Activities only held in the Great Plains include the Calgary Stampede, the Crow Fair, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The Great Plains has also become a distinct region through the works of great sportsmen and sportswomen, such as Jim Thorpe, Gordie Howe, and Nancy Lopez.
Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC)In 1969, the Great Plains Athletic Conference was established as the Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC). It has now expanded into Iowa and South Dakota consisting of eleven private, religious colleges. The NIAC officially became the GPAC in 2000. The Great Plains Athletic Conference is an affiliation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). There are 19 sports sponsored by the GPAC, 10 men's sports and 9 women's sports, and is the only NAIA conference in the country to sponsor wrestling. The GPAC also keeps a focus on academics as 517 Scholar-Athletes were named in 2011-2012.
GPAC Schools: Briar Cliff University - Sioux City, IA; Concordia University - Seward, NE; Dakota Wesleyan University - Mitchell, SD; Doane College - Crete, NE; Dordt College - Sioux Center, IA; Hastings College - Hastings, NE; Midland University - Fremont, NE; Morningside College - Sioux City, IA; Mount Marty College - Yankton, SD; Nebraska Wesleyan University - Lincoln, NE; Northwestern College - Orange City, IA.
The GPAC currently celebrates 20 NAIA National Champions (2012).
Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference (GNAC)The Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference is sponsored by the Greater Nebraska Athletic Association. The GNAC consists of eight Nebraska high schools: Columbus, Hastings, Kearney, Lexington, McCook, Norfolk, North Platte, and Scottsbluff.
Nebraska prides itself on high school and collegiate althletics due to the lack of a pro sports team within the state.