The Starship Captain From Iowa

John Wayne is not the only famous person born in Iowa. According to the city of Riverside, Iowa, on March 22, 2233 the future Captain James Tiberius Kirk will be born in their fair town.

Star Trek mythology found in the original TV series, movies and novels establishes that James Kirk , Captain of the starship Enterprise, was born on a farm in Iowa. Riverside seized upon the fact that the city was never mentioned and declared that they were the locale of his birth. To my knowledge, no other city in Iowa ever disputed their claim.

Being a big fan of Star Trek, I was a little bummed out when I discovered that I missed the city’s annual James Kirk/Star Trek celebration last Sunday. Although it’s a 2 hour drive from Des Moines to Riverside, I would have skipped the Des Moines Art festival and made the drive to be a part of it had I known beforehand.

For most Star Trek fans, James T. Kirk is the epitome of a starship captain. A natural leader, man of action, performing feats of daring-do, and possessor of romantic conquests across the galaxy. A sort of “woman in every planet” kind of sailor, if you will.

There will always be the natural comparisons and competition among fans between Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard (the other captains, Sisko, Janeway and Archer are seldom included), but Kirk usually edges out Picard. The general feeling among the fans I know is that if you want something done, call Kirk; if you want to talk about it, call Picard. I do, however, recall one episode of ST: TNG where I actually cheered when Picard leaped from his captain’s chair and cold-cocked some enemy who had unexpectedly transported to the bridge.

But Picard was born in France and Kirk was born in the good old USA…Riverside, Iowa to be specific.

Here’s a link to the local newspaper’s coverage, along with some photos of the festivities.

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