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October 10, 2013

The United Sports of America: What should your state's official sport be?

(Continued)

Iowa

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: wrestling

Also considered: none

Iowa has a branch of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the greatest college wrestling program of all time (the Iowa Hawkeyes, winners of 23 titles since 1975), and produced the greatest college wrestler ever (Cael Sanderson, who went 159-0 at Iowa State University), as well as the sport's most commanding figure (Dan Gable, who wrestled for Iowa State and built the Iowa dynasty as a coach). With the sport under siege by the International Olympic Committee, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, told The Wall Street Journal that Iowa without wrestling is like "eggs without bacon." Thank goodness wrestling stayed in the Olympics — Iowa's bacon has been saved.

Kansas

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: men's college basketball

Also considered: none

The Sunflower State loves its college hoops_James Naismith, Phog Allen, "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk," Danny Manning, etc. University of Kansas Jayhawks supporters will see this and crow that they've been anointed the best fans in all the land. That's not what's going on here. Kansas gets the nod because, as opposed to Kentucky and North Carolina, it's otherwise a sports wasteland. It's college basketball or bust here, and this is a parlor game where everybody gets a trophy. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.

Kentucky

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: Thoroughbred horse racing

Also considered: men's college basketball

The Kentucky Derby and Calumet Farm outrace John Calipari and his team of semi-professional University of Kentucky Wildcats. With college hoops' possession arrow necessarily pointing toward Kansas, this is a Secretariat-esque rout.

Louisiana

Official state sport(s): none

Our choice: bass fishing

Also considered: college baseball

Louisianans like me take pride in the fact that we've got the most NFL players per capita of any state. Lousiana State University's Tiger Stadium, too, is often cited as the best place in the country to watch a game, not to mention the best place to eat in the parking lot before a game. But such is my intellectual honesty that I can admit that the Pelican State does not deserve a slice of the football pie. It says Sportsman's Paradise on the license plates here, at least until it gets replaced by some quote from Duck Dynasty. With duck hunting a better fit for Arkansas, I'll go with bass fishing, as the state has hosted the Bassmaster Classic — "the Super Bowl of bass fishing" — in three of the last five years.

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