They're known as Iowegians. That mostly affable entourage of folks who migrated from that neighboring state to the North — Iowa. They, like native Missourians, are discovering our little slice of paradise.

They're known as Iowegians. That mostly affable entourage of folks who migrated from that neighboring state to the North — Iowa. They, like native Missourians, are discovering our little slice of paradise. 

While we welcome them as visitors and residents, a transplanted Iowegian has seized upon the camaraderie of his fellow Northerners to form one of the largest and oldest social clubs at Lake of the Ozarks. 

The Iowa Reunion Club (IRC) was formed at the whim of Bil Cooper 24 years ago. It all came about in June of 1995 while a bunch of friends from Iowa were dining at the now defunct Time Out restaurant on the Gravois Arm.

Cooper jokingly suggested he and his friends should start a club for Iowans since there seemed to be so many in the area. Sitting not far away was another group of Iowans who joined Cooper's table in support of his off-hand idea and the proverbial lightbulb clicked. 

As an Iowa State University engineering graduate with a flair for marketing, design and organization, Cooper posted hundreds of fliers around the Lake area which announced the first informal meeting of the Iowa Reunion Club. That was late 1995 and over 180 people showed up.  Surprised by the turnout, Bil wondered what his next move should be. 

As a native of the Des Moines, Iowa, suburb known as Urbandale, Cooper didn't give his challenge a second thought. Organizing the IRC into a group of current and former Iowans who now meet once a month, membership has soared to include over 300 people. 

While anywhere from 30-40 IRC members show up for various events, Cooper says he never expected the club to take off in the way that it did. 

“I get calls from other groups wanting to start their own state-themed clubs and I tell them you have to work at it every day, because it's a lot of work, but I love it,” said Cooper. 

Sending out a newsletter to members every Friday, Cooper wears many hats as the founder, president, public relations and marketing guru for the impromptu club. 

“It all comes down to feeling a little bit like home when we get together,” said Cooper. 

In the spirit of fun, awards are even given out at the annual dinner banquet for Most Ozarkian Iowan, Most Iowanly Iowan, Oldest Female Iowan and Oldest Male Iowan. 

While Cooper is not busy with all things Iowa, he sells boats in his spare time at Big Thunder Marine in Lake Ozark

Upcoming Events

September 9 - IRC LakeFest

October 20 - Iowactoberfeast

December 2 - Christmas at the Lake

January 12 - IRC Pizza Fest

April 27 - Annual Iowa Reunion Dinner 

Mid-Week Lake Events

July 11 - IRC Mid Summer Lake Night

August 8 - IRC Hot August Night

November 7 - A Night at the Cantina

February 16 - IRC Winter Thaw

March 14 - St. Pat's Day at Shrimp Daddy's