Scrabble continues to bring people together in Iowa City

Scrabble Club boasts over 100 members

Lena Krause, bottom left, Rick Krause and Judy Allen, bottom right, all of Iowa City, play a game of Scrabble as part of the
Lena Krause, bottom left, Rick Krause and Judy Allen, bottom right, all of Iowa City, play a game of Scrabble as part of the "A Day in the City of Literature" event hosted by the Iowa City Scrabble Club. (David Scrivner/SourceMedia Group)

Several dozen Scrabble fans braved rising temperatures to meet up for an afternoon of friendly competition and socializing on Sunday at the Bread Garden Market in Iowa City.

Members of the Iowa City Scrabble Club — beginners and experts alike, ranging from grade-schoolers to seniors — meet once a month to challenge each other to word duels. Sunday’s gathering was held in conjunction with “A Day in the City of Literature,” part of the weekend’s Iowa City Book Festival.

“Today’s meeting is special because we were asked to play as a part of the City of Literature event going on,” said club founder Gary Sanders, 64, a 45-year Scrabble aficionado. “It’s really exciting.”

Established in March 2010, the club has more than 100 members, and 20 to 50 people generally play at any given meeting. Players are paired or grouped according to skill level and rotate after finishing each game.

“Gary does a good job of mixing us up so that we’re playing with people of similar ability, have chance to socialize and have fun,” said LaWaune Netter, 38, of Iowa City, a new club member.

Aaron Reincke, 18, of Marion, travels to Iowa City to play.

“Scrabble is educational and fun,” Reincke said. “It’s great that you get to meet new people and learn new words, too.”

Because of the growing popularity of the Iowa City club, Sanders said, similar groups are being formed at the Coralville and Cedar Rapids public libraries. The events are free, he said, and everyone is welcome to attend.

“I keep coming back because I enjoy the challenge of Scrabble,” Iowa City resident Toni Deryke, 78, said. “I used to play with my mother growing up — within a week of her death at the age of 89, she could still beat me.”Individuals interested in joining a Scrabble Club in the area can call Sanders at (319) 337-7739 or email for more information.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.