa Barnstormers fullback John Motten (42) attempts to block as quarterback Kurt Warner (13) eludes Arizona Rattler defenders Hunkie Cooper, bottom, and Bob McMillen (44) during first half action in the ArenaBowl, the arena football championship game, in Phoenix, Monday, Aug. 25, 1997. (AP Photo/Eric Drotter)

By Amie Rivers

June 25, 2024

If you’re looking for some summer football, check out these five Iowa arena football and indoor football teams.

It’s not the exact same game as you see in the fall. But with its shorter field, fast-paced action, and ability to run up the score quickly, arena football and indoor football are great ways to get your football fix during hot summers in Iowa.

Indoor football is also slightly different than arena football leagues. But both games will be pretty recognizable to football fans.

With the addition of the latest team, the Iowa Woo in 2024, what better time to explore all of the Iowa arena football and indoor football teams?

Here’s how to watch:

Cedar Rapids River Kings

League: American Indoor Football

Venue: Alliant Energy PowerHouse, Cedar Rapids

Tickets: $10-$35

Plays: March-June

How cool is that mascot: Catty. A snarling lion bearing fangs and wearing a crown. *I* am the king of THIS river!

Starting out as the Titans in 2012 and playing in the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, they made it to their former league’s championship game in 2013 and 2014. With new ownership in 2018 came a new name, but went dormant in 2020 due to the pandemic.

There’s been a bit of drama between the team and their new (as of 2024) league, as well as within the team, this season. But the River Kings have played through it, and will finish out their season with non-league teams as an independent franchise for 2024.

Find their full schedule here.

Iowa Barnstormers (Des Moines)

League: Indoor Football League

Venue: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines

Tickets: $18-$70

Plays: March-July

How cool is that mascot: Timelessly cool. Billy the Barnstormer has both a bomber jacket, AND a mustache so large it covers his mouth.

The Barnstormers got started in 1995, making it to the playoffs that year, and even gave Iowa football legend Kurt Warner his start. But the original league moved the team to New York, and the Barnstormers didn’t even exist between 2001 and 2008. With a new facility in Wells Fargo Arena and a new league in 2015, however, the Barnstormers took home their first league title over the Sioux Falls Storm in 2018.

Come for the winning, stay for things like the “Annual Halftime Corgi Chase” (congrats to 2024 winner Zelda!)

Find their full schedule here.

Iowa Woo (Waterloo)

League: The Arena League

Venue: The Hippodrome, National Cattle Congress, Waterloo

Tickets: $15-$35

Plays: June-July

How cool is that mascot: Epic. Modeled in part after pro wrestling star Ric Flair, whose signature yell is “woo!”, it’s a wolf with a mullet in a cowboy hat wearing a Hawaiian shirt. (It was originally wearing Flair’s robe, but alas.)

The newest Iowa arena football team (started in 2024), in the newest arena football league (also started in 2024), the Woo play in “Iowa’s oldest entertainment venue,” built in 1910. One downside to playing in an historic arena: It’s not air-conditioned, so fans should bring fans to stay comfortable in peak summer heat.

Arrive early (starting at 3 p.m.) to tailgate, which includes food trucks, games, and a live band—the July 20th game against Kansas City will feature Katie and the Honky Tonks.

Find their full schedule here.

Quad City Steamwheelers

League: Indoor Football League

Venue: Vibrant Arena, The MARK of the Quad Cities, Moline, Illinois

Tickets: $14-$44

Plays: March-July

How cool is that mascot: Hot. It’s two smokestacks from a riverboat emitting literal red smoke.

The Steamwheelers got their start in 2000 for the now-defunct Arena Football League’s AF2, and immediately won back-to-back league championships in 2000 and 2001. They joined their current league in 2019, and after a couple of off seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they returned in 2022 to go all the way to the IFL National Championship game.

But behind the scenes the Wheelers win, too, from garnering the Community Relations award in 2019, to Franchise of the Year in 2022, and the Social Media Team of the Year in 2023 (we imagine for being the only team to do tunnel fits, as it were, on their Instagram).

Find their full schedule here.

Sioux City Bandits

League: National Arena League Football

Venue: Tyson Events Center, Sioux City

Tickets: $14-$37

Plays: March-June

How cool is that mascot: Scary. Red eyes peering out from underneath a black cowboy hat and above a red bandanna over his mouth. Haunt my dreams, why don’t you?

They began as the Attack in 2000 before switching to the Bandits a year later, and in the past two dozen years can claim three championships and 17 playoff appearances.

And their star players also have Name, Image, and Likeness deals—and their own special shirts for fans—that are brand-new this year.

Find their full schedule here.

  • Amie Rivers

    Amie Rivers is Starting Line's community editor, labor reporter and newsletter snarker-in-chief. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; now, she very much enjoys making TikToks and memes. Send all story tips and pet photos to [email protected] and sign up for our newsletter here.

CATEGORIES: SPORTS

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