Hy-Vee has partnered with four-time U.S. Olympian Hunter Kemper to promote and encourage kids across the Midwest to compete in the sport of triathlon.
Kemper has been named the official ambassador of the Hy-Vee IronKids Midwest Series, which includes 20 youth triathlons being held this summer in communities throughout the Midwest. Top finishers in each age division at these events will qualify to compete in the Hy-Vee IronKids U.S. Championships, to be held Aug. 31 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kemper, who has won seven USA Triathlon Elite National Championships, will make appearances at the IronKids competitions in Sioux Falls, S.D., on June 15; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 27; Illinois' Quad Cities on Aug. 10; and will be in Des Moines for the IronKids U.S. Championships on Aug. 31.
In addition to handing out awards and signing autographs during each race day’s festivities, Kemper will host a free triathlon information clinic the Friday prior to each of the races. He has filmed a series of training videos that will be posted on the Hy-Vee IronKids website to help young people prepare for the races, and will be Tweeting and blogging about his experiences as IronKids ambassador.
The Hy-Vee IronKids events are open to youths ages 6 through 15. An IronKids race follows the same swim-bike-run format as an adult triathlon, with distances geared to the ages of the participants. The 20 races in the Hy-Vee IronKids Midwest Series are being held from May through August in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.
Kemper, a native of Charlotte, N.C., has a rich history with IronKids triathlons. He entered his first IronKids competition at age 10 and won the contest for his age group. Kemper went on to win five consecutive IronKids national championships before attending Wake Forest University where he excelled at cross country and track. He is also the only man to complete all four Olympic triathlons in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Kemper said participating in IronKids events at a young age helped him reach the success he has found throughout his career, and that the event provides unique and valuable opportunities to the children participating.
"Hy-Vee is truly making a difference in helping kids stay fit and active throughout the Midwest by putting on the largest kid's triathlon series in the world,” the four-time Olympian said. “I did my very first triathlon at the age of 10 and it gave me the confidence to believe that I could accomplish anything. The Hy-Vee IronKids triathlon series is giving kids the opportunity to do something they may never have dreamed of.”
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 233 retail stores in eight Midwestern states.